Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Horror, Day 14: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Like all red-blooded Americans, I hate clowns. When I was 4 or 5, a clown wearing all yellow chased me at the circus, and that was the end of that. I think that's why clown movies are so terrifying to each and every human being alive -- yes, even those who are clowns. As such, Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988, Stephen Chiodo) always makes it into my horror movie rotation. I've written about it here previously, so I've adapted my old post to be slightly longer and more awesome...but only slightly.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is the be-all, end-all of cheesy clown movies. The title says it all: murderous alien clowns visit earth to wrap humans in cotton candy shells and drink us. That's basically every child's nightmare, so imagine that with more neon colors and you'll have a rough idea of the movie. But in true 80's fashion, Killer Klowns opens with its very own theme song performed by popular punk band the Dickies. Sing it with me now!

Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Some make us laugh, some make us cry
These clowns, honey, gonna make you die...

But the real beauty of Killer Klowns is just how much it revels in its b-movie status. The costumes are pathetic, the acting is atrocious, and the concept is absurd. The trick is that they all know it, so they have fun with it. After all, we are all secretly scared that an ugly clown from outer space will shoot us with a popcorn ray gun, so the laughter helps alleviate our fears, right?

What always strikes me as ironic is that in spite of its campy, candy-coated exterior, the actual clowns are really terrifying. Just looking at them up there might give me nightmares. They're somehow incredibly close to how regular clowns look, but they're distorted ever-so-slightly to create a feeling of unease. Maybe I'm not scared of them trying to liquefy my brain or anything, but I definitely wouldn't be okay with them trying to make me laugh or give me a balloon.

In its own way, Killer Klowns is actually a moderately scary horror film -- not for the reasons most movies intend, but it's an accomplishment nonetheless. Let that be a lesson to you, children: don't trust clowns, especially if they spell clown with a K.

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