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“Killer klowns from outer space? Holy shit. Klowns, kotton kandy, flying popcorn? Sure, make fools of the police department.” — Officer Mooney, aka Officer Dean Wormer, giving us a reason to drink by saying the name of the film

The Macabre Brothers share an affinity for bargain-bin horror films. It’s actually more like an addiction — hardly a month goes by without one of us wasting $5 on some dubious DVD title. Such impulse buys may not deserve a full review, but like porn, they’re worth a quick and shameful glance. In Basement Ramblings, we answer your most meaningful question: Is this month’s piece of crap worth the price of a Big Mac?

Where I found it
Buried under tripe like the third Death Race remake and Dirty Dancing in the $5 bin at Walmart.

Why it caught my eye
Killer klowns and outer space are both in the title, so duh. But this film was also directed by the Chiodo Brothers, who just so happen to be the namesake for one of my favorite metalcore bands growing up, The Chiodos Bros. (now just Chiodos). Rumor has it the band name is homage to the, uh, geniuses behind this little pie slice of ’80s camp.

The premise
Killer klowns from outer space, so duh again. But really, it was hard to say no when I saw this film for cheap in the Walmart bin. I’ve heard a thing or two in the past about this unsung masterpiece of kampy, korny cheese, and I couldn’t resist the premise. It’s also slowly becoming something of a cult classic, like Army of Darkness (only not as batshit) and the latter Freddy Kreuger flicks (only without the weight of a horror icon), and it kind of felt like mandatory viewing. How does a ridiculous PG-13 horror film go from obscurity to camp canon? When it starts showing up in Walmart bins.

Anyway, back to the plot. We start with a bunch of horny teenagers from the local college making in truck beds and trailers at “The Point,” a fun little pastime most college students drop when, you know, they graduate high school and move out of their parents’ homes. Snuggled up on a deflated yellow raft with a bottle of champagne are Deb and Mike. Their snuggle sesh is cut short when Mike’s buddies, the clowny Terenzi brothers, roll up in a rented ice cream mobile with — yup — a clown head on top. They’re selling “Lick-a-Stick” ice cream with pitches like, “”We’ll give you the stick, you give it a lick, and it’ll cool you all the way down!” That’s either really funny or really creepy, especially since the ice cream truck is one blacked-out window away from a pedophile van.

The Terenzi Bros. get chased away from the point just in time for a big, flaming ball to streak across the sky. Cut to Old Man Jenkins (he’s never named) on his porch with a floppy coon hound, who sees the streaking ball and goes gaga. It just so happens he was reading about Haley’s Comet just then, and by golly, you’d better believe he and Pooh Bear the Coon Hound will get rich after he digs it up with a shovel and hauls it home in a pail. How does Old Man Jenkins go from comet chaser to kotton kandy kakoon? When he discovers Haley’s Comet is actually a big-top tent from space.

The DVD welcome screen. Kuddly klowns, bitch.

The DVD welcome screen. Kuddly klowns, bitch.

Within 15 minutes, we get our first glimpse of the titular klowns. They’re big and bulbous, with baggy neon klown suits and red noses over nasty teeth. (Apparently there are no space dentists at this space circus.) First to go is Pooh Bear the Coon Hound, followed by Old Man Jenkins when a klown hits him with a kotton kandy-powered death ray. In a flash of wispy red tendrils, Old Man Jenkins is kakooned and soon discovered deep inside the big-top spaceship by Mike and Deb, who for some reason also want to check out the comet-turned-circus in the middle of the woods.

“I don’t know about you, but this looks like a cotton candy factory to me,” Mike says when he and Deb enter the bowels of the big-top from space, where pink kotton kandy blobs in the shape of lucky rabbit’s feet hang suspended from neon-striped pipes and tubes. It may or may not be a nod to the derelict ship on LV-426 from Alien, only in that film, Ridley Scott took his sweet time ratcheting up the suspense before shit hit the fan. Here, Mike and Deb waltz right through the big-top doors before running from a trio of klowns. How does a scene go from rip-off to homage? When you replace xenomorphs with kotton kandy.

Back in town, cranky old Officer Mooney (played by John Vernon of Animal House fame) and considerate young Officer Dave are busy arresting college students for being hooligans. That’s when Mike and Deb show up and start spouting hysterical nonsense about killer klowns from outer space (drink) with devious motives. Officer Mooney thinks it’s a joke, while Officer Dave is willing to check it out, but only because sexy Deb is his ex-girlfriend. Drama!

