Awfully Good: Killer Klowns From Outer Space
As you prepare to discover the secrets of SUPER 8 this weekend, look back fondly at some more interesting aliens.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
Director: Stephen Chiodo
Stars: John Allen Nelson, Suzanne Snyder, John Vernon
Is there a plot?
Evil space aliens disguised as circus clowns come to Earth to prove that Pennywise from IT was a pansy.
What's the damage?
I hesitate to use KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE for this column because I definitely wouldn’t consider it “awful.” Its cheesiness is undeniable, but also intentional and part of the fun. The flick sets out to be “bad” and it succeeds in all the best ways, never taking itself serious for even a second.
And Ringling Bros. stock plummeted.
You can thank the Chiodo Bros. for everything that KILLER KLOWNS gets right. Early on the fraternal filmmakers set out to make one of the best B-movies ever made and put some real thought and love in to each frame. From the fantastic production design to the creepy clown makeup and puppet effects, the film is infused with an infectious creativity and nonstop fun. They definitely make the most out of the circus theme, with guns that shoot killer popcorn, evil shadow puppets and balloon animals that come to life, invisible cars, and even cotton candy cocoons that store dead bodies. (Most delicious homicide ever!) How does that not sound like a blast?
The 1980s: When androgynous hermaphrodites were all the rage.
There’s some of the classic genre staples present (laughable dialogue, a bunch of 30-year olds playing teenagers), but the flick has a lot of genuinely good things going for it. The main theme is one of the best synthesizer scores ever made. The Chiodos throw in some great homages to classic horror films, just for kicks. And there’s the great John Vernon as the tough geriatric sheriff who doesn’t take crap from anyone. (Get off his lawn!)
Peter Pan’s shadow turned in to a real a-hole when he got older.
I stumbled upon Stephen King’s IT when I was way too young and have seriously hated clowns ever since. KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is the first clown movie where I soiled myself from laughter, and not abject fear of their cakey white faces and big red noses.
Rick knew he had found the right girl when she didn’t object to his patented Hood Squat technique of going number two.
If you can figure out exactly what this guy says, please email me. (The DVD subtitles didn’t work and it’s not on IMDB.)
BONUS: See how long you can make it without laughing as this girl performs one of the worst monologues ever. (Granted this was from a deleted scene, so the filmmaker’s were at least smart enough to cut it, but its existence still demands celebration.)
1) Sure, the T-Rex in JURASSIC PARK looked more realistic, but I prefer this one.
2) There’s a great setup for a porno movie here.
3) Worst driving ever?
BONUS: A sample of the awesome music!
There’s a shower scene that offers no skin. And sadly no naked clowns either.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot everytime:
- Victims are disposed of in hilarious circus themed ways.
- Somebody gets lucky in a life raft
- You can’t understand the old redneck guy.
- The main clown theme song kicks in.
- The Terenzi brothers do something blatantly homoerotic.
Finish your drink:
- Any time John Vernon drinks
Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.