In 1988, the Chiodo Brothers (pronounced Kyoto) unleashed a labor of love that they hoped would blossom into a franchise. Mixing elements of comedy and horror, Killer Klowns from Outer Space wasn't exactly a huge box office success, but it did go on to become a genuine cult phenom in some circles. Since the Cavalcade is dedicated to the very kind of film KKFOS epitomizes, we pulled it out for a screening.
Cotton candy cocoons, mutant popcorn demons, and acid cream pies; you can't fault this one for false advertising. The Klowns...er..Clowns in this movie do, in fact, kill people; and yes, they are from outer space. If you're looking for anything deeper than this, you've obviously come to the wrong place. It's small-town America, frequently victimized by aliens and politicians alike, coming under fire yet again from extra-terrestrials... that happen to resemble clowns that want to eat your face.
With sets comprised mostly of painted cardboard and baloons, the film does what it can with its $2 million dollar budget. Being well-known effects technicians, the Chiodo brothers were able to get most of their visual effects work done for free as favors from friends. This makes for a film that, while obviously low-budget, still manages to pull off a few gags that are actually pretty nifty. The sad part however is that while the Klowns themselves are a interesting bunch of cheesy monsters, the human cast is...well... Let's just say that we were pulling for the Klowns.
The filmakers obviously knew that they were making a ridiculous movie, and as such did everything they possibly could to spice it up. And while I'm sure that it's possible to make a movie with alien clowns that's either genuinely frightening or genuinely funny, KKFOS never really pulls off either. There was one genuinely creepy scene in a jail, and one laugh-out-loud funny moment involving the creative use of a baloon animal. Other than that, we were mostly quiet the entire picture, which actually feels much longer than it's fairly short 84 minute runtime. So while I applaud the Chiodo brothers for bringing such an absurd vision to the screen, I can't exactly recommend it for a Cavalcade feature.