If ever there was a film where the title tells you everything you need to know while also telling you it’s a film you kind of need to see out of sheer curiosity, it’s Killer Klowns From Outer Space. yeah, yeah, I know a lot of you hate clowns in real life and nope, this film probably won’t be the one to endear you to the red nose and greasepaint cause. That said, if you love great practical effects, practical jokes, bits of stop motion creativity, 80’s gore FX and one damn catchy main theme song, this one has all those and more.
Arrow Video has once again pulled out all the stops with this restoration, adding a ton of special features that add to the big top thrills and chills. If you’ve never seen this one before, it’s worth checking out because it’s great for a few laughs and still works as one of those films that didn’t need a sequel (although there have been a few rumblings about one over the years).
With a title like this, you kind of know the film is going to be goofy as all get out. But the silliness works extremely well because those Klowns are deadly serious when it comes to their mission to raise all sorts of hell in the small town they land their circus tent shaped spaceship near. The couple who see the spaceship land, Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) and Debbie Stone (Suzanne Snyder) aren’t fooled. They sneak into the tent and discover a cocooned victim (Royal Dano) before almost getting themselves caught by a few of the evil Klowns. Of course, the local police are somewhat skeptical thanks to the dour (to say the least) Deputy Curtis Mooney (John Vernon) and Debbie’s ex-boyfriend Deputy Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson).
Meanwhile, as the Klowns start getting around the small town during the night, the townspeople think there’s a circus about to start. Little do they know they’re not only that evening’s entertainment, they’re all also on the menu. As the body count rises and the deaths get increasingly weird, it’s up to Mike, Debbie and a few friends to try and put an end to all that Klowning before the population drops to zero. The cult status this flick has is well deserved thanks to the mixing of humor and mild gore effects that end up more funny than shocking. There’s death by shadow puppet T-Rex (bloodless), a pie fight, some guy outside a bar gets his block knocked off (clearly a fake head), one character gets turned into a hand puppet (complete with an icky sound effect when the puppeteer clown removes his hand), and so forth and so on.
While I won’t spoil the ending (hey, the planet is still spinning, so I’ll bet an old penny you’ve figured it out already), let’s just say you’re getting your money’s worth if you ever need an emergency plan to deal with extraterrestrial circus freaks who come to earth with too many ways to kill some time (and people). As for special features and such, here you go:
Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Newly remastered stereo 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio options
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Archive audio commentary with the Chiodo Brothers
Let the Show Begin! Anatomy of a Killer Theme Song – an all-new interview with the original members of the American punk band, The Dickies
The Chiodos Walk Among Us: Adventures in Super 8 Filmmaking – all-new documentary highlighting the making of the Chiodo Brothers childhood films, from the giant monster epics made in their basement to their experiments in college
New HD transfers of the complete collection of the Chiodo Brothers 8mm and Super 8 films, including Land of Terror, Free Inside, Beast from the Egg, and more!
Tales of Tobacco – an interview with star Grant Cramer
Debbie’s Big Night – an interview with star Suzanne Snyder
Bringing Life to These Things – a tour of Chiodo Bros. Productions
The Making of Killer Klowns – archive production featurette
Visual Effects with Gene Warren Jr. – archive interview with co-writer/producer Charles Chiodo and visual effects supervisor Gene Warren Jr.
Kreating Klowns – archive interview with Charles Chiodo and creature fabricator Dwight Roberts
Komposing Klowns – archive interview with composer John Massari
Deleted Scenes with filmmaker’s audio commentary
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
I kind of wish The Dickies interview had all of that music video on the disc and those early Chiodo Brothers films could have used some musical accompaniment. But those are minor complaints at best. Get this, invite a few friends over and cook up a batch of popcorn. You may want to avoid the cotton candy if it’s from that creepy-looking 8-foot guy on the corner with the funny clothes, too much makeup and really large shoes. Hmm… perhaps that sequel will get made after all?
Score: A (95%)
(Review disc provided by the publisher)