Thursday, September 4, 2008

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (Stephen Chiodo, 1988)

I hate it when people, especially those with pompously barbered facial hair, say, "Leave your brain at the door" when describing films like this. First of all, why would I leave my brain in a doorway? And second, how is that physically possible? I mean, you need your brain to function. Arrgh!! It just steams my buttermilk. People telling other people how they should look at filmed images... it's messed up. Anyway, I brushed aside the advice of the unidentified brain-door leaving reviewer man as kooky-talk and went into the candy-coloured cornucopia that is Killer Klowns from Outer Space with every ounce of my brain, and curvaceous lady friend, was I glad I did. Because this here film is a real head scratcher, one that nearly wiped me out, thinking-wise. You see, in it, planet earth is crawling with regular clowns. Friendly, yet slightly depraved, these so-called "regular clowns" bring joy and a non-despoiling exhilaration to millions of one-tongued earthlings from Addis Ababa to some other nonspecific urban centre with weird-coloured money. However, when homicidal space clowns land their intergalactic big-top in a forest on the outskirts of an Amerikanski small town (a town already steeped in clown-friendly folklore), the imbalance between regular clowning and bloodthirsty clowning causes a rift in the clown-perception continuum. And the townspeople, so accustomed to docile clownishness, remain unaware of the deadly buffoons lurking in their midst.

And it's here where the film will challenge you on an intellectual and confectionery level. By taking our preconceived notions of clowns and circus candy, the Chiodo Brothers have turned something that society has always deemed delightful and somewhat delicious into a nightmarish vomit stain. This unceremonious puncturing of the cheerful clown myth elevates the proceedings into something much deeper than your average clown killing spree movie.

Calling Killer Klowns from Outer Space "imaginative" and "awe-inspiring" would definitely be an understatement. The embryonic popcorn, the toxic cream pies, the unselective shadow puppets, and the balloon animal bloodhounds all added to the film's sense of wonderment and fascination. In other words, these clowns entice and entertain you before they kill you, and I thought that was a nice touch.

The way the cast was able to keep straight faces while uttering seriously-worded dialogue about clown invasions and cocoons made out of cotton candy was quite the achievement. A gravel-voiced John Vernon (Dean Wormer from Animal House), for example, is hilarious as Officer Mooney. Sporting a constant look of aggravated annoyance, Vernon takes a certain amount of pleasure at playing the only town member unconvinced of the clown threat (his large Saskatchewanian balls were literally bursting with skepticism).

The Terenzi Brothers (Michael Siegal and Peter Licassi) brought an extra hint of stupidity to the film's economical running time. Hell, I even liked the ice cream lovin' ladies they tried to score with. In fact, the moment the brothers try to sell ice cream at the neighbourhood make-out spot was the exact moment I started to feel comfortable in the film's demented crawlspace.

Lastly, Suzanne Snyder boasts an understated hotness as Debbie, a woman who finds herself in the middle of what could possibly be the blandest love triangle in sci-fi horror comedy history (Grant Cramer and John Allen Nelson).

The vivacious Suzanne, who you might remember from Weird Science, brings a sharp inquisitiveness to Debbie. For example, she'll investigate a strange flash in the sky, but when said flash turns out to be a radiant circus tent, she exercises caution. Her bathroom antics in the scene with the baby clowns were also a highlight. Utilizing an old-school can of hair spray and a plastic shower curtain, Suzanne goes toe-to-toe with these heinous little creatures like a pro.

video uploaded by iphys111

1 comment:

  1. This movie rocks and so does the theme song by The Dickies!