[Movie Review] Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) ★★★★☆

Clowns delivering pizza in Killer Klowns from Outer Space 1988

Killer Klowns from Outer Space comes up with some killer pranks. 

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a science fiction horror comedy with some pretty silly but super fun dark humor. It’s campy, it’s a bit cheesy, it’s over the top but made with such fun that jumps off the screen just like the amazingly silly space clowns. Every trope about clowns is being used in an excellent way turning this movie into a very absurd but unusual watch that brings great entertainment and which also stays on the mild horror side. If you are in for some silly but fun entertainment, you do not suffer from coulrophobia or if you love clowns, then this is one to watch.

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When Mike and Debbie are at The Top of the World, the town’s make-out spot, they see a meteorite cash in the woods. When they decide to explore they don’t find a meteor or a big hole in the ground, but a circus tent that on the inside is a space ship full of killer clowns with popcorn guns and cotton candy cocoons to preserve dead people. When they alert the police, officer Dave Debbie’s ex boyfriend is willing to believe them but old Curtis Mooney absolutely is not. Meanwhile the killer clowns are exploring the town, killing and collecting people with their clown’s pranks.

Why you should watch it

If you are in the mood for something absurdly silly fun and something completely different, then Killer Klowns from Outer Space is your film. This is certainly something else. The clowns who don’t speak English but their own mumbling language are although killers, also hilariously funny. They make a mess of a drugstore with slapstick humor, knocking selves down, while cotton candy-ing everyone. They create a balloon dog who really comes to life to scent someone out. They make shadow figures that come to life. They even do the ‘how many clowns fit into a small car trick’ and much more. They are a bit creepy due to their creepy faces and smiles, but to be honest, so are normal clowns. Their kills and weapons are creative and the popcorn creatures that grow into biting heads on long necks without a body is very funny. 

In the midst of this chaos are Mike, Debbie and Dave who have to save the day and they even get help from the Terenzi brothers who own an ice cream truck with the head of a clown on it. It’s all in the details and they make also good use of it too. They all do a great job fitting into this silly fun and act as the bubbly heroes who with big gestures help each other. 

The havoc the clowns make in the town is great fun, but the space ship itself with an exterior of a circus tent and the interior of a fun house is the most brilliant part. It’s colorful and weird and also childishly funny. 

The acting and the events are a delightful eighties chaos full of that over the top energy and making a fuss out of everything whilst screaming about nothing and getting the job done all at once. It’s a style that fits this film just perfectly. While almost half of the town gets killed, you don’t see anyone getting killed. Just the faces in the cotton candy cocoons. There’s no blood or violence and the only more brutal scene is with Curt Mooney, but because he’s such an awful guy, he just got what was coming to him. 

Due to a fast pace, some very likable characters and a big unlikable character, a solid structure and a lot of focus on the action, this film is pure entertainment. It also does remind of The Blob (1958) where the youth has to fight off a big space blob that devours everyone. It has that same enthousiast and dynamic energy that is contagious and makes it a fun watch. 

My favorite part

The inside of the space ship when Debbie, Dave and Mike are running from the clowns is great fun. We get to see more of the great set designs and even a huge clown as the ‘boss’ who has to be defeated, brings in more fun. The clowns and the space ship are very well designed. Delightfully childish but that works wonderfully to create that silly fun. 


Rating: ★★★★☆

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Popcorn factor: ★★★★★

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★

Cast and crew

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is directed and written by Stephen Chiodo and cowritten by Charles Chiodo. It stars Grant Cramer (Mike Tobacco) Suzanne Snyder (Debbie Stone), John Allen Nelson (Dave Hansen), John Vernon (Curtis Mooney), Michael S. Siegel (Rich Terenzi) and Peter Licassi (Paul Terenzi).

Duration: 88 minutes. Music: John Massari. Cinematography: Alfred Taylor. Edited by: Christopher Roth. Produced by: Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo. Production companies: Sarlui/Diamant, Chiodo Bother Productions. Distributed by: Trans World Entertainment.

Check the trailer below

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