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DVD Review: Killer Klowns From Outer Space

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I could not believe my eyes. "What the … is that a man on a bicycle?" I asked Steve Brown, UPS delivery associate and inter-dimensional adventurer.He looked to where I was pointing to in the kaleidoscopic swirl of the 8th Dimension void. "Oh, him, that's Duke De Mondo. He spends alot of time here."

"I see. That explains much," I said, nodding my head.

"Yeah, I think that guy Olsen lives out this way, too. Well, we have some time to kill," said Steve Brown, jumping up from the driver's seat. "I've got the truck on auto-pilot. Anyone care for a Hot Toddy or Juniper Juice Surprise? My specialty, you know."

He pressed a small blue button and a fully stocked bar suddenly appeared.

"I say," I said, "these UPS hybrid trucks are wonderfully appurtenanced. I'll take a Hot Toddy, if you don't mind."

"Juniper Juice for me, please," said Glenor, in that annoyingly coyish high-pitched voice of hers. "What's the surprise?" she giggled with goo-goo eyes beaming squarely on our burly UPS driver.

"That's a surprise," he winked. "I love that pink sweater you're wearing. Is that cotton?" he asked.

"Angora," she giggled again.

"It really fits you like a glove," he said.

I really needed that Hot Toddy now. "What else do you have aboard this UPS truck," I asked, hoping to change the current path of conversation.

"Press that green button," directed Steve Brown, while juggling the glasses for Glenor's amusement. She is so easily amused.

I pressed it. A large plasma TV appeared out of nowhere, and a shelf of DVDs popped open. I rubbed my hands together with glee, then ran them lovingly across the numerous movie titles. No wait … could it be? Yes! A copy of Killer Klowns From Outer Space!

"Excellent choice," said Steve Brown. "I'll put on the Jiffy Pop."

Not quite sure what the Chiodo Brothers were thinking when they pitched this idea for a movie, but it does have its charm. How can you not like a story about aliens that happen to look like bizarro clowns, who decide to stop for a quick nosh while shooting around the galaxy. Of course, this being a horror kind of movie, that quick nosh involves turning just about everyone in the small town of Crescent Cove into a jumbo-sized cotton candy treat with a nice gooey center that can be sucked up through a crazy straw.

"Considering the low budget for the film, the art direction and production design is fairly imaginative," said Steve Brown.

"Yes," I agreed. "If only the acting were a bit more top-notch."

"Well, with veteran character actors like Royal Dano and John Vernon, the so-so acting may have stood out more," he noted.

"I loved him in Animal House," giggled Glenor.

"Vernon does play a nasty role well, doesn't he," said Steve Brown. "His Dean Wormer is downright wicked. Speaking of wicked, more surprise Glenor?"

"More please, why yes," she said. "Oof, I meant to say please more, yes," she giggled. "Darn, I meant to say…"

She actually hiccupped right on cue. I really needed that Hot Toddy now. I turned my attention once again to the DVD.

It opens with the town's younger set smooching along Lovers Lane. Quickly ruining the peace and quiet, the Stooge-like Terenzi Brothers (no relation to the Chiodo Brothers — I hope) show up in their rented ice cream truck, with speaker blaring, to sell ice cream to the over-heated smoochers. The bumbling but industrious duo are soon driven off by the annoyed Lovers Lane hopefuls. But before Mike and Debbie can get back to their smooching, a bright object shoots across the sky and noisily lands not too far away. In true '50s horror film fashion, our lovers are off to investigate. Of course this only happens in horror films. Given a choice of heavy petting or chasing down mysterious glowing objects in the woods, I think most typical teenagers would go for the former.

Killer KlownsWhile our atypical lovers head to the scene of impact, Farmer Green Gene (no, not Captain Kangaroo's buddy) and his dog Pooh, see the light and head out to investigate. He and his dog are the first ones to find the circus tent spaceship in the woods. There is a nice bit here with Royal Dano walking along the side of the tent and a killer Klown's shadow following him along. Circus fun and excitement soon turn to dread as he and his dog are captured and cotton-candyized.

About ILoz Zoc

  • kanrei

    Very original review. One of my favorite “I am so far from Sober” movies of all time. I have debated on the DVD for a while now, no more. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Iloz Zoc

    Thanks kanrei. I really think this film would be a smash if they could work out a sequel, or remake. It’s quirkly enough to make a solid Halloween-time movie.

    What’s really amazing is that they spent 7 grand on the popcorn gun. It actually fires popcorn. Hell, every kid should have one.

  • kanrei

    I want one now! I gotta get this DVD. I have seen the movie tons of times, but all that trivia I do not know.

    I am not sure if a remake would be any good. Most of this movie’s charm is how cheap everything appears, how bad the acting was and that we saw it in the 80′s. I am not sure if today’s audience can relax enough to enjoy a dumb movie that takes itself seriously.
    We all still loves movies that are dumb and know it, but this one, like Rocky Horror, took itself serious as a horror movie first, and camp second.

  • Iloz Zoc

    Yes,the 80s was a unique time for horror films. Your point about the audience relaxing enough is probably true. The DVD commentary is interesting because they fill in the background about the characters, including Mike Tobacco and the wacky T Brothers. Those brothers always dumbfounded me. The special effects talk, especially in regard to the budget, is great, too. I always love creative stretching of the dollar. Lord knows what happened with the popcorn gun, though. They sort of went crazy with that one.

  • kanrei

    The 5th Element was the last true bad movie that pretended it wasn’t bad and it was great for it. Today, movies either let the audience know that they realize they are dumb or they take themselves too seriously. Gone are the days of having a good time watching a well done b-movie.

  • Mat Brewster

    Another brilliant review. For reasons I can’t possibly fathom I’ve never seen this film. I simply must add it to my blockbuster queue post haste.

  • Iloz Zoc

    Damn, I remember 5th Element. While watching it I thought, wtf!, but then went with it. I appreciate it more now.

    Mat, I suggest you stop—–clowning around and get this baby. Ahem.

  • kanrei

    I walked out of 5th Element thinking the same thing. It wasn’t until the second time I saw it that I said “Oh, I get it!”
    I love bad movies when done well. I cannot tell you how many times I would sit down to watch MST3K and feel embarressed at the fact that I had actually seen the movie they were making fun of.

  • kanrei

    I hope you don’t mind, but I linked to your site. I am always looking for the real reviews on horror flix.

  • Mat Brewster

    Ugh. That was super-ultra bad Iloz. I really don’t know why I haven’t seen this yet. Everytime it comes on TV I think I should watch the sucker. I’ve even picked it up a few times thinking I should buy it. I’ll blame my wife, I guess, who really despises my love for really bad horror flicks.

  • Iloz Zoc

    When I watch a movie on MST3K that I grew up with, and thought it was super when a kid, yup, I get that feeling. But when you can make fun, and have fun with a film that’s bad, it’s great. There are some godawful films I’ve watched that were pure torture with no redeeming value whatsoever.

    Wow, thanks, I’m honored you want to link to my site. I must confess I started reading your Home for Wayward Lemmings posts after your first comment. The writing style is great. Political writing is tuff to do as it requires a deft touch between satire, humor and sarcasm. I’m going to add your link to my On Writing section. You won me with “I never knew Peace Talks had half-time shows either.” Go figure. And some people think Killer Klowns is bizarre.

  • Iloz Zoc

    Mat, sorry, I couldn’t resist :)

  • kanrei

    Thank you so much. I find it the opposite. Political writing is so easy, but a good film review is near impossible.
    You are my new source for Horror news.

  • Iloz Zoc

    Thanks Kanrei! I appreciate it.