Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

A campy, kooky 80’s horror/sci-fi/comedy w. horrific acting, a bizarre concept, and Officer Mooney – yet nice VFX/animatronics, high & imaginative kill-count, glam-rock/synth period score, & some impressive carnival-based otherworldly set design. 5/10.

Plot Synopsis: When teenagers Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) see a comet crash outside their sleepy small town, they investigate and discover a pack of murderous aliens who look very much like circus clowns. They try to warn the local authorities, but everyone assumes their story is a prank. Meanwhile, the clowns set about harvesting and eating as many people as they can. It’s not until they kidnap Debbie that Mike decides it’s up to him to stop the clowns’ bloody rampage.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Review

Killer? Klowns? Space?

One Of The Most Bizarre Premises, But A Charming ’80’s B-Horror/Comedy Whose Biggest Quirk Is Ridiculousness

Killer? Klowns? Space? From the very title of the movie, you know what you’re in for: a preposterous ’80’s horror/comedy/sci-fi romp you shouldn’t go into with high expectations or intellectual thirst. Yet, that might be why it’s so charming and endearing; sometimes, movies are meant to just be ridiculous fun – and this is certainly diverse fun. A campy, kooky 80’s horror/sci-fi/comedy with horrific acting, a bizarre concept, and Officer Mooney – yet nice VFX/animatronics, high & imaginative kill-count, glam-rock/synth period score, & some impressive carnival-based set design, K.K.F.O.S. is a charming B-movie if not taken too seriously.

The Classic ’80’s Glam-Rock Score, Set-Design, & Absurdity Of Premise For Dark Laughs

The absurdity of the premise makes for laughs and a happy-go-lucky innocence to it all. The Chiodo brothers have managed to script and produce what is the silliest film ever made about the infamous circus freaks – packed to the brim with every clown-reference imaginable, reimagined: ray-guns that beam cotton-candy body bags, clown-cars with vacuums to collect those corpses, cream pies with solvable acid for cream, balloon-animals that come alive, circus-tent U.F.O.’s, popcorn that morphs into alienic smaller klowns, and the infamous clown make-up that’s not so much makeup here. Points certainly go just for the limitless imagination and ridiculousness of it all, that’s sure to bring a smile to any non-sadists face with a sense of humour. The set-design of the Klowns’ space-ship and extraterrestrial milieu is absolutely sensational – as are the VFX/practical effects; the film still looks great today and high-budget for its visual package: a huge triumph most ’80’s films cannot replicate upon lookback 30+ years later. The score is a classic-’80’s Glam-Rock/Electronica-fest that is a nostalgic, delightful reminder of the era’s charms and feel – complete with its own theme song for maximum cheesiness but all in good fun.

Some Genuine Imaginative Horror & A High Kill-Count By Every Clown Reference Imaginable

Surprisingly though, there are a few sequences of good horror to be found amongst the gags – like shadow animals coming alive, the child-lure outside the fast-food restaurant, the sheer number of victims/body-count (must be amongst the All-Time highest by how they’re able to presumably-kill the entire town) and circus-shadows all going after out-of-bounds horror victims: sweet old men (Farmer Gene Green and Pooh are absolutely hilarious!), animals, and little girls for a package that does deliver some scares and horror in parts too. Besides the diversity though – mixing three different genres ~impressively: horror, comedy, and sci-fi, the film is packed with flaws too. Of course, you can’t judge it seriously on merit due to the absurd goofiness of its premise; it’s merely popcorn-fluff (pun intended) that is divertable but should be judged as such.

A Premise One Can’t Judge Seriously, Loads Of Bad Acting, & A Vexatious Character: Officer Mooney

K.K.F.O.S. is predictively loaded with bad acting by off-the-streets amateurs you seriously wonder if they’ve ever even seen a film before in, and there is one massively-vexatious character you can’t help but hate: Officer Mooney. A trope of ’80’s films (especially in horror) is the ineptitude of policemen and the police dept., but K.K.F.O.S. takes it to another level. Mooney goes on constant diatribes about the perceived worthlessness and morality-deprivation of young-people – to the point it comes across as a bitter old man’s whining that is unfathomably annoying. He also boasts the title of most inept policemen ever, allowing the countless 911-calls made by people across the entire town to fall on deaf ears while he’s reading a magazine and convinving himself it’s a ‘prank’.. Even the kill of such a drastically-hatable character (usually brutalized to at least endear the audience for having to put up with him/her and giving them comeuppance for their sins) is far-too-light – begging to questions what the point of it all was.

Conclusion

A Charming B-Movie Romp.. As Long As You Don’t Take It Too Seriously & Are Fine Turning Off Your Brain For Two Hours, That Is

Overall, Killer Klowns From Outer Space is serviceable ’80’s pop-funk B-Movie fun that exemplifies many of the over-the-top and innocent/quirky charms of the era. Of course, it can’t be judged seriously on-merit and is packed with bad acting and one vexatious character, but damned if it isn’t entertaining to watch a horror/sci-fi/comedy clan of intergalactic clowns besiege a small-town with every circus reference imaginable. A campy, kooky 80’s horror/sci-fi/comedy with horrific acting, a bizarre concept, and Officer Mooney – yet nice VFX/animatronics, high & imaginative kill-count, glam-rock/synth period score, & some impressive carnival-based set design, K.K.F.O.S. is a charming B-movie if not taken too seriously.

Official CLC Score: 5/10