Killer Klowns from Outer Space Blu-ray delivers great video and mediocre audio in this excellent Blu-ray release
A spaceship that looks like a circus tent lands in a field near a small town, signaling the attack of deviant, red-nosed, balloon-twisting psychos from another world who plan to annihilate mankind by turning people into cotton candy! Luckily, the town's teen citizenry decides to fight back and teach the cosmic bozos a lesson.
For more about Killer Klowns from Outer Space and the Killer Klowns from Outer Space Blu-ray release, see Killer Klowns from Outer Space Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on September 13, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Horror productions tend to attract the same set of elements to shape scares, typically following trends to keep box office prospects alive. 1988's "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" blazes its own trail as a weirdo fright film with a healthy sense of humor, displaying a deep sense of originality as it invents new ways to kill hapless victims. Although budgeted with mere hopes and prayers, "Killer Klowns" is one of the more striking examples of genre invention of the 1980s, with filmmakers The Chiodo Brothers (Charles, Edward, and Stephen, who accepts a credit for direction) working diligently to build this oddball alien clown invasion in full, armed with puppetry, light gore, and a sense of mischief that knowingly weaves through camp and terror, while magically maintaining a PG-13 rating. The title alone encourages immediate dismissal, but for those on the hunt for something miles away from the norm that showcases truly inspired moviemaking minds, "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" is a superb cult distraction.
In the peaceful town of Crescent Cove, a circus tent spaceship has landed. The only witnesses to the visitation is a pair of young lovers, Mike (Grant Cramer, "Hardbodies") and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder, "Weird Science"), who impulsively decide to investigate the glowing transport on their own. Inside, the duo discovers a bizarre collection of circus-inspired machinery, along with bulbs of cotton candy filled with dissolving human remains. Panicking, the couple triggers the attention of the ship's inhabitants, the Killer Klowns, a distorted band of painted ghouls who've come to Earth to collect bodies for feeding purposes. Ready to storm Crescent Cove and collect a wealth of victims, the Klowns head off into the night, armed with weapons and tricks employed to subdue easily amused humans. Hoping to thwart a community calamity, Mike and Debbie attempt to enlist help from Sheriff Dave (John Allen Nelson, "Hunk") and his doubting, bullying partner Curtis (John Vernon, "Animal House") before the Klowns devour the town with their specialized hunting skills.
Creature effects designers (for productions such as "Critters"), the Chiodo Brothers have a distinct vision in mind for "Killer Klowns" that I doubt few others in the industry could even begin to possess. Inspired by B-movies of the 1950s, the filmmakers set out to construct their version of an alien invasion picture, only instead of blