Tag Archives: cult

Potted Film Review: Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

Starring: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Synder, John Allen Nelson, Royal Dano, John Nelson

What’s it all about?
An alien craft – which has the outward appearance of a travelling circus – lands in the woods behind a small town in the middle of America. The aliens who emerge are clowns. They carry guns that fire popcorn, and they kill people; or at the very least, they encase their victims in a plethora of pink candy floss.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space is (if you didn’t already know) a parody of all those bargain basement sci-fi B movies from the fifties that you have either seen or heard about, and it probably helps if you know that going in. Those movies were almost uniformly bad, which makes it hard for a parody of that style to be anything other than bad as well… So you see the dilemma?

Some of the practical effects are amusing in an eighties Muppets kind of way, and the writers should certainly be given credit for using the clowns in a variety of creative ways, but I didn’t find myself laughing much during the very brief running time.

Watching it with the kids…
Yeah, sure. Don’t let the title fool you. These may very well be killer clowns, but most of the actual deaths that appear on screen are characters being either vapourised or cocooned courtesy of special effects that would make even a fan of the original sixties Star Trek show balk. Everything is done with its tongue so far in its cheek, that even when there is a little blood on screen, it’s hard to take it seriously. Language is very mild, and despite there being ample opportunity for some skin, there’s none of that either.

Verdict…
I’m really torn on this one. On the one hand the acting is terrible, the script is less than basic, and the effects are a constant reminder that nobody behind the scenes gave a shit about realism; but on the other, it’s a fairly accurate reflection of those old genre tropes. So how can I hate on a movie that does exactly what it sets out to do?

I would wager that this movie is great to watch with a bunch of friends and a bottle of your favourite tipple. Ultimately however, while it has entertaining moments, I am just apathetic towards it, and I can’t give a pass to something that makes me feel that way.

Not Recommended ↓

Monday Movie Mentions #1…

The Warriors (1979)

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The Warriors came out in 1979. It was one of my dad’s personal favourites, but he would never let me see it when I was a child. It was too violent, he said. Not for kids. This, of course, only added to its mystique.

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Would you want to be chased through a park at night by one of The Baseball Furies? No, me neither.

Years later when I was finally able to watch it I realised it was not quite the bloody extravaganza my dad had led me to believe. In fact, by modern standards it’s really very tame. But he was right about one thing – it’s a great movie.

Ostensibly, an action film about gang culture in New York, The Warriors – which rocks a brilliantly evocative seventies soundtrack – is nowhere near as dark as its reputation would have you believe, although it certainly has its brutal moments. The plot structure has a lot in common with video games, and follows the group of misfits as they travel from one borough to the next, battling gangs of varying abilities along the way, in the hope of trying to clear their tainted name.

Swan: You recognize them?
Fox: Orphans. So far down they’re not even on the map. Real low class.
Swan: Numbers?
Fox: Full strength: maybe thirty?
Vermin: Thirty. A lot more than eight.
Ajax: Not if they’re wimps!… and I’m sick of this running crap.

The Warriors is endlessly quotable, infinitely watchable, and has rightfully gained a cult following since its release. Definitely one to check out if you haven’t done so.

Can you dig it?