Clowns eh, damn scary things. Coulrophobia is actually one of the most common phobias and is, can you guess, the fear of clowns. And who can blame anyone freaked out by such gaudy lunatics? Whether it’s that first trip to the circus as a child that saw you hiding from the painted people with the big shoes on who kept falling over each other or the fact that you were allowed to sit up as a teenager and watch It when it was first shown on TV, clowns have a way of burrowing into your psyche, getting warped and then staying there.
Which is why Killer Klowns From Outer Space is such an ingenious idea. It supplies audiences exactly with what anyone should expect from a film with such a title. There are cast members more enthusiastic than talented (though, to be fair, there are also a couple of well-known faces onscreen and nobody is terrible), cheap sets that overcome the small budget by being fantastically designed and coloured in keeping with the whole theme of the movie, clown shenanigans and a helping hand from almost every single member of the Chiodo family: Stephen Chiodo directed and helped write the thing with Charles and Edward Chiodo, all three of them also produced the film with others and Charles Chiodo even plays a memorable clown.
Pick of the cast members would have to be the great John Vernon as a completely intolerant policeman who does nothing when people try to warn him about the killer clowns but Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder do well as the main couple and John Allen Nelson is decent enough in a relatively early role.
It’s not an entertaining bad movie and I’m sick of people trying to sell it as such, Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a genuinely good film. It may be completely off the scale in terms of whackiness and bizarre ideas, and there is some intended comedy from a couple of guys who drive an ice cream van that just doesn’t work, but it’s absolutely brilliant for what it provides. Balloon animals, strange cotton candy, shadow puppets and much, much more all get a skewed airing in this cult movie that deserves to be seen by everyone with a healthy sense of humour.
DIRECTOR: STEPHEN CHIODO
CAST: GRANT CRAMER, SUZANNE SNYDER, JOHN ALLEN NELSON, JOHN VERNON
RUNTIME: 88 MINS APPROX