Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

When it comes to silly movies, they don’t get much sillier than this one. The title says it all, and its clear going into a movie called ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’ that you’re not exactly going to be in for a serious ride. To be honest, I can’t say I was overly enthused with this Sci-Fi spoof, but it’s not hard to see why it’s got a cult following. The film takes in the idea of clowns being eerie and frightening, and fuses it with the common theme of aliens coming down from space; thus giving us aliens that look like clowns. For what it is, the film is actually quite inventive; and while much of the action is clich├ęd and/or samey, it’s the little things that ensure it doesn’t get boring. As mentioned, the plot follows aliens from space that look like clowns. When their spaceship (a tent) lands in the forest, two kids rush to the police headquarters to tell the law that their town is being invaded. If someone gave me that story, I’d definitely believe it; but the law in this town is slightly more sceptical, and while the kids aren’t being believed; the clown population is growing.

One thing I do like about this movie is the special effects. Rather than simply having the clowns being played by men in make-up and baggy clothes, director Stephen Chiodo has opted to make actual suits for the villains. The special effects are a lot like those seen in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice in the same year, and bode well with this absurd plot line. The style of the movie is consistently clown themed, and parts of the film such as the climax on the alien spaceship look great. The acting is typical B-movie, but the movie does benefit from several good performers. The young cast perform well enough with energetic performances that, like the rest of the movie, aren’t delivered too seriously; but the standout is veteran actor John Vernon, who is great in the role of the sceptic police officer. The ‘horror’ in this movie is hardly potent, as much of it is sapped out because of the fact that it’s all a big joke – but ideas such as people being cocooned in candy floss or eaten up by a shadow puppet are surreally frightening. Overall, this isn’t a favourite of mine; but it offers ninety minutes of good fun and there’s no real reason to hate it.