Film: Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Stop it! That's our home!
"Killer clowns? From outer space? Holy shit."Killer Klowns from Outer Space
is a 1988 B-Movie
. A spaceship shaped like a giant circus tent lands on the outskirts of a small town. The occupants are aliens that look like Monster Clowns
. They begin abducting the townsfolk, sealing them in cotton candy cocoons, and then draining them of their blood
. Only one man, his two delinquent friends, his girlfriend, and her cop ex-boyfriend can stop them.
A very Affectionate Parody
of 50's B Movies
(particularly The Blob (1958)
) with just about every alien invasion and circus trope present.
"KILLER TROPES FROM OUTER SPACE":
- Achilles' Heel: Destroying a Klown's nose kills them instantly.
- Adult Fear: A klown beckons a child.
- Affectionate Parody
- All Webbed Up: Done using cotton candy instead of webbing.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The alien invaders are an entire race of Monster Clowns, and are consequently all pure evil. They're essentially space clown vampires, but rather than killing humans only to feed on them, they're all utterly sadistic and genuinely enjoy murdering people in increasingly gruesome ways and laughing psychotically about it.
- Always Night: The entire film takes place during a single night. Oddly though, it's late enough for young lovers to be out at makeout point - usually implying it being a late hour - however there are still families with children having dinner at the Burger Fool.note
- Ancient Astronauts: One character theorizes that a previous visit from the Klowns, hundreds of years ago, gave humanity the idea for clowns, circus tents, popcorn, etc. It's also suggested that they are why many people fear clowns today.
- Asshole Victim:
- The clowns attack a bunch of asshole bikers who try to ridicule the small one by breaking his 'bike'.
- The rabid officer Mooney who roughs up suspects and refuses to believe any of the reports about the killer klowns is murdered after he tries to intimidate one of the aliens.
- Attack of the Killer Whatever: Klowns. (From outer space.)
- Bad Humor Truck: The Terenzi brothers' latest get-rich-quick scheme. Also devised as a way to get fat girls.
- B-Movie: Understatement
- Boldly Coming: Downplayed example (apparently). The Terenzi brothers get separated from the other main characters briefly ending next to two lady Klowns. Cut away, and they come back shortly after Covered in Kisses.
- Breast Expansion: Two "female" clowns.
- Bullying a Dragon: A group of bikers mock the smallest klown in the bunch. It does not end well for the main instigator.
- Cassandra Truth: Inverted. Sgt. Mooney believes the hundreds of calls coming in of Monster Klowns are part of an elaborate hoax.
- Circus of Fear: What the Klowns' mothership is designed as.
- Clown Car: Near the end the evil klowns relocate to a closed amusement park, arriving in a little clown car. The security guard bemusingly watches about 10 klowns emerge from the vehicle, and the klowns then shower him with acid pies.
- Critical Research Failure: In-Universe example happens when farmer Green sees the Klowns' arrival on earth he deduces that it's the Halley's comet.
- Dead Guy Puppet: One of the Klowns uses a sheriff as a ventriloquist's dummy to talk to one of the teenaged heroes, apparently shoving its hand into his back.
- Decoy Protagonist: Mike. Dave turns out to be the real hero.
- Disney Death: The Klowns' spaceship blows up at the end of the film with Dave and the Terenzi brothers on board. All three of them are alive and well a minute later.
- Earth-Shattering Poster
- Edible Ammunition: The klowns fire popcorn guns and use cream pies for ammo, except the popcorn transforms into mini-monsters and the cream pies are acidic.
- The End... Or Is It?: At the end of the movie, The Klowns' ship explodes...and everyone has a "thank goodness that's over" moment...only to be hit by cream pies.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: See the Page Quote.
- Famous Last Words: "Nobody's going to make a dummy out of me!"
- Fanservice: Averted - there's very little for a monster movie. There's one short Shower Scene, but you never see any of Debbie closer than her elbows or knees.
- God Guise: The Terenzi brothers try to fake out the Klowns with their clown-headed ice cream truck, proclaiming it's "the great and powerful Bobo". It gives pause to the regular Klowns, but rouses a giant one to contest "Bobo's" claim.
- I'm Melting: Near the end the Klowns dispose of a security guard by showering him with throwing pies... which promptly melt him down to a pile of bones.
- Laughably Evil: This is naturally the space Klowns' shtick. They kill people by using normally comedic circus-like magic tricks, but with lethal results—showering people with acid pies, cocooning them in cotton candy, consuming them with shadow puppets, making ventriloquist dummies out their corpses, etc. Evil Laugh optional, but advised.
