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) with just about every alien invasion and circus trope present.
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 In the United States (The movie was filmed in Santa Cruz, California), in summer the sun goes down sometime between 9:30pm at latest and 8:30pm at earliest. Considering it's already well into night when the movie starts, that burger joint is doing crazy good family business that late!
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.
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.
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.
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'reallin 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!"
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.
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.
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.
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: As mentioned above, 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.
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.