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  Killer Klowns from Outer Space Unfair FunfairBuy this film here.
Year: 1988
Director: Stephen Chiodo
Stars: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi, Royal Dano, Chris Titus
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Science Fiction
Rating:  7 (from 5 votes)
Review: One night a couple of small town teenagers spy a shooting star over the local lovers' lane. Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) encourages Mike (Grant Cramer) to investigate, and they discover not a meteorite, but a huge circus tent. Thus begins a night of terror for the townsfolk, as killer klowns from outer space invade, kidnapping them to satisfy their thirst for blood...

Clowns, eh? Are they funny? Many are of the opinion that they are pretty scary. Others think they are just plain evil, and it is for those people this film was made. When you look at the evil clowns of popular fiction, I suppose Pennywise from Stephen King's novel It really stands out, but he just turned into werewolves and stuff, the Killer Klowns here mine the rich vein of inspiration for clown-based horror.

The creation of the Chiodo brothers, with Stephen, Edward and Charles taking care of many aspects of the production, this silly, spoofy effort is like a cross between the Blob remake and Gremlins (fittingly, as the Chioda brothers designed the Critters). There's no real plot, it's simply a succession of black comedy sketches featuring various novelty death scenes, and the acting from the younger members of the cast suggests they had difficulty taking it seriously.

But how convincing can you be when faced with all this evil clown humour? The villains wrap their victims in "cotton candy" and take them back to their space ship, all the while utilising balloon animals, hand puppets, popcorn, custard pies - you get the idea. Of course, the police don't believe the kids, and all the while civilians are eaten by shadow animals, have their blocks knocked off or, as happens to the heroine so she is still alive at the end of the movie, trapped in a giant balloon.

Are these clowns scary? Not really, they're daft, wicked, well designed, but not particularly menacing. Having a film full of evil clowns is a good idea, but not enough happens here to justify a whole eighty-five minutes worth of mayhem. Perhaps they should have toned down the tired eighties horror comedy and gone for straight horror (see unfunny the comic relief brothers). Still, it does have a certain, um, integrity in its bizarre logic. Music by John Massari, and the theme song is performed by the Dickies.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Stephen Chiodo  (19?? - )

American special effects artist who usually works with his brothers Charles and Edward. Films containing their craftsmanship include The Sword and the Sorcerer, Critters and Freaked, but the only film Stephen has directed is the brothers' Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

 
Review Comments (1)
Posted by:
Date:
26 Feb 2004
  Nah, Sorry. I don't entirely agree with the above. This is, for me, a very funny film, which, at times verges on panto in it's humour ("What are you doing with those pies, boys?") It's a film which celebrates it's cheap and cheerful approach by taking the piss out of the audience with countless genuinely funny sight gags and wonderfully daft acting. Everyone looks like they had a scream making this film, and we're all invited to join in the fun. I loved it.
       


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