“Killer Klowns from Outer Space”
A Fun Film in a Blu-ray Special Edition
Before watching “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” let me share two important thoughts. The title really says it all and there are no surprises or great thought necessary to enjoy the film “Klowns” is quite simply a showreel for the Chiodo Brothers and their particular and crazy kind of filmmaking and outlandish special effects. The film is simply fun and that is what you must remember and all you need to know. Killer klowns arrive on Earth and set up a huge circus tent in the middle of the woods. Farmer Gene Green (Royal Dano) thinks that a comet has crashed and goes to investigate but ends up being kidnapped by a huge clown-like monster. Soon more and more strange things start happening around town and it is up to young lovers Mike (Grant Kramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder), local sheriff Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson) and ice cream salesmen the Terenzi brothers to get to the bottom of things and try to stop the murderous klowns before the whole town is gone.
“Killer Klowns From Outer Space” knows exactly what it is and runs wild with it, never letting up with the stupidity but always with a knowing wink to let us know that it is laughing along with you. There is not a lot of gore –(a decapitation punch and a human glove puppet being the only gruesome moments) but that is fine since the klowns themselves are creepy with their monstrous faces providing most of the horror elements of the film. Their are deadly versions of seemingly innocent clown props such as custard pies full of acid and mutant popcorn that turns into miniature klown heads with very sharp teeth. The special effects are very special, not just with the klowns’ animatronic masks and costumes but also the interior of their circus tent looks fantastic, like a neon nightmare. The acting isn’t great by any means. John Vernon as a grumpy police officer who has it in for anyone younger than him, however, is quite good and he certainly adds to the youthful rebellion feel of the film, despite the fact that the town’s youngsters aren’t being that rebellious and he is just a cantankerous fool. Suzanne Snyder doesn’t seem to know what film she is in and her line delivery veers from wooden to totally theatrical without any sort of middle ground. This is not a film for subtleties but her lack of consistency is a little annoying.
The Chiodo brothers who bring this film to us revel in madness and maniacal glee and silliness for the sake of silliness.When Mike and his girlfriend Debbie warn the local police that a gang of homicidal alien-clowns have landed in the nearby area (in a spaceship shaped like a circus big-top, no less), the cops are naturally skeptical. Before long however, reports are coming in from other anxious residents detailing similar run-ins with the large-shoed assailants. There can no longer be any doubt that the Killer Klowns from Outer Space are here, and they are out to destroy.
Crescent Cove is a peaceful town and the only witnesses to the klown visitation is a pair of young lovers, Mike and Debbie who impulsively decide to investigate the glowing transport on their own. Inside, they discover a bizarre collection of circus-inspired machinery, along with bulbs of cotton candy filled with dissolving human remains. In their panic, the couple triggers the attention of the ship’s inhabitants, the Killer Klowns, a distorted band of painted ghouls who’ve come to Earth to collect bodies for feeding purposes and they are ready to storm Crescent Cove and collect a wealth of victims. The Klowns head off into the night, armed with weapons and tricks employed to subdue easily amused humans. Hoping to thwart a community calamity, Mike and Debbie attempt to enlist help from Sheriff Dave (John Allen Nelson) and his doubting, bullying partner Curtis (John Vernon) before the Klowns devour the town with their specialized hunting skills.
Inspired by B-movies of the 1950s, the filmmakers set out to construct their version of an alien invasion picture and they have chosen clowns as the source of their cinematic nightmare. It’s an unusual choice, though smartly played. The colorful performers have an exaggerated monster design that keeps the antagonists hulking and fanged and make for a credible screen threat despite the silliness of the concept. The creatures are genuinely unnerving at times, especially when the Chiodos wander away from their sense of humor for a few scare moments. “Killer Klowns” is not an exhaustive horror effort, but there’s enough darkness in the material to silence the nay-sayers. At times, the Chiodos bravely treat the Klown invasion seriously or at least as seriously as this movie gets with its popcorn shotguns, balloon animal trackers, and shadow puppet attacks.
“Killer Klowns” is colorful and smartly assembled, with every scene a reminder on how a little creativity can turn a painfully low budget into passable scale, with inventive usage of matte paintings, props, and visual effects helping to capture the moment, despite clear limitations. The performances are on the exaggerated side to carry the camp value of the movie, but it does not annoy.
“Killer Klowns from Outer Space” is filled with attack sequences involving balloon-based traps, acid pies, and deadly puppet shows. The invasion is the highlight of the effort as we watch the Klowns work their circus gear to snag human prey. The Chiodos keep the titular menace front and center for full inspection, backed by an imaginative production design that places special attention on the tent ship interior, which merges surreal circus ambiance with deathtraps and creating an unforgettable home base for the Klowns.
The real enjoyment in a film like this is that the movie never once takes itself seriously. Director Stephen Chiodo has made something that seems to have been completely forgotten about in the modern era of movie making and that is FUN. As we watch this film, we realize and know the actors are enjoying every moment they film and act in. Even if the plot makes absolutely no sense, we have fun watching it.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS include:
Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Newly remastered stereo 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio options
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Archive audio commentary with the Chiodo Brothers
Let the Show Begin! Anatomy of a Killer Theme Song an all-new interview with the original members of the American punk band, The Dickies
The Chiodos Walk Among Us: Adventures in Super 8 Filmmaking – all-new documentary highlighting the making of the Chiodo Brothers childhood films, from the giant monster epics made in their basement to their experiments in college
New HD transfers of the complete collection of the Chiodo Brothers 8mm and Super 8 films, including Land of Terror, Free Inside, Beast from the Egg, and more!
Tales of Tobacco an interview with star Grant Cramer
Debbie s Big Night an interview with star Suzanne Snyder
Bringing Life to These Things a tour of Chiodo Bros. Productions
The Making of Killer Klowns archive production featurette
Visual Effects with Gene Warren Jr. archive interview with co-writer/producer Charles Chiodo and visual effects supervisor Gene Warren Jr.
Kreating Klowns archive interview with Charles Chiodo and creature fabricator Dwight Roberts
Komposing Klowns archive interview with composer John Massari
Deleted Scenes with filmmaker s audio commentary
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
“Klowns” has been newly restored by Arrow Video for this special edition.