The love triangle of Deb, Mike and Officer Dave drive out to the big-top from space, only to find it’s no longer where it landed. Mike ends up in handcuffs and Deb gets a ride back home — just in time for the klowns to invade their sleepy little town. They arrive with balloon dogs, boxing gloves, puppet shows, klown kars, popcorn guns and more kotton kandy, all in the name of…something.

So why are they here on Earth? It’s a question several people ask and several people kinda-sorta answer, but that’s hardly the point. How do you know when a gang of killer klowns from outer space just wants to drink you blood from krazy straws? When they show up in a film called Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Alien homage in the form of kotton kandy kakoons.

Alien homage in the form of kotton kandy kakoons.

What works
The klowns and just about everything they do. If you’re expecting something creepy — say, a tormented clown in the vein of American Horror Story: Freakshow — you’ll be disappointed. On the spectrum of clowns, with American Horror Story and It on one end and Bozo the Clown on the other, the killer klowns are on the Bozo side, only with worse teeth. Instead of one-liners, they talk like Jawas filtered through blenders of various sizes — a kind of guttural purring that’s more funky than freaky. Wait until you hear their balloon dog bark.

But man, what they lack in jokes and puns they make up for with physical humor. Killer Klowns riffs heavily off stuff like The Three Stooges and Charlie Chaplin, with plenty of props and sight gags. Of the 11 or so “deaths” — more like kakoonings — two stand out as wonderfully inventive and unexpectedly well-paced.

The first comes soon after the klowns invade the town and start amusing hapless residents into oblivion. In a random park, a random college kid starts watching a random puppet show. He laughs once, laughs twice, and then laughs hardest when one puppet destroys the other with a death ray. He’s still laughing when the klown bursts out of the puppet booth and blasts him with a kotton kandy ray.

The second comes at Officer Wormer’s expense and borders on legitimately creepy. As calls about abductions and killer balloons inundate the police department, a klown drops by to fuck with the cranky old cop. He knocks him unconscious with an enormous paper horn, like the kind you get at a birthday party, and then proceeds to kakoon the two teens in the holding cell with kotton kandy. When Officer Dave arrives, he finds giant, red footprints scattered across the walls. Neat, that. He returns to the main office and sees Officer Wormer, cheeks painted with blood spots, sitting on the klowns lap like a hand puppet. The sound FX here are fantastic, with all sorts of gooey glops and plops as the klown make his human hand-puppet say, “Don’t worry, Dave. All we wanna do is kill you.” So THAT’S why they’re here.

Oh, and then there’s the amusement park security guard. When Officer Dave and Mike finally figure out where the big-top from space landed a second time — “Where would I be if I were a klown?” “The amusement park!” — they speed off to the park for a final showdown. The klowns arrived earlier in a klown kar and (get this) pied the security guard to death, as in they threw corrosive pies at the guard until he dissolved into a pile of whipped cream and fleshy goop. The cherry on top: baby klown puts a cherry on top.

Mmmm delicious.

Mmmm delicious.

What sucks
The humans. I’m not asking for Oscar-worthy plotting and performances, but the non-klown characters in this film nearly deserve to be kakooned in kopious amounts of kotton kandy. Officer Dave is a pretty-boy plot device that barely fills the standard good-cop role. Mike is there to spout kraziness until people believe him, and Deb disappears for most of the film unless she’s either: A) getting PG-13 naked for a never-ending shower, or B) getting trapped in a balloon to be the damsel in distress for a boring-ass love triangle.

Even the Terenzi Bros., who are honestly pretty funny when introduced spouting innuendo from an ice cream truck, are hit or miss. They get laid (maybe?) by two lady killer klowns in a ball pit while everyone else is fighting for dear life, but the inter-galactic sex scene itself is missing. All we see are fat, red lipstick marks on their necks when they show up to save the day.

Officer Wormer is pretty entertaining as a character and a device, but I think most of that is due to his history as Dean Wormer. John Vernon is the end all, be all of pissed-off old guys, and I couldn’t stop giggling when he opened his mouth. He was also surprisingly animated as the human hand-puppet. I didn’t expect that, and it nearly made up for the other vacuous folks doomed to kotton kandy kakoons.

Verdict
Killer Klowns from Outer Space is everything is promises and not an ounce more, with just enough campy energy and kotton kandy to live up to the title. How does a PG-13 horror film make up for a kid-friendly rating? By delivering.

