Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Trick or Treat: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

I'd somehow managed to miss this cult classic, although I have seen much of it in youtube clips. I imagine the Chiodo brothers, who directed this late 80's trash, come from the original B-movie school of "think of a title, then make the film". And what a title it is. I have to give them a heads up for committing to the clown theme. There is death by cotton candy, popcorn guns, and even their spaceship looks like a big top-spinning top. And whether you suffer from coulrophobia or not, these are some jokers that you won't want to be getting a balloon animal from.

I feel silly explaining the plot, as the title does such a good job. We never know why they come to Earth, although seeing one of the Klowns drinking human blood through a silly straw may put them in the same human-farmer category as Under the Skin's extra-terrestrial. A couple of the towns pesky teenagers (Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder) try to convince the police that there is murderous clowns on the loose, storing people in cotton candy cocoons, only to be confronted by a cop who hates the kids. Soon enough though, the Klowns rampage the town, storing up bodies in their Tardis-like ship. Luckily, the Terenzi brothers (Michael S. Siegel and Peter Licassi) and their ice-cream van team up with the teenagers and the young police officer (John Allen Nelson) to take down the big top and Klownzilla.

The film looks great. As I said before, the rich paraphernalia surrounding the circus is utilised well, and the clowns themselves look imposing, if more demented than scary. The music too is also a high point, especially the films theme, performed by The Dickies. The Chiodo brothers obviously have a love for the medium, and many references are made to other sci-fi and horror movies, including Alien, The Blob and Halloween. While the horror scares aren't really in this film, the deaths are funny and imaginative; the most famous, and best in my opinion, is the hand shadow dinosaur that eats a group of people.

While certain sequences work very well, the story as a whole is basic and predictable, and, dare I say it, a little boring. While the Klowns are great bad guys, there is very little to bring you into this film, other than how crazy is their next kill gonna be. Definitely a step up from the average B-movie in terms of production, Killer Klowns from Outer Space feels like a group of isolated incidents than a cohesive whole.

Is it weird to say that the balloon dog was my favourite character?

This film would be an excellent edition to any Halloween party that you may have, especially if you have younger kids celebrating. They'll love the messed up looking clowns and the crazy deaths. I would certainly say this film was a Treat, the equivalent to Maoam - bright, sugary and fun.



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