Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
What’s It About: Anytime a schlocky horror flick has its own theme song, you know you’re in for some sweet awesomeness.
We start with John Vernon cruising for punks. If there had been a movie with John Vernon and George C. Scott as beat cop partners my brain would have been blown out of my ass spine.
At Top of the World (the hot makeout spot in the middle of the woods for college-aged people who shouldn’t have to go park in the woods to make out), we learn that the horny college kids don’t like clown-themed ice cream trucks driven by two douchebag brothers coming by while they’re trying to give and take boners. Shortly after that, a meteor flies overhead and two not-horny-enough college kids go after it. If I’ve learned anything from horror flicks, it’s NEVER try to find out where a meteor landed. The only thing you’ll find is trouble.
So Pa Walton, who lives on the outskirts of the makeout spot, goes after the meteor too and finds a circus tent. But the circus is not in town, and he only finds a Killer Klown!
The hornyless teens, Debbie and Mike (who sports a half-mullet, which isn’t nearly as majestic as Brian Flagg’s or as serious as John Neville’s but it’s a nice, clean mullet look), come across the tent too, and Mike really doesn’t find it strange. In fact Mike acts like a total jerkoff once they get inside the tent. It’s amazing how he thinks there is nothing strange about it. Somehow, Debbie comes to the realization that they’re in the “shooting star” that they saw.
They make their way to a room with hanging cotton candy. Mike keeps acting like a jagweed until they discover that the cotton candy is full of dead bodies, just like my Uncle Pete used to make. They startle a poor working Klown, and as they make their escape from the tent ship it shoots a popcorn gun at them. Then the Klowns track them with a balloon dog. This movie rules in its cheesiness.
After they run over a few in their car, the Klowns very, very slowly make their way to town on foot. They should be there in about 6 days.
Debbie and Mike go to the fuzz, but their tale is difficult to believe, especially for John Vernon, who has a layer of crust around his heart 2 inches thick. But Dave the cop used to bone Debbie, so he helps them.
Meanwhile, the Klowns are going around town, tricking people with free puppet shows and pizza deliveries in order to shoot them with their cotton candy ray. It’s pretty funny, but why do they need to trick people? Just bust in and shoot them. There’s another great Klown killing scene where the little one with green hair literally punches a biker’s head off because he busted his Klown bike. It’s at that point you start rooting for the Klowns.
Mike and Dave check out Top of the World, but before they can start making out Dave finds the cotton candy all over one of the cars. Dave realizes that Debbie and Mike weren’t clowning around after all!
Meanwhile, John Vernon is getting calls from all over town about Killer Klowns, but he refuses to believe them at all. The man is absolutely perfect for this role.
Double meanwhile, Debbie takes a closed-curtain shower and the popcorn that was stuck to her from before starts coming alive, eventually turning into some kind of Klown worms, which is what happens to unpopped kernels in your stomach.
Mike and Dave spot a Klown making shadow puppets for people at a bus stop. They’re all mesmerized until he makes a T-Rex and eats them all. Dave calls John Vernon about the Klowns and John Vernon tells him to f*ck off.
The biggest Klown comes to the police station to confront John Vernon, and John Vernon locks it up for crimes against nature. But it decides to kill John Vernon via a noisemaker that grabs him by the throat and smashes him against the cell bars, just how it was prophesied he would die.
Dave comes and finds cotton candy cocoons (cancoons?) and John Vernon being used by the Klown as a ventriloquist’s dummy. I’m amazed that he agreed to this makeup.
Dave shoots the Klown repeatedly in the chest but it does nothing! But when he shoots it square in the nose, it spins around and explodes. They never even tried to talk it out like gentlemen.
The Klowns go through the streets with a big clown vacuum and pick up a bunch cancoons full of townsfolk. Meanwhile, back in Debbie’s bathroom, the Klowns show up and use a ray gun on her that traps her in a balloon. In a movie this goofy, you shouldn’t worry about things making sense, which is refreshing.
