When you entertain a clown you become part of the circus!
With a title like this, you would expect this 1988 Horror, Comedy, Sci-Fi film to be a B-Movie cheese-fest, and one thing is for sure – it does not disappoint in that regard. This film was Stephen Chiodo’s first outing as a Director, previously he had only sat in the chair for shorts. Chiodo wrote Killer Klowns with his brother Charles Chiodo. On the Production team was Charles, Stephen and brother Edward. Together, the brothers form Voltron… ignore that. Together the Chiodo brothers are known for their skills with special effects, specialising in clay modelling/ claymation, creature creation, stop motion and animatronics. They have credits for creating puppets in the likes of “Critters” (1986), “Ernest Scared Stupid” (1991), “Elf” (2003), “Team America: World Police” (2004) and “Dinner with Schmucks” (2010).
A shooting star falls over the small town of Crescent Cover. Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson) and Debbie Stone (Suzanne Snyder) cut their date short to investigate the falling star which looks like it touched down close by. They find a weird circus tent, which they soon discover is a spaceship for aliens that look like clowns. The clowns are causing havoc around town, killing some folk, while others they are cocooning in candy-floss (cotton candy), so that they can preserve the towns folk for a snack at a later time – they enjoy sucking the brains out of people with fun bendy straws. Dave and Debbie head back to town to warn the sheriff, while officer Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) believes them (he happens to be Debbie’s ex-boyfriend), officer Curtis Mooney (John Vernon) thinks they are full of crapola. Officer Tobacco learns that Dave and Debbie are telling the truth, but when Debbie is klown-napped, current, and former lover must work together to rescue Debbie. Thankfully the bumbling Tenzini brother (Michael Siegel and Peter Licassi) are on hand to help out.
Ok, so it’s a B-movie, but this one kind of pays homage to some of the ridiculous 50/60’s drive-in horrors that film goers were subject to during those eras. Set in the middle of nowhere with only the townsfolk to sort the problem out is very reminiscent of “The Blob” (1958). Yes, its camp, but it is intentionally camp rather than a product of the time it was made. Everything sort of just works in this; the cast all deliver authentically enough with a fun but cheesy script; the plot is ironic, absurd, and fun; the visuals are all entertaining. The film does not take itself too seriously at all and has fun at its own expense while delivering a goof-ball adventure for the audience to enjoy. This 88 mins film was made with a budget of about $1.8 million and came with a 15 rating in the UK when it was released. There is mild violence, sexual reference, and strong language – but not too much so do not get your knickers in a twist. Although it originally flopped when it was released in American cinemas, this film gained cult credibility when it was released on VHS. Everything you need to know about the film is revealed in the title, if you don’t like the title or it doesn’t leave you curious about the film, then it’s probably not the kind of film you’ll be wanting to watch.
I enjoyed this film a lot when I watched in the early 90’s and have watched it regularly enough to call it one of my favourites cheesy, comedy horror films. While I recommend it, this is probably a niche recommendation because clowns are not for everyone, nor are cheesy horror films.