KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE isn’t “so bad, it’s good.” It’s just plain good. Deal with it.
At its core, KILLER KLOWNS is an update of THE BLOB – two teenagers find it difficult to warn the authorities when they discover their town is being invaded by extraterrestrial clowns who zip through the cosmos in a giant flying carnival tent. These clowns have a lot more planned than pie fights, slipping on banana peels or peddling hamburgers, though. The clowns, as dreamed up by the Chiodo brothers, are snaggletoothed demons, out to snack on any hapless humans who cross their path.
How can a movie that features the an army of bobblehead, shrieking clown sieging upon a city – turning helpless victims into cotton candy-cocooned microwavable diners – be anything less than a must-watch for fans of the bizarre and wonderful? A labor of love from the Chiodo brothers, a family of special effects wizards, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is a tribute to the magic and awe of ‘50s science fiction.
The Chiodo Brothers are a group of siblings who grew up in the Bronx believing King Kong was real. Worshiping at the altar of Ray Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien, the brothers grew up to become special effects artists and stop-motion enthusiasts in their own right. KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is the only film the brothers have written and directed but together they have worked on projects including CRITTERS, ERNEST SCARED STUPID and TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE.
For the Chiodos, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE has its roots in a personal fear of clowns. A desire to explore that fear – and a willingness to take the concept as far as it could go without snapping – led to KILLER KLOWNS. Where most filmmakers would have approached the story as a straight comedy or spoof, the Chiodos play it completely straight and this is what really sets the film apart. Under the filmmakers' guidance, KILLER KLOWNS takes a very straight and loving tribute to b-movies and places it in a a colorful, tongue-in-cheek satire of American culture. The result is a movie that works on two levels - as a fun entry in the "space invaders" sub-genre and as a whacked-out, punk '80s horror film.
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is a movie that all-too-often gets unfairly maligned as being entertaining only through its terribleness – dismissed for being kitschy. While the film is certainly kitschy, there is something deeper at is core that makes it hard to simply brush the film off as inconsequential cinema junk. Heck, for the impressive (especially considering the budget) special effects alone the film stands tall as a proud example of everything that was fun about '80s horror.
But dont' take my word for it. Catch a 35mm screening of the movie this Saturday, May 25 at Vintage Park.
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