• Killer Klowns From Outer Space (Arrow Video)

    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: April 24th, 2017.
    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.


    The previous Blu-ray release that came out via MGM back in 2012 looked good, but Arrow’s transfer, taken from a ‘brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative’ offers considerable improvement. Presented on a 50GB disc in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen, detail is stronger, texture more pleasing and depth more noticeable. Colors look a bit stronger here as well, whites in particular, and we get very solid black levels. There’s virtually no print damage while the film’s natural grain structure remains intact and untinkered with.

    Arrow provides ‘newly remastered stereo 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio options’ in English, with optional subtitles provided in English as well. While the 2.0 track sounds more faithful to the original mix, the 5.1 track spreads out the effects and the score nicely, making a few of the more active scenes in the film just that little bit more engaging. Both tracks feature properly balanced levels and are free of any hiss or distortion.

    Arrow, being Arrow, has also had a few new extra features created for this release beginning with Let The Show Begin! Anatomy Of A Killer Theme Song which is an interview with Leonard Graves Phillips and Stan Lee of The Dickies, the band responsible for the film’s iconic theme song. They speak for just under eleven-minutes about their work creating the song, their thoughts on the picture and some of their influences. Tales Of Tobacco is an eighteen-minute interview with actor Grant Cramer who talks about his career up to this point, landing the part and his experiences on set. Debbie’s Big Night interviews actress Suzanne Snyder for eleven-minutes where she basically gushes over how much fun she had working with the Chiodo Brothers, landing the part and some of the trickier scenes she was involved in. Also new to this release is Bringing Life To These Things, which is an eight-minute tour of the Chiodo Brothers Productions studio space hosted by Stephen Chiodo that shows off plenty of artifacts as well as some fun archival footage from the Choido’s vaults.

    From there, dig into The Chiodos Walk Among Us: Adventures In Super 8 Filmmaking which is a twenty-four-minute documentary that looks into the making of the Chiodo Brothers’ early films that were made from their early childhood days up until they were in college. It’s a pretty great piece that is wonderfully complemented by new high definition presentations of all of those early Chiodo Brothers 8mm and Super 8 films - Land Of Terror, Free Inside, Beast From The Egg, Africa Danny, Eskimo, Sludge Grubs and
    Free Inside. Beast From The Egg also comes with an optional audio commentary from the brothers. Great stuff, lots of fun for anyone who ever made their own films or SOV projects as a kid!

    Then there are the extras are carried over from the special edition DVD release starting with 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.

    Rounding out the extras are five-minutes of deleted scenes (with optional commentary from the Chiodo Brothers), three-minutes of Bloopers, four-minutes of Klown Auditions clips and last but not least, a few still galleries and the film’s original Theatrical Trailer. 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 holds up well, it’s a fun and quirky horror movie with some great effects and entertaining performances. While the movie has been released on Blu-ray previously, Arrow’s disc offers a substantial upgrade in picture quality and throws in some tantalizing new extra features that will certainly appeal to the film’s fan base. Even if you already have the older MGM release, this is a double dip worth taking!

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!