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Why ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’ Is the Perfect Blend of Horror and Comedy

Horror/comedy is a subgenre in cinema that’s progressively gained steam over the last few decades, which is noteworthy considering how difficult it is to get right. If the movie leans too far to one side, failing to balance the two, it’s liable to become confusing for the audience. It then misses the mark to provide the intended perfect blend of laughs and scares, which is supposed to give you that roller coaster of emotions.

Speaking of roller coasters… it’s been 35 years since Killer Klowns From Outer Space first wrapped us up in cotton candy cocoons, and it’s safe to say it’s one of the grandfathers of horror/comedy. Written, directed, and produced by brothers Stephen, Charles, and Edward Chiodo, this campy, nonsensical sci-fi tale of grotesque alien clowns who come to Earth to harvest humans and drink their blood has gone on to become a cult classic.

 Is it overtly silly and over the top? Absolutely. Will it ever win any awards for outstanding achievement in storytelling? Probably not. Are the fans and creators aware of all this? Of course. So what makes this movie such a well-crafted blend of two genres that are typically polar opposites? Let’s grab our popcorn ray guns and giant balloons and blast off to discuss why.


When the special effects sibling trio, the Chiodo brothers set out to write and direct their first feature film, they knew exactly what type of story they wanted to tell — there would be clowns, and they would be killers. Thus the title Killer Klowns was born…but this wasn’t going to be your typical slasher film… oh, no, this was going to be something much more farcical in nature. So, the brothers changed it to the more explanatory Killer Klowns From Outer Space. If you’ve never seen the film before, just hearing the title should instantly give you a mental image of what it’s about, which was exactly what the brothers wanted. But even THAT can’t prepare you for the sheer absurdity that happens over the course of this movie. 

For starters, it opens with the title song by The Dickies, and when we say it goes 100% with 1980s synthesized outrageousness, we mean it really goes all in. It sets the tone for what you’re about to see, which is impressive, considering frontman Leonard Graves Phillips wrote it before even seeing the film. How he completely captured the feel of a story that’s all over the place in terms of tone is a mystery unto itself. But he nailed it, and it’s one of the cornerstones of what makes this so beloved by fans. And that’s just the opening sequence. 

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The rest of the film is a sinister plot wrapped in a cotton candy stick of jokes and laughs inside a circus tent of shock and awe. When the Klowns descend upon the town of Crescent Cove, they waste no time capturing, killing, and feeding upon the unsuspecting residents, starting with gullible Farmer Green and his poor, faithful dog, Pooh. Curiosity was ultimately his undoing (and sadly, also Pooh’s), as he ignored all the signs that something was very wrong when a large circus tent appeared out of nowhere in the woods, immediately following what appeared to be a bright light crashing to Earth. 

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

No sooner is he turned into cotton candy goo, we then get young lovers Mike and Debbie arriving to also check out what’s going on. They discover this is no tent but a complex spaceship housing all the Klowns’ victims. They at least have enough sense to report their findings to the local police — the overly grumpy Officer Mooney and his partner (and Debbie’s ex-boyfriend) Dave Hanson. The remainder of the movie is this quartet trying to thwart the Klowns as they continue to wreak havoc on the town in various circusy ways.

What exactly are those ways, you ask? There are the shadow puppets the Klowns perform to inexplicably shrink down a crowd of people and trap them in a bag of popcorn, the kernels of popcorn that can morph themselves into a Klown, and the acidic pies used to pelt a victim to death. Let’s also not forget fan favorite Jojo the Klownzilla, the 18-foot-tall leader of the Klowns, who was played by Charles Chiodo in a rubber suit, who utilized his effects background to create the character.

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As preposterous as this all sounds, those who haven’t seen the movie may be reading this wondering where the horror aspect comes in, but it’s there, sprinkled in like ice cream toppings. In keeping with the food theme, if you think of it in terms of a cake, the bottom layer is a chocolatey horror foundation. It’s what holds the movie together because as zany as these antagonists are, what they’re doing truly is malevolent. Encasing humans in giant cocoons for the specific purpose of drinking their blood, and vaporizing them with otherworldly weapons, is truly chilling. In this case, the humor is the icing on top, the sugary sweet goodness that makes you forget that what you’re consuming is bad for you. 

Killer Klowns From Outer - Deputy Dave

There are also supernatural abilities the Klowns possess, like the macabre act of ventriloquism they perform on Mooney’s body after his demise. This one scene, in particular, is arguably the most horror-like of the entire movie, especially considering Mooney’s corpse is used to speak to Officer Hanson (and also the only time the Klowns communicate to the humans), telling him, “Don’t worry, Dave — all we wanna do is kill you.”

Though there have been numerous talks of sequels, nothing has ever come to fruition. But the legacy of Killer Klowns lives on in a multitude of forms —  including mazes at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, an upcoming video game, and merchandise at Spirit Halloween stores and other various horror-based clothing lines.

Above all, Killer Klowns From Outer Space lives on in the hearts of the dedicated fanbase, who love the movie for what it is, as well as what it isn’t. They aren’t looking for an Oscar contender; they just want to laugh, be grossed out, and watch hideous-looking Klowns use a straw to drink the blood of their cotton candy-cocooned human victims.

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The post Why ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’ Is the Perfect Blend of Horror and Comedy appeared first on HorrorGeekLife.

Fuente: https://www.horrorgeeklife.com/2023/05/25/killer-klowns-from-outer-space-horror-comedy/

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