At this point, filmmakers have made so many horror movies that it’s hard to find new angles. However, you certainly can’t apply that to the folks behind 1988’s Killer Klowns from Outer Space. It’s an alien horror movie, but unlike any you’ve seen before.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Plot
It seems pretty self-explanatory. The movie is about killer clowns (or “klowns”) from outer space, right? Well, true. But there is a little more to it than that.
It all starts when Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) and Debbie Stone (Suzanne Snyder) are at their local lover’s lane, doing what lovers do. However, their canoodling is interrupted when a large glowing object falls from the sky. They’re not the only ones who spot it, though. Farmer Gene Green (Royal Dano) has also seen the object and goes to investigate it, believing it to be Halley’s Comet. Mike and Debbie also come to check it out, and what they find is disturbing.
Not only is poor Gene in some kind of webbed cocoon–it’s cotton candy–but there’s also a menacing klown figure lurking. They narrowly escape him and his popcorn gun, only to be chased by other klowns. They decide that the obvious next move is to report this to the police. But when they tell Deputy Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson) and Deputy Curtis Mooney (John Vernon), Mooney thinks they’re making it up. Soon after, the police department’s phones light up with multiple calls about the klowns, but Mooney still thinks it’s all a hoax.
After that, it’s up to the townspeople and the one cop who believes them, Dave, to fight off the klowns and their demented trickery.
Where Did These Klowns Come From?
This movie is a production of the Chiodo Brothers: Stephen, Charles and Edward. Charles and Stephen wrote the movie, while Stephen directed it. The Chiodo Brothers are well-known for their work in puppetry and animation, including stop-motion animation and claymation. They’ve done puppetry on movies like Team America: World Police and they’ve done animation sequences for movies like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. (Specifically, they did the iconic Large Marge claymation sequence.)
Obviously, they put that same creativity into their own movie. They created fun and funky props like the klowns’ living balloon dog, made of real balloons (coated in latex to keep from popping). The most complicated prop, though, was that popcorn gun. They needed a working prop–a gun that would actually shoot popcorn. It took them six weeks to make it and it cost $7000 alone.
Killer Klown Reviews
Although like I Was a Teenage Wereskunk, it has a ridiculous title (and premise), Killer Klowns from Outer Space is more than meets the eye. Since its release in 1988, it has earned a reputation as a cult classic, which it deserves. Critics particularly appreciate the film’s dark humor, as well as the wildly inventive world the Chiodo Brothers created. As Charles Webb wrote for MTV, the Klowns are “…a far more interesting horror movie threat than they have any right to be, and that’s all thanks to the cleverness of the Chiodo boys.”
Audience members also agree, describing it as a cheesy, campy classic B-movie.
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featured image via MGM
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Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.