Ramblings

Chiodo Bros….pretty sure this is the film the band was named after

 DVD extras
– find some easter eggs by waiting 5 mins on the main screen
— video of klown auditions
— “HOLY smoke” outtakes
— or just choose the popcorn kernels on extras menu
Heh I dig the opening credit song, like I could maybe download it as a cell ring tone
– like 80s keytar rock mixed with synths and shit
– and as all good 80s flicks it
Main police officer is Dean Wormer from Animal House, aka perpetual get-of-my-lawn face
—– his real name is mooney…but fuck it I don’t care
Ooh classy man, pouring wine for his lady before they make out in his car
“We’ll give you the stick, you give it a lick, and it’ll cool you all the way down!”
– the ice cream pitch for “lick a stick” sold by the guy
– heh the tubby girls aren’t dumb enough to take ice cream in exchange for
– driven by the derpy Terenzi brothers
PLOT POINT 1
– old man Jenkins see what he thinks is Haleys Comet land down by his old farm, complete with floppy jawed coon hound
– also the classy wine guy, who’s egged into it by his girlyfriend
“We’ll I’ll be greased and fried. What in blue blazes is the circus doing up in these parts? I love the circus”
– famous last words from old man jenkins
Wonder if the dog ends up getting clownified…
First they take the dogs, then they take the world!
“Where’s my dog? Where’s my pooh bear!”
– and then gets electrocuted
Niiiiice….first sight of a clown is some massive, rubbery, slack jawed yokel thing death-raying a human slack jawed yokel
MINOR PLOT POINT 1
 – cranky officer Wormer just don’t get along with the young buck officer, who doesn’t think those crazy make-out kids
“HOLY shit, that’s no shooting star. It looks like a, a…” “Circus tent.”
– Deb and boyfriend something or other (its Mike) when they first discover the klown tent
Sooooo how did Mike and Deb the make-out kids find the circus tent opening, when our poor Haleys Comet hillbilly couldn’t find no ticket window??
 
How much you wanna bet Mike dies after that cute circus bizarre thing?
Also like how he knows the right way to use the elevatora….in a circus tent spaceship…with a glowing Sci first core, or as Mike thinks ” nuclear power plant? Missile silo? Military base?”
Man these neon special effects are FANTASTIC
– reminds me of Zoom sets, like that old school PBS show
Looks like the Killer Klown kakoon their victims in kotton kandy. Kewl.
******
“I don’t know about you. But this looks like a cotton candy factory to me.” – Mike when they enter the killer space clown equivalent of the derelict spacecraft in Alien
– and it comes after only 17 mins! Nice, cheese is always better with a lil homage
*****
 