- Large and In Charge: The boss Klown.
- Living Shadow: One of the Klowns entertains a crowd with Impossible Shadow Puppets before creating a T-Rex one and devouring them with it.
- Living Toys: The Klowns create balloon-animal dogs that actually bark and follow scent-trails.
- Load-Bearing Boss: The giant monster klown.
- Long Neck: Possibly applicable to the Klown-spawn that arise from the popcorn on Debbie's discarded sweater, although we never seen what the necks are attached to so they could be snake-like instead.
- Make-Out Point: Near where the Klowns land. Christopher Titus makes his film debut as one of the unfortunate teens.
- Monster Clown: From Outer Space.
- Mugging the Monster:
- Mooney tries a little Police Brutality on a klown, thinking it's a prankster in a costume. It ends badly, and he gets turned into a puppet.
- A gang of bikers decide to pick on the small Killer Klown by wrecking his bike, despite it not even looking human. He decapitates the offending biker.
- Off with His Head!: The clowns decapitate a biker with a throat punch.
- People Puppets: Mooney after being killed by a Klown.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The smallest klown knocks a grown man's head clean off with a single punch. Justified because the klowns are actually extraterrestrial monsters.
- Police Are Useless: Mooney is absolutely convinced that the Klowns are a hoax perpetrated by the Terenzi brothers and, apparently, that the same hoax is supported by the entire population of the town. He thinks they're all in on it. The police did come at the end, only to see the spaceship explode and the survivors escape.
- Precision F-Strike: "It's gonna take a lot more than a lame prank like this to get Curtis Mooney to throw in his badge, so fuck you!"
- Rabid Cop: Officer Mooney has to be almost physically restrained from beating up a couple of punks brought in for public drunkenness. He later takes a flashlight to the head of one of the klowns, which turns out to be not such a hot idea. (Of course, Mooney is an elderly man, so he comes across as more of a jerk than a genuine bully.)
- Ray Gun: The Klown's main weapon of choice is a ray gun that wraps people in a cotton candy cocoon which turns them into a drinkable gelatinous goo, sort of like a gigantic Capri Sun pouch, if you will.
- Reality Is Out to Lunch: The interior of the Klowns' ship/tent.
- Shout-Out: To Dumbo when the Klowns appear beneath the female leads' window holding a small trampoline and wearing fire helmets.
- Shower Scene: We don't get to see anything, but the love interest apparently spends a good half-hour in there...
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Largely balanced. The film is played surprisingly straight for such a silly premise which the filmmakers wisely didn't take too seriously. The klowns are very often Laughably Evil, but the movie keeps some genuine scares for even non-coulrophobes.
- Stripped to the Bone: Acidic custard pies.
- Sweater Girl and Guy: Mike and Debbie wear sweaters for pretty much the whole movie. This isn't too odd until you notice it's obviously summer, with leaves on the trees and an ice cream truck not being out of the ordinary.
- Terror At Make Out Point: The first place the Killer Klowns go to so they can harvest humans for their blood is the teenage make-out spot. When the heroes later inspect the place, they find only cars full of cotton candy and a pair of glasses.
- Threw My Bike on the Roof: A group of bikers bully a little klown who arrives on a mini-bicyle by destroying it and laughing to each other. Except the klown is a actually a vampiric extra-terrestrial monster, so he decapitates the biker in question. The rest of the gang wisely take off after that.
- Tightrope Walking: Exploring the Klowns' tent/ship, the characters encounter a passage where they must walk a tightrope in a fog; they manage, but wobble enough to show it's not easy. The weirdness of the scene increases when they reach the end of the passage, where the rope is bent into steps which lead to the next doorway.
- To Serve Man: The Klowns capture people to drink their victims' blood.
- Visual Pun: The Klowns' "Big Top" tent/spaceship, when it takes off at the end of the movie, is revealed to actually be shaped like a Big "top"
- What Are You in For?: Asked of a Klown by a fellow prisoner after he allows himself to be locked in the town jail.
- Would Hurt a Child: In an otherwise silly movie, the prospect of this provides a moment of true suspense. Also, one of the cotton candy cocoons near the end is suspiciously smaller than the rest.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz
- You Are Too Late: Mike takes Dave back to see the circus tent which is gone. Oddly enough, the huge hole it left behind does not count as any evidence of anything strange to Dave, who promptly handcuffs Mike for some reason.