Growing up in the 80’s, I was exposed to my share of fun but extremely cheesy horror films. Classics that easily come to mind like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Ghoulies, Night of the Creeps, Creepers, and more. While I never had the chance to watch Killer Klowns from Outer Space when it came along in the late 80’s, I’m glad to have finally seen it in its remastered, high-definition form in this latest release from Arrow Video. Fans and newcomers alike are sure to enjoy watching these crazy clowns and the rarely scary, but severely twisted antics they get into.
As soon as you start watching, it’s apparent that the Chiodo Brothers who created and directed this film are fans of classic B-horror movies from the 1950s and 1960s as the plot is laced with classic horror tropes and such. We follow a young couple named Mike Tobacco and Debbie Stone (Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder, and don’t ask about those character names) who just happen to come across a circus tent in the middle of the woods that’s actually an alien spaceship filled with (you guessed it) killer clowns that will stop at nothing to turn people into cotton candy sacks and drink their blood through crazy straws.
Of course no one believes them, especially the police consisting of Officer Mooney (the late, great John Vernon) who will sooner throw them in jail and commit police brutality than listen to them, and the young sheriff Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson) that’s at least willing to look into the matter. It’s not long before Dave, Mike, and Debbie along with the local ice-cream truck driving Terenzi Brothers (Michael Siegel and Peter Licassi) are dodging cotton candy ray guns and flesh-eating pies as they do what they can to save their town and possibly the world.
If any of the plot sounds absurd, that’s because it is and then some. But this is one of those movies that could’ve only sprung from the 80’s and carries a charm that begs viewers to just roll with its zaniness. Those who do will be treated to some weird and silly antics that come off more like a black comedy than a horror film. While this remaster looks great for the most part, I couldn’t help but notice a layer of grain over most of the presentation. It’s pretty bad during the night / dark scenes, but never ruins the experience. The audio side of things is pretty good as the dialogue and fun 80’s rock mixed with circus music comes in clean and clear in Dolby HD.
The best thing about this release is how Arrow Video went out of their way for the ton of special features on this Blu-ray. There’s audio commentary by the Chiodo Brothers as they go into just about everything that went into making their dream film come true. From creative decisions, some history behind the story, stretching their budget, and more. There’s also some brand new interviews with the brothers, stars Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder, as well as with two members of The Dickies that did the theme song for the film that are awesome treats to watch.
There’s a few older extras from the DVD release that still hold up well such as ”The Making of Killer Klowns” that goes behind the scenes of the making of the film, “Komposing Klowns” were composer John Massari talks on creating the circus-like music in the movie, “Visual Effects” that has Gene Warren Jr. discussing how he and the crew came up with the practical effects, “Kreating Klowns” features Charles Chiodo and special effects creator Dwight Roberts going over some of the challenges they had to address while making the clowns come to life, “Chiodo Brothers’ Earliest Films” is a fun extra that shows off some of the brothers early projects from their childhood. There’s also some deleted scenes with optional commentary from the brothers, and “Killer Bloopers” that showcase some flubs and goofs that made me chuckle.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a fun ride for those who enjoy cheesy, sci-fi B-movies with that special 80’s twist. Despite the layer of grain laced over most of the movie, it’s never looked or sounded better than it does here. Add in a ton of special features both new and old that are a joy to watch, and you got a krazy klown film for your kollection. Just watch out for that popcorn gun – it has some bite to it.