Deb!Mike! Run from the clown with the popcorn gun!
Popcorn? Why popcorn? Because they’re clowns, that’s why!
– only movie I’ve ever seen that answers the audience’s question before they even ask it
The clown makes a balloon dog to sniff out Deb and Mike….that yowls like baby Chewbacca in a synth blender
Actually that’s a good description of the Klown speech: furry animals yowling through synth blenders of various sizes
– or Jawas
“Killer klowns from outer space. Holy shit. Klowns, kotton kandy, flying popcorn, sure, make fools of the police department.”
– officer Wormer, who thinks this is another crop dust scam run by Mike and his buddies
– fuck the youth!
PLOT POINT 2
Mike and Deb convince Dave, the young and reasonable cop, to check out the thing
— only DAVE AND DEBBIE USED TO GET IT ON
These klowns are pretty cheesy…but they meant to make em look that way I guess
We’ll that’s kinda fun…they’re not just killer klowns, but real live funny klowns
– some slapstick in the convenience store
But they ain’t no pussy ass klowns — they even take out the biker gang
If there’s one thing this film does well, it’s deliver on its promise of killer klowns from outer er space doing klown things…we see them a lot, and so does everyone else
– as far as the humans go…yeah I could care less about Mike and Debbie and Dave and maybe even officer wormer
– but also klowns…tons of great physical humor used for horror, like the red footprints in the jail cell and shadow puppets and the ridiculous puppet show 
Officer Mike finds a care with kotton kandy and can’t help.but believe the guy who’s boning his ex-lady
Officer Wormer just gets better and better: takes a shot of Jack from a Styrofoam cup
” Oh, they took your wife away in a balloon? You don’t need the police, you need a psychiatrist.” – officer oblivious wormer
Ain’t nothing good gonna happen when sexy (and surprisingly tan) Debbie gets naked for a shower….ONLY TO SHOW POPCORN KERNELS AT HER FEET
– sadly it’s PG13 and kernels are all we’re gonna get. Sigh.
The innuendo mobile ice cream truck reappears…
– just in time for Mike to find them and tap.them for…help for some reason
– Mike’s gotta work on his presentation, he just consistently sounds krazy when talking about killer klowns
Oh good, officer Dave is back to the police station
Follows some big ol klown footprints  (heh pretty funny) into the holding cell area
***
CREEPIEST MOMENT
***
Officer Wormer the hand puppet: ” Don’t worry dave, all we wanna do is kill you.”
And FINALLY someone decides to shoot one of the fuckers…Officer dave tags him right in the red nose…which apparently makes them implode in swirling, twirling green
Waddaya know, the klowns hold a killer klown parade with streamers and kotton kandy kakoon kollection kontraptions
– dafuq
– Mike and the klown ice cream Bros ketch the kraziness I’m person
OH DAMN DEBS
– Debbie gets accosted in her bathroom by klown heads coming from the toilet, hamper, more
For some reason Debbie gets ballooned…not kakooned, but ballooned
Ah so that’s why the klowns picked this sleepy lil town. There’s a year round carnival, or amusement park, but really looks more like a
We’ll duh there’s gotta be a klown Kar scene
” what are you gonna do with those pies, boys?” – asks the security guard at the amusement park
– only to get melted by the pies, then the little klown puts a cherry on top
– ADORABLE
FINAL SHOWDOWN
– held in the towns amusement park
– with lots of cheesy dinosaur sets and shit
“Maybe they’re just cruising through the galaxy and stopped here for a bite to eat.” – ice cream truck guy, with one of the most plausible explanations
Baaahahahah we even get sexy klowns when the ice cream Bros fall in the ball pit
Nice touch, the kotton kandy space kontainer gets real full for the final.showdown
So that’s what they do…drink the blood straight from the kakoons through krazy straws
It never ends: fireman’s poles to a sarlaac pit monster, balloons blocking hallways, walls like krazy straws, doors behind doors behind doors behind doors
Haha and the balloon dog returns
We’ll that’s odd, as soon as it comes time to take out the main characters they have neon hued bats and stuff, not kandy Raya
The saving grace: a GMC ice cream truck with a klown head on top
Of course there’s a Klown Boss
– he descends frim.the ceiling via puppet strings, ha ha, and then continues to destroy his opponent: the GMC with klown head
Vengeance good enough that the truck EXPLODES
“Look! There’s a way out now” – officer dave, love it
Nice officer dave nails.the boss klown in the nose
– and like any good boss battle.that destroys the whole spaceship
– AAAAAND of course like any good boss battle the hero survives
Oh yeah, Deb and Mike and Dave are drfinitely.having a threescore
– all three get nailed with bukake pies
KOTTON KANDY KRUSADE
– like little death skits, kinda fun to see what’s next, I’m bummed for when the plot kicks in
– also like that they leave their make everyone, like streamers and popcorn and whatever
DEATH 1
– old man Jenkins via death ray
DEATH 2
– dorky 80s preppy kid via klown puppet show
DEATH 3
– college kids at the convenience store
DEATH 4
– porn style pizza delivery to sexy blonde, by not one, not three, but four gang-banging klowns
DEATH 5
– klown valentine delivery to…old lady for some reason
DEATH 6
– biker gang mass death via trike riding baby klown
– WHEN HE PUNCHES THE BULLY’S head off
DEATH 7
– kreepiest of the bunch: the green haired klown nearly lures a young girl from McDonald’s into a human whack a mole game…until.mom.reminders her to eat her whole meal
DEATH 8
– dude in his brown n tan Malibu run off the road by a clown in a ghost car
DEATH 9
– Big Top Burger burger punk via something hidden in the restaurants dumpster
DEATH 10
– old people and punk ass college kids at a bus stop via shadow puppet show
– as in a fucking shadow puppet Trex that eats everyone on the sidewalk while Mike and Dave are watching
DEATH 11
– Officer WORMER smoking a cigar via klown with yellow flowers that spray water
– but it takes a while…first the cop.has to put him in a holding cell with kids
—- well and maybe ends up killing him with a party blower thingy
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