As the Klowns are loading Debbie’s balloon onto their Klown Kar, Mike and the ice cream truck brothers spot them and chase them at high speeds. The brothers are almost as annoying as Mike, if that’s possible. Anyway, Dave smacks into their truck, so they all go to the amusement park together because that’s where the Klowns are hiding their ship. How they got the ship there without anyone seeing it is a question best left between you and your god.
As the Klowns return to their ship, they kill a security guard at the amusement park with pies that melt him. Why didn’t they cancoon him? Just because they hadn’t used the deadly pies yet.
The brothers act like they’re 4 years old and I hate them like clowns hate tight shoes. Fortunately, they fall into a ball pit and meet two big-boobed girl Klowns, who I hope dissolve them painfully.
Mike and Dave are hiding in the cotton candy room and a fat Klown comes in with a krazy straw and drinks blood out of one of the cancoons. They rescue Debbie from the balloon but don’t have time for anyone else because the Klowns are a-comin’!
Our heroes hit a dead end with a door, and Mike opens the door only to find another door behind it, so he whines in his girly voice, “Another door?!” And this happens three times in a row, with him screeching it each time. He has to be my least favorite horror movie protagonist since Jeff from The Video Dead. He’s definitely the front runner for Least Favorite Character in my recap awards.
Our heroes soon find themselves surrounded. But the douche brothers crash through the wall in their clown ice cream truck somehow and rescue them. How the hell did they know where they were and what wall to crash through and how did they get the truck in there in the first place? I know I just said not to worry about things making sense but that’s a little much.
Just as they’re about to make their exit, King Klown comes down from the ceiling and attacks! Then, the best part of the movie, when King Klown beats on the ice cream truck, throws it and it explodes with the brothers inside. Now go kill Mike!
But Debbie and Mike take off while Dave decides to be brave and stays behind to draw King Klown’s attention. King Klown grabs Dave and this looks like the end for him, but he stabs King Klown in the nose with his badge! The tent ship explodes in mid air and it seems that Dave’s a goner, but the Klown Kar lands with a thud in front of Debbie, Mike and some other cops that have gathered to do absolutely nothing and Dave heroically emerges! Unfortunately, so do the douchebag brothers, who say they hid in the freezer of their ice cream truck. I’m pretty sure the freezer would have exploded too, but then how did they escape the inferno and get in the Klown Kar?
Our heroes look to the sky and wonder if it’s over, and pies rain down on their faces. Unfortunately, they don’t dissolve into goop.
Soooo, as Mike girlishly exclaimed when he and Dave were in the cotton candy room, the Klowns cancooned almost everyone in town, so since the tent ship exploded, I guess everyone in town is dead now? Way to go, heroes.
Is It Actually Scary: If you suffer from coulrophobia this movie will be your absolute worst nightmare. If not, you’ll probably just think it’s more funny than anything.
How Much Gore: There’s a little light gore sprinkled throughout, like when the Klown pulls its hand out of the John Vernon dummy’s back and another Klown drinking blood out of a cancoon with a krazy straw, but mostly the violence is comical.
Dumbest Moment: It’s a movie about murderous alien clowns, so technically it’s all dumb. But the over-the-top dumbest moment is when the brothers come to the rescue of Dave, Debbie and Mike. The interior of the tent ship is huge and features several rooms full of wacky walls and big snake tunnels and cavernous ball pits, etc. There’s just no way they could have gotten their ice cream truck from outside of the ship to the middle of it. Especially, as I said, since they didn’t even know where everyone else was. Or maybe the girl Klowns helped them?
Any Nudity: The Klown worm things kind of look like penises.
Overall: This is probably one of the most fun horror movies you’re apt to see. It’s great how it takes everything associated with clowns and makes it demented and deadly. For such a low-budget flick the creature designs are really well done and although the interiors of the ship are very cheap and usually just a few things in a big black room, they work within the context of this picture. But the movie could have been even better if A) they’d cast Mike with a man B) the brothers weren’t in it at all (they have absolutely no purpose, Mike could have driven an ice cream truck for a living) and C) boobs. But still, definitely worth your time if you’re in a goofy mood around Halloween.
Score: 7.5 cancoons (out of 10)