Three brothers who specialize in puppetry, set design and practical FX would go on to bring the insanity of Trey Park and Matt Stone’s Team America to life with their puppetry, but before that insanity they would bring their specialities together to create one of the most insanely strange horror comedies of all time to the screen. Beginning with a drive along a dark road as a thought of what’s the scariest thing you could see? You turn your head and next to you is a clown. This birthed the Chiodo Brothers glorious masterpiece, Killer Klowns from Outer Space!
In a secluded forest area of a small town a bunch of teens gather together in their cars to romanticize each other, but lovers Mike and Debbie spot what looks to be a shooting star that seems to have landed close to them and decide to investigate. They arrive at a giant circus tent that once they get inside find all kinds of strange technological contraptions that look like goofy carnival toys and circus structures. The further they go the stranger it gets until they come across a ton of cotton candy hanging in a large room that seems to be filled with bloodied dead bodies! Out comes monstrous looking clowns with strange goofy guns who chase Mike and Debbie out of the circus tent and back into town. The clowns begin invading the town, slaughtering people in goofy yet deadly ways and collecting others in their cotton candy cocoons while Mike and Debbie try to convince the police force that what they saw was real and they must stop them before they overrun the town!
I’m not one to subscribe to the idea of movies that are so bad they are good. People have tried to tell me this is a movie that is so bad it’s good on the level of films like Troll 2. I say thee hell no! This film is exactly what it sets out to be in it’s fun cheesiness and is very well put together as the film the Chiodo Brothers wanted it to be. It’s an obvious love letter to cheesy 50’s monster movies in the vein of “Invaders From Mars” and “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.” Mix that with 80’s gore, FX, dialogue and a sweet soundtrack from The Dickies and you have the foundations of the film. It’s cheesy but it’s expertly made to be fun and cheesy. The Chiodo Brothers are excellent craftsmen in their fields and go full force as writers, directors, actors and most of all special FX Puppeteers which for the time period this film was made were excellent monsters that still hold up as goofy yet horrifying creatures today.
There’s s lot of spoof in the flick as in the very beginning of the film when Mike and Debbie enter the big top spaceship there is a matte painting of a reactor in a space ship that mirrors that of the one seen in the Death Star in Star Wars but with much more vibrant colors and goofy lights. The Chiodo’s even spoof the beginning of the age old pizza delivery porno as a scantly clad woman with a wine glass answers the door to one of the clowns delivering pizza only to have more clowns pop up and ray gun her to death as they laugh maniacally giving way to one of my favorite kills in the film!
The kills are super goofy but also sometimes can be super messed up. At one point we get a clown fighting a biker with boxing gloves as he literally knocks his block off cackling as the biker’s severed head goes flying through the air and into a trash can. As a viewer you are having fun watching ridiculous kills but then immediately it gets a little tense as there is a scene where one of the clowns is trying to lure a little girl out of a restaurant. As if that wasn’t creepy enough you then see the clown holding a giant mallet behind his back as the girl gets closer and closer very slowly. Now it’s a giant cartoon looking mallet and it can lead to a funny kill, but while the kills up to this point have been funny they have also been bloody and you get tense wondering if the same will happen to this little girl and the funny kill is replaced by a horrifying death. It’s instances like that where the Chiodo’s play with your expectancies and tread the line between comedy and horror like a tight rope that makes the film truly unique.
From beginning to end this film doesn’t let up with the insanity going on. We are quickly introduced to the characters with a montage to the tune of the Dickies Killer Klowns From Outer Space theme song and thrust right into the first kills. What’s nice is none of our main characters are jackasses as they all are very likable characters that even if they have differences with each other they resolve them quickly and don’t mess around with a twenty minute is this real or not scenario. The only true jerk in the film is played by one of the greatest jackasses of all time, John Vernon aka Dean Wormer from Animal House. Here Vernon plays officer Mooney who has no patience for any youth in the town and wants to lock up anyone and everyone they looks at him funny which comes in great when he himself encounters the clowns. His encounter in particular gives way to one of the creepiest and most chilling scenes in the movie that throws the comedy out the window for pure horror with the line, “Don’t worry Dave, all we want to do is kill you.” When I say the characters get over stuff quick I mean quick. Dave is the other cop who ends up helping Debbie and Mike. Dave happens to be Debbie’s ex, which causes tension between Mike and Dave…for maybe a total of five minutes screen time. They quickly put their baggage aside and help each other to fight the clowns and save the town to the point where Mike, Debbie and Dave are all BFF’s by the end. It’s just really cool to watch a horror flick that had characters that aren’t bogged down by trivial drama in lieu of working together! Which also gives more time for insane clown action like popcorn that turns into giant clown snakes and shadow puppets that eat people! Of course I can’t talk about our main cast of characters without mentioning the Terenzi brothers. Goofballs to the end that run around in an ice cream truck trying to pick up chicks and park with them, because selling ice cream is the best way to pick up women. My only complaint is the Terenzi brothers aren’t in the movie more with classic lines such as, “I’m Jo-Jo the ice cream clown, we’ll give you a stick, you’ll give it a lick. And it’ll tickle you all the way down. Ice cream, ice cream, we brought our goodies here to you! A tasty treat for while you screw! Let’s take a break! Cool off those hot lips with our frozen fruity bars! Icy-wicy, fudgy-wudgy bars. And everyone’s frozen delight, the lick a stick!” The Terenzi brothers should be awarded for such Oscar Wilde like word play.
From characters to gags and ending with the epic fight of the Terenzi’s vs Klownzilla, Killer Klowns From Outer Space is one of the few perfect horror comedies out there that balances everything and gives loving nods to everything that inspired it. The Chiodo Brothers have done a lot in Hollywood but I would love for them to come out with another collaboration on this level. For many years they’ve been talking about a sequel and even as of late coined the term, “requel” sequel/remake for continuing the franchise with even talks of a television show, but nothing will ever beat the perfect amalgam of greatness that is the genius of this B Movie Masterpiece!
One More Day Til’ Halloween! Halloween!
One More Day Til’ Halloween!