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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 30.48%
Average: 2.86%
Pretty Bad: 1.9%
Total Crap: 7.62%

3 reviews, 87 user ratings

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Killer Klowns from Outer Space
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by Jay Seaver

"The Chiodos should have had Tim Burton's career."
4 stars

"Killer Klowns" is a one-joke movie. It's perhaps the most obvious one-joke movie in the history of one-joke movies. It is also, perhaps, one of the greatest one-joke movies ever made; the Chiodo Brothers find a bunch of different ways to tell their joke, tell it well, and then get the heck out about five seconds before it threatens to get stale.

That one joke is, of course, that the people who are phobic about clowns and circuses have it exactly right: The damn things are evil, and the common perception that they are jolly and delightful is because we've done a Disney-style removal of all the murderous and threatening aspects since the last time those alien creatures with their tent-shaped ships stopped of on Earth for a bite to eat. So we get jokes about cotton candy, popcorn, balloon animals, little cars that hold dozens of people, etc., etc. Someone who has only heard the title could likely make up a checklist and tick each of them off. In that way, it's kind of predictable.

So are a lot of movies, of course. Not many of them do such a good job of setting them up and knocking them down. The Chiodos (Stephen Chiodo directs; brothers Charles, Edward, and Stephen write and produce) come up with a dozen or so clown-related gags, and for just about every one, they figure out how to execute it more or less perfectly: The timing would be off if any of them ran just a bit shorter or a second longer, for instance. The Klowns and their props are designed just right, as well, in a fun zone between cute and gross. That fun zone is pretty narrow - a little more cheery, and the mayhem becomes disturbing; a little nastier, and it's not funny. The Chiodos avoid repeating themselves in ways that would make us take any bit of insanity for granted, but tie everything together so that it feels like a story, not just a random assembly of gags.

The story, of course, could be constructed with the "Fifties Invasion Movie" version of Mad Libs: College kids Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) see a meteor crash land (so does redneck-type Gene (Royal Dano)), only to discover that it's a space ship from which aliens that look like clowns emerge. The local constabulary, Dave (John Allen Nelson) and Mooney (John Vernon) don't believe the reports of alien clowns, at least not until bodies start piling up. What's refreshing - and kind of surprising - is how straight they play it. For all the Sam Raimi-style "splatstick" going on, you will never once see a character wink at the camera or act like they know that they're in a movie. We know this stuff is funny, but the human characters act like they're in a dead-serious horror movie.

They're pretty competent as well. Most of the cast had undistinguished later careers - TV guest star roles and direct-to-video movies, though Christopher Titus would get his own show twelve years later (and I couldn't pick him out in this movie even with a prior trip to IMDB) - but none are exactly liabilities, either. The physical effects are also very smartly done; though the movie is low-budget, the Chiodos are able to write and direct to what they know they can accomplish, and that's quite a bit: The model work, makeup, set design, etc., is all very good.

In fact, it's so good that I've often wondered why the Chiodos never did another feature, instead doing effects, puppetry, and animation for others. They're good at that, sure, but this movie is both good enough and produced in such a sure-handed manner that you'd think someone in the past twenty years would have taken a chance with them.

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originally posted: 02/26/09 12:27:45
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User Comments

