• Killer Klowns From Outer Space



    Released by: MGM
    Released on: September 11, 2012.
    Director: Stephen Chiodo
    Cast: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi
    Year: 1988
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    The Movie:

    A legitimate cult classic if ever there was one, The Chiodo Brothers’ 1988 film Killer Klowns From Outer Space starts when Mike (Grant Cramer) and his girlfriend Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) decide to head to the local make-out spot for some alone time, only to be interrupted by Rich (Michael Siegel) and Paul (Peter Licassi), Mike’s two best friends cruising around in an ice cream truck. When Mike sees something come hurtling out of the sky and crash nearby, Debbie talks him into going with her to investigate but when they arrive at the crash site they find a circus tent. They check it out and find a bunch of cocoons made out of cotton candy only to be chased out of there by some bizarre and rather frightening looking clowns!

    Debbie and Mike make it back to town and go to the local cops, lead by Curtis Mooney (John Vernon), who understandably figures that there’s something up with their story. He more or less dismisses them but Debbie’s ex-boyfriend, a cop named Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson), agrees to go take a look at things. Soon enough, however, there are big, scary clowns popping up all over town, making life difficult for bikers, pharmacy owners and ice cream truck drivers in the area.

    A fun throwback to fifties style sci-fi and monster movies, Killer Klowns From Outer Space was a lot of fun in the eighties and it’s a lot of fun now. Time has been kind to the picture, with the makeup and costumes holding up very well, the eerie and somehow perverse looking clowns themselves still having a completely creepy look to them. The set design and use of color, particularly in the last twenty minutes or so of the movie, is ridiculously over the top and yet completely appropriate in the context of the story. On top of that, the movie is paced very well, making for a very rewatchable film that’s never dull, never boring.

    Performances are decent here too. The key cast members play their parts well enough and the great John Vernon is excellent as the town’s requisite grumpy old cop. Siegel and Licassi are hilarious as the two goofballs in the ice cream truck and both Cramer and Snyder make for likeable enough leads, even if they look a bit older than they’re probably supposed to be in the movie. What really makes the film such a kick, however, is the inspired sense of lunacy that is evident throughout. Everything from the way in which the clowns get rid of their victims to the design of the characters shows some serious creativity and while it may be at least partially a parody of the movies that inspired it, the whole thing is done with such obvious love for B-movies that it’s pretty much impossible not to have a great time watching this.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    It’s hard to imagine Killer Klowns From Outer Space looking a whole lot better than it does in the 1.85.1 AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer from MGM without undergoing a serious restoration. Some minor print damage shows up as small specks here and there and the image is fairly grainy but in the right way, resulting in a pretty nice film like transfer. Detail is quite nicely improved here, the most obvious examples being the close up shots of the clowns themselves, you can really notice all the small little creases in their faces and the dirt and seediness that they give off. Skin tones generally look nice and natural, colors are very nicely reproduced, and if black levels aren’t perfectly inky, they’re definitely good.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 mix is fine for what it is, but it’s fairly low-fi for the most part. The dialogue doesn’t sound as strong as something more modern might but for an older B-movie, there’s little to complain about here and the Dickes’ theme song sounds pretty cool. An alternate French Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is included and there are subtitles offered up in English SDH and Spanish.

    Extras are replicated from the special edition DVD release, there’s nothing new here but at least everything from that release is carried over, though the Dickies' music video is still missing. First up is the commentary with the Chiodo Brothers which is worth listening. These guys have a great sense of humor and do a fine job of relaying the story behind the making of this odd movie. From there, we move on to a bunch of featurettes, the first of which is The Making Of 'Killer Klowns, a twenty two minute mix of 2001 interview footage with the Chiodo Brothers and vintage footage shot on the set during the production of the film. Komposing 'Klowns’ is a thirteen minute interview with the film’s composer, John Massari, while the fifteen minute Visual Effects With Gene Warren Jr. is a similar featurette that sheds some light on the work that Warren did for the picture. The thirteen minute long Kreating Klowns pieces lets Charles Chiodo talk about his work in literally creating the Klowns we see in the movie, while the seven minutes Chiodo Brothers' Earliest Films is a collection of clips from early pre-Klowns projects that the three brothers collaborated on.

    Rounding out the extras are five minutes of Deleted Scenes, three minutes of Bloopers, four minutes of Klown Auditions clips, a very quick bit on dubbing one scene for TV entitled Holy Smoke and last but not least, the film’s original Theatrical Trailer. Pop-up menus and chapter selection are also included on the disc and all of the supplements are presented in standard definition.

    The Final Word:

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space hold up surprisingly well and if for some reason the music video that as on the DVD is missing from this Blu-ray, the improved transfer and low MSRP are going to be reason enough for most fans to want to snag this one, as it’s otherwise a very good release of a fun, quirky movie.


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    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I once had a dream that you and I drove an icecream truck into a large hole in the road and wrecked the truck. We had to climb out the back and then we ran away giggling.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      That's weird.
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      I think the meaning is pretty clear. Todd was sweet on you, but realized there were too many obstacles (testicles?) in the way and decided that being friends would be better.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I agree with your Dreamalysis, but what about Ian's giggles? And what about the back door thing? I'm too stupid to figure it out.
    1. Barry M's Avatar
      Barry M -
      Leaving by the backdoor = turds.

      Shits & giggles = sweet Freudian pun for good times, supporting Paul's deep anal ysis.

      I don't know what the big hole represents.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      You guys are so smart, I can't even keep up.
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      Baz is right.Getting the big hole meaning will cost you money.
    1. Barry M's Avatar
      Barry M -
      What does it mean that the ice cream truck motif appears in both PHANTASM and KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE?
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      Fun and innocence in a world swarming with aliens.
    1. Barry M's Avatar
      Barry M -
      Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton's icecream truck scene in ALIEN? Cutting-room floor.
    1. FunktionJCB's Avatar
      FunktionJCB -
      If by music video the reviewer refers to the The Dickies music video, it was never on the original DVD release.

      Unless there's a later pressing that added it (which I don't believe so), the music video was unfortunately missing from the DVD release as well.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Yeah, you're right. I just double checked. Could have sworn it was on there but nope.
    1. FunktionJCB's Avatar
      FunktionJCB -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jane View Post
      Yeah, you're right. I just double checked. Could have sworn it was on there but nope.
      It's probably some rights issues preventing it's inclusion. It's a shame, since it's a fun video for a kick-ass tune.