Cult classic horror-comedy Killer Klowns from Outer Space makes its UK debut on blu-ray. Ryan Pollard finds out if this 1980s b-movie is killer entertainment or circus calamity.
The thing is, horror-comedies are tricky to pull off because you have to find a balance between both horror and comedy without, in the most successful cases, compromisingly on either. The classic example is Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, which is so terrifying that it ended up on the video-nasties list and the Directors of Public Prosecutions, accused it of being obscene, depraving and corrupting. Yet, it’s still damn funny! Other examples are Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods, both versions of Fright Night and the king of the genre An American Werewolf in London. In the case of Killer Klowns, it isn’t scary nor funny enough to be considered amongst the elite comedy-horror films.
How much enjoyment you’ll gain from Killer Klowns will largely depend on your fondness for B-movies. Now I’m quite a fan of the ‘so bad it’s good’ brigade, but this is certainly a film you’ll have to watch more than once to fully appreciate. Maybe that’s what the Chido Brothers’ intended to do, and that’s probably what has happened to the film over time, having gained a cult following. Still, inspired premise aside, the shoestring budget and lack of any real acting talent has an adverse effect on the end result. The only actor that gets the most out of it is John Vernon as the violent and grumpy police officer as he gets the best lines in the film, as well as nearly all of the laughs.
While it’s still a relatively entertaining way to spend ninety minutes or so, I’d really like to see what the Brothers could do if they had the effects and the decent budget of today. Who knows, perhaps the long-rumoured sequel will eventually see the light of day? That’s a worry…
Written by Ryan Pollard
Directed by: Stephen Chiodo
Written by: Charles Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo
Starring: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, Royal Dano, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi, John Vernon
Released: 1988 / Genre: Horror-Comedy / Country: USA / IMDB