5/26/20 brian Wacky fun 4 stars
4/08/16 David Hollingsworth A cult 80s classic of very cheesy fun! 5 stars
10/30/13 JNagarya May be intended as a comedy, but even if you keep reminding yourself that it's only a film. 5 stars
10/20/13 unforgettable - in a good way. Laughs aplenty if you're not a pedantic clown yourself. 5 stars
3/11/11 Monday Morning I quit watching when they shot some kids with a popcorn gun. 2 stars
1/12/10 Jeff Wilder A grade Z movie that makes no apologies for being a grade Z movie. 4 stars
10/08/09 Roger It's been years since I laughed so hard at a movie! 5 stars
9/09/09 DJ Fitzgerald What a Great D Movie! 1 stars
3/22/09 james obrien very very funny 5 stars
4/11/07 Asep The best "evil clown" movie ever made...NOT a horror movie, though...a weird, wild romp.... 4 stars
3/20/07 Abs Load of crap. what a waste of time and bandwith downlading and watching it 1 stars
11/28/06 Tim My favorite part from the movie is when the klowns put the girl in a giant yellow balloon. 5 stars
11/14/06 poppy seed funny as hell. 4 stars
7/17/06 mark I stain my underwear everytime I see cotton candy 3 stars
3/23/05 Killer Bond It's a pretty good movie!! 5 stars
1/20/05 Tammy edwards I't was really good, it made me jump the first timeI watched it. 5 stars
1/06/05 frank fields i love this movie funny funny 5 stars
12/13/04 mrs ishy best ever! 5 stars
12/08/04 Adam A very hilarious movie. I am a true fan, I saw it last night, and went out and bought it. 4 stars
10/26/04 Books bad ass 5 stars
9/08/04 Dillon Hastings It a bunch of bull-shit 1 stars
8/21/04 luke hilarioud 5 stars
8/07/04 G-man never go to the circus, lol 5 stars
7/27/04 Samuel A really great film. 5 stars
7/23/04 jack could be a true story 5 stars
7/19/04 coy this movie is hilarious! 5 stars
7/11/04 Adam A classis B-movie !! 5 stars
6/27/04 jack scare this movie sucks 1 stars
6/22/04 Dick Logan Another door!! Another door!! Another door!! Classic cheese!! 5 stars
6/21/04 the legend the greats movie ever 5 stars
5/08/04 American Slasher Goddess A great B movie 4 stars
4/22/04 Lord Durvok 2 This is what B-movies should be... 5 stars
4/17/04 Chudrow I Likee Movie Much 5 stars
4/17/04 Buttsavage Amazing 5 stars
2/06/04 btory man it seems so stupid, but hell its funny 3 stars
2/05/04 Evan "pothead" Kruger Who watched a movie like this for "substance", fuckin ass, this movie is awsome, 5 stars
1/10/04 HorrorScribbler Killer clowns from outer space? Holy shit. -- Dean Wormser 4 stars
12/05/03 Derek If you don't like this movie, eat a d!ck 5 stars
11/07/03 John Heick This movie is actually fairly amusing, but only if you dont care about how cheesy it is. 5 stars
11/04/03 phil this was horribe! i was bored from the get-go! this movie had no substance! boring! 1 stars
10/25/03 emily cress killer clowns rock. i love that movie 5 stars
10/19/03 Alan Hit and miss camp. Had its moments, but I'll soon forget it for the rest of my life. 3 stars
10/16/03 james clean family fun 5 stars
9/18/03 Lord Durvok II Definately a fun - and creepy - flick. "What're you gonna do with those pies boys?" 4 stars
8/23/03 Michael Baum Late night laughs! 4 stars
8/06/03 Andrea That movie sux, whom ever decided to write this should run and hide from all humanity. 1 stars
8/03/03 Frank Bliss Awesome movie! 5 stars
7/14/03 Matthew Truelove Movies like this made me a horror movie fan as a kid! Excellent example of goofy horror! 5 stars
7/04/03 raVen kicked ass 5 stars
6/21/03 Phil Ross Awesome and Campy! 5 stars
5/31/03 Allison Like most corny 80's horror movies I loved it! 5 stars
4/02/03 Gray utltra campy horror and they wanted it that we 5 stars
1/10/03 Joshua Noel Good B-Grade Movie 5 stars
11/01/02 Art Campy horror fun 5 stars
10/31/02 Tellosamatokillavrillavigne B-Movies are the BEST movies. And this was funny shit. 5 stars
10/23/02 neil the punk this film rules the dickies soundtrack makes it 5 stars
10/02/02 me this movie is so awsome... the only problem is i can't find it anywhere!!! 4 stars
8/16/02 Shaun the filmakers knew what it was, I knew what it was, and its great! 5 stars
7/20/02 Kyle Ho-ly shit! 5 stars
4/18/02 sandman Solid 1 star movie!!!!!! 5 stars
4/02/02 Film Dude Not bad as one might think. 5 stars
3/26/02 Scarecrow god, i hated this movie 2 stars
3/24/02 Alex A waste of two hours of my life! =( 1 stars
3/23/02 Butterbean I laughed my ass off here! 4 stars
3/14/02 RAPP81 dot Com Saw this when I was 7 as well... DVD's a good value for what's on it for $10. 5 stars
3/11/02 KevinS KICKS ASS!!!!! 5 stars
2/02/02 Judith Latham PURE CHEESY WONDERFUL CAMP!!!! 5 stars
11/23/01 Andrew Carden Cult Classic Alamo! 5 stars
10/14/01 E-Funk I saw this when I was 7,still awesome after all these years. Chiod bros rock! 5 stars
6/08/01 Serial_Monk_the_Jawbreaker Frightening but campy and thoroughly executed horror film! This guarantees good fun! 5 stars
5/30/01 Sean Callahan My little brother is now scared to death of clowns 5 stars
5/15/01 Melanie Awesome movie, its my favorite!! 5 stars
4/29/01 joey obnoxiosu my all time fav!! 5 stars
4/17/01 lisa Love the short one! 5 stars
3/02/01 Ali I want to see 5 stars
2/16/01 Godzilla King Kong Mediocre in ways,but quirky fun,creative,sometimes scary,as Dave returns to jail,Moody dead 4 stars
1/11/01 Harold M. Good clowns gone bad, way bad. 4 stars
1/08/01 scarious It's my favorite movie and one of the best movies ever made. 5 stars
1/05/01 Hihihi15 This movie is amazing. They're killer klowns!!! 5 stars
11/26/00 cravertx This movie is so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/22/00 Lovebug This Movie was more fun than a barrel of Monkeys. It is a great drinking movie!!! 5 stars
9/18/00 D SILK E 1 this is the ultimate underground 80's movie classic 5 stars
7/09/00 Andrew Freeman One of the best movies 5 stars
3/18/00 John Lindsey cool, i recommend this Movie to anyone who likes ID4, Mars attacks or Toxic Avenger, 5 stars
3/02/00 Rob Humanick Hilarious, campy fun for any sci-fi fan who doesn't care about a bad plot or awful acting. 4 stars
12/18/99 The King of the Bros This movie fucking rocks, go see it now you piece of shit! 5 stars
11/08/99 Fan of 80's nostalgia. Lame campy movie of alien clowns should more go to MST3K! 1 stars
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  27-May-1987 (PG-13)



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