5-Word 365 #071 – Killer Klowns From Outer Space

This one might be a bit shorter than usual today. I’ve got friends coming over for dinner tonight (yes, I have a social life) and I’ve been slaving over a hot oven all day making breads and chocolate tart and all kinds of good stuff. I did manage to watch a movie though.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

Coulrophobic? Stay away from this.

A small town is invaded by aliens who look like clowns, who capture the inhabitants and encase them in candy floss, storing them in their spaceship which looks like a Big Top. It is up to a college guy and one local cop (who is also his girlfriend’s ex) to save the day.

Well now, this is a one of a kind. For the first twenty minutes of this, I found my hand unconsciously creeping towards the off button. My first impressions were that the acting was terrible, the script worse, and the clowns were almost Troll 2 standard. But as it went on, I found myself getting more drawn in, and by the big climax I was almost really enjoying it. The Chiodo Brothers – Stephen (writer/producer/director), Charles (writer/producer) and Edward (just producer) – have siezed on one of the most common self-diagnosed phobias around and validated it completely, while still making something that all but the biggest scaredy cats can have a laugh with.

A big part of my enjoyment is down to the presence of the great John Vernon* as Officer Mooney, the grumpy middle-aged cop who hates kids, especially the out-of-town college kids, and thinks that the constant reports of these Killer Klowns are all being orchestrated as a massive prank at his expense. His untimely demise, while awesome, I think is a flaw in the script. Mooney should have lived, just so that he could keep showing up and bitching about the kids ruining his night. As it is, we’re left with Grant Cramer as Mike and former Baywatch star John Allen Nelson as Dave. Now these two aren’t bad per se, but Vernon is better.

If he had been the hero, this would be the greatest film ever.

What can I say about the clowns? Sorry, the Klowns. With a B-movie like this, it is make or break on the quality of the monsters. These Klowns are about a step and a half’s worth of improvement on Troll 2 (for example), but they also have something that film and so many others lacked: personality. These monsters are funny, in a good way. On that score, chalk this up as a win for The Chiodos. The pizza delivery gag and the extended shadow puppet sequence were highlights for me, comedy wise. I love how so many people around town can see these things and not catch on that something isn’t right. And then of course there is Klownzilla. Frankly the less said about this, aside from “it’s awesome”, the better. I don’t want to ruin it for you.

Apparently, if you show up at someone's front door with a pizza, they are required by law to let you in. I wonder how many serial killers have picked up on this little nugget?

As I mentioned earlier, prior obligations kept me from being drunk while watching this flick, but I imagine getting blasted and watching this with a bunch of like-minded degenerates is probably the way to go. Be warned though: for an 80’s horror B-movie, the boobs and blood count is disappointingly low. By the way, Wikipedia reckons The Chiodos are working on a sequel to be released in 2013, IN 3D!

*Sherman Krader from Ernest Goes To Camp (for my sister), The Mayor in Dirty Harry (for the rest of you) and father of actress Kate Vernon, also known as Ellen Tigh. I’ve got the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack album playing while I type this. How’s that for synchronicity?

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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