So yesterday I jokingly said that I would be reviewing Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Well, it wasn’t really a joke…more like jumping the gun. See, years ago, I caught the tail end of this movie one day and thought it was one of the most ridiculously funny movies I had ever seen. So I scoured the TV schedule to see when it would air again and when it did, I was able to watch the whole thing and I still found it to be ridiculously funny. So today, I am going to watch this cult classic and probably laugh my ass off again.
The plot: At the Top of the Word, the local makeout point in Crescent Cove, California, several of the couples spot an object falling from the sky and land in the nearby woods. Curious about what it was, Debbie, and her boyfriend Mike, decide to go find out what the object was. Meanwhile, a nearby farmer had seen the object as well and, believing it to be Haley’s Comet, goes into the woods searching for it, only to discover a circus tent in the middle of the woods. As he tries to find an opening into the tent, an opening appears and a net grabs the farmer’s dog, and when the farmer looks for his dog, he comes across a clown that attacks him with a strange gun. Mike and Debbie come across the tent and decide to look inside. As the explore the inside of the tent, they realize that the tent is actually the shooting star they were looking for. Hearing something approach, they hide in a chamber that appears to be full of giant cocoons made of cotton candy but when Mike pulls off a piece, they find a human face inside. When a giant clown enters the chamber with another cotton candy cocoon with someone they know inside, he drops the bottle he was carrying, alerting the clown to their presence. They run from the room and head towards the ship’s exit but the clown fires a gun at them, which sends a cloud of popcorn racing after them,. Covered in popcorn, the two make it outside but they are chased by two clowns, who use a balloon dog to chase after them. As Mike and Debbie head into town to get the police, several clowns begin heading towards town. When Mike and Debbie get to the police station, Debbie tries to convince her ex-boyfriend Dave about what they saw, but Dave’s partner, Curtis Mooney, believes the whole thing to be a hoax. Dave decides to take Debbie home and then he and Mike go to where Mike and Debbie saw the spaceship. Meanwhile, the clowns begin appearing throughout the town, using various pranks and gags to kill or capture the townsfolk. In the woods, Mike leads Dave to where the tent was, only to discover that the tent is gone, causing Dave to believe Mike was playing a joke on him and placing him under arrest. As they are returning to town, Dave drives through Top of the World, and finds the place ransacked, with cotton candy strands all over the cars, Dave decides that Mike may have been telling the truth and so he releases him. Back in town, Mooney is getting several calls about clowns but he still believes it to be nothing more than a hoax and so he chooses to do nothing about it. Meanwhile, Debbie is taking a shower before she goes to be, unaware that the popcorn the clowns had shot her with is moving across the floor. As they make their way back into town, Mike and Dave see a clown, making shadow puppets for a group of people at a bus stop when the clown has his shadow swallow the people, somehow managing to shrink them down, where it then places the shrunken people into a bag full of popcorn. Mike presses down on the gas in order to try and hit the clown with the police car, but the clown manages to jump out of the way and disappear. Dave tries radioing Mooney to call for help, but Mooney ignores him. Seeing his friends, the Terenzi brothers, Mike decides to go with them to warn people while Dave goes to the station and calls for backup. At the station, one of the clowns shows up and squirts Mooney in the face with a flower, so Mooney places the clown in jail but as Mooney taunts the clown, the clown kills Mooney with a party streamer. When Dave arrives at the station, he finds a trail of clown shoe prints all over the floor, and two cotton candy cocoons containing prisoners in the cells. When he leaves the cells, he finds a clown sitting in Mooney’s chair, using Mooney’s corpse as a puppet. As the clown moves towards Dave, Dave shoots it with little effect, until he manages to shoot it’s nose, causing the clown to spin rapidly before it explodes. The state police call the station and Dave is able to get them to send help to the city. Meanwhile, Mike is having trouble convincing the Terenzi brothers about what is going on until the see an army of clowns marching through the streets, as they load the cotton candy cocoons into their vehicle. Debbie finishes her shower but finds herself under attack by miniature clowns that grew out of the popcorn. When she tries to escape her house, she finds the house surrounded by clowns and she ends up captured in a balloon. Mike and the Terenzi brothers arrive just as they see the clown loading the balloon containing Debbie into the back of his clown car. and they chase after it, eventually followed by Dave but when the Terenzi’s see the cop car and stop, Dave ends up wrecking into the back of the ice cream truck. Dave gets into the ice cream truck and they head to the nearby amusement park, where the clowns have relocated their tent. At the amusement park, a security guard attempts to stop the clowns, but they attack him with pies, which end up melting the guard like acid. Dave, Mike, and the Terenzi brothers head inside the funhouse but the Terenzi brothers end up getting separated and fall into a ball pit, where they wind up being sexually assaulted by two female clowns. Meanwhile, Mike and Dave wind up in the tent, and make their way to the cocoon room, where they witness a clown using a straw to suck all of the fluids from one of the cocoons. Mike and Dave manage to find Debbie and get her out of the balloon but they wind up being chased by the clowns. They wind up surrounded by the clowns but suddenly, the Terenzi brothers crash through the wall in their ice cream truck and manage to surprise the clowns long enough for the others to get in the truck. Suddenly, a giant clown appears and proceeds to destroy the ice cream truck. Dave attracts the giant’s attention, allowing Mike and Debbie to escape through the hole in the wall. As the tent prepares to take off, the giant grabs Dave, but he uses the pin from his badge to pop the giant’s nose, causing it to explode and take the tent with it. As Mike, Debbie, and the state police watch, a clown car drops down from the explosion, and Dave and the Terenzi brothers emerge safe and sound. As small debris begins falling from the sky, Debbie asks if it’s over, but after Mike answers, they find themselves pelted with pies while the clowns’ laughter is heard.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space was well received by the critics, earning a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The concensus among the critics is that the title offers darkly goofy fun and more often than not, the movie delivers. The movie was a box office success, grossing over $43 million off of a $1.8 million budget, and quickly wound up becoming a cult classic. The movie was the only film to be written and directed by the Chiodo brothers, though they have both done other projects, and there has been talk of a sequel though whether it will actually happen is debatable.
When you think of B-Movies and cult classics, this movie tends to end up near the top of people’s lists. This movie is a lot of fun to watch. The acting was probably the weakest part of the movie. Grant Cramer (Mike) was kind of annoying at times but Suzanne Snyder (Debbie) and John Allen Nelson (Dave) were pretty good. The Terenzi brothers (Michael S. Siegel and Peter Licassi) were pure random comic relief but John Vernon really stole the show in the few scenes he was in. The story was more or less your basic alien invasion story but the idea of using clowns was a bit genius, given how many people are scared of clowns. The various gags used by the clowns, such as balloon animals, shadow puppets and real puppets, driving an imaginary car, plus the use of cotton candy, pies, popcorn, and balloons as weapons was very imaginative. As for the clowns themselves, you will be hard pressed to find some creepier looking clowns than the ones in this movie. A great movie to watch just to relax and laugh, unless you are coulrophobic, in which case this movie might be traumatizing.
Rating: 4 out of 5