Melody Vena made her Halloween Horrors series debut as part of 2018’s series with her look at 2007’s Trick R Treat. As that film has quickly become a staple of the Halloween season for so many, it seemed a fitting choice to close out last year’s event. She returns this year with another film that, while unarguably does not drip Halloween from it’s pores as much as Trick R Treat, has also become a Halloween season standard for many.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space, being one of my favorite films of any genre, is undeniably all about having fun and being silly. And for so many of us, that’s exactly what Halloween presents us. A chance to have some fun and to be silly, hopefully forgetting about all of our stresses and worries for at least just one night. As I wish for nothing more than to have our Halloween Horrors series seen in the same light, this film seemed like a solid choice to help enforce that belief.
In closing, I would also like to send an extra bit of congratulations to Melody, who has become a Mommy since last year’s series! If she’s anything like me, I’m sure she’ll enjoy sharing this film with her own child in the not-so-far future. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see her daughter, Stormy, joining us for Halloween Horror 2037 when (hopefully) one of my sons is running this site.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space was made in 1988 on a small budget of 2 million dollars, most of which was spent on production costs. The only film to be written and directed by the Chiodo brothers, and starring such actors as Grant Cramer, John Nelson, John Vernon, and Suzanne Snyder, this film was originally dismissed by the legal department. They are known to have said: ” This will be a complete failure that will die a quick death” to which John Massari (writer of the iconic “Killer Klowns March”) responded, ” Well… YOU don’t get it! Some people will LOVE this movie!”
He was never more right! Although it was not a hit in theaters, Killer Klowns From Outer Space has earned its title as a “cult classic” and now has a BIG cult following. Most of the film’s revenue has been made from action figures, DVDs, and T-shirts.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space was filmed in Watsonville, California and at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, utilizing practical special effects and rubber suits. The Chiodo brothers gave birth to the idea of evil aliens from the unknown areas of space who resemble clowns (like that’s not scary enough) who arrive on Earth and invade a small town. (It’s always a small town with alien invasions. I wonder what pisses them off about small-town living so much?)
The Klowns capture, kill and harvest the inhabitants for sustenance. And how do they do so, you may ask? By using weapons that place humans in a cotton candy cocoon that sucks the life from them! You’ll never look at cotton candy the same way again! You’re welcome.
The shenanigans of this delightfully clever film begin just outside the town of Crescent Cove, where Mike Tabbaco and Debbie Stone are parked in a “lovers lane”, quietly engaging in some “mature activities”. Being obviously uninterested in each others skills, they turn to the sky and notice a strange glowing object falling. In true fashion, they stop making out in order to go investigate the object, because.. well, that’s just what people in small towns like to do apparently!
Close by, the local farmer Gene Green sees the object and believes it to be Halley’s comet. With his cute dog in tow, he ventures into the woods to find where it made impact. While wandering, he comes across a large circus tent and is shortly captured by the clown-like aliens. Right after this happens, here come our lovers from earlier, investigating the tent themselves.
They soon discover a very complex interior with elevators and extremely bizarre rooms. One such room has cotton candy-like cocoons, that upon opening are shown to contain a melting human body. They are soon spotted by a Klown, who chases them with a gun that shoots popcorn. Yes.. a gun that shoots FREAKING popcorn! The couple run away, but are chased by a dog.. that is a balloon animal. Amazing!
Mike and Debbie drive to the local police station to report the incident to the deputy, Dave Hanson, who happens to be Debbie’s ex-boyfriend. (Awkward!) Also at the station is his partner, Curtis Mooney, who is about as pleasant as a sunburn. Mooney believes the story to be a hoax, and that the couple is pulling a prank on them. Dave decides to drive Debbie home and return to the woods with Mike, but when they arrive the tent has vanished, leaving only a large crater in its place.
The unlikely duo returns to “lover’s lane” to find the cars abandoned and covered in a cotton candy-like substance. Meanwhile, back in town, the Klowns are running amuck using rayguns that resemble toys, while capturing the poor townspeople who believe they are just normal circus clowns. To further confuse the townfolk, the Klowns begin to perform pranks and circus acts that draw the attention of several onlookers, only to result in their deaths. Some of the deaths are hilarious; Mike and Dave watch on as a Klown shrinks a crowd of people into its hand with shadow puppets! The sheer idea of that is just awesome!
Meanwhile back at the station, “Deputy Personality”, aka Mooney, is having a hard night dealing with several phone calls about Klowns kidnapping or killing people. He, of course, still believes this is all a joke, and with every call is getting angrier. So, when a Klown shows up to the station, he automatically believes that it is a teenager trying to prank him and arrests the Klown. This does not go well for him. Deputy Dave returns to the station to find two cocoons containing prisoners and Deputy Mooney in a different version of his dumb self. Deputy Dave begins shooting the Klown with no effect until he hits its nose and it begins to spin out of control and explode!
I’m not big on giving away endings, spoilers, or such. I know that I have listed a few key factors in my synopsis of this classic, but it had to be done. I will admit when I first saw Killer Klowns, I was not a fan. It just was not my type of horror. Upon watching this film years later I can say with full confidence, I love everything about this film! Its imperfections, cheesy effects, and story create the best/worst movie you’ll ever watch.
There have been talks of a sequel for a handful of years, but sadly it usually gets scrapped or ends up in sequel purgatory. However, in October of 2018, the Syfy Channel announced that they were in talks to purchase the rights to the movie, to FINALLY give us a much-needed sequel and fulfill our dreams with cotton candy goodness!
“When in doubt, Punch them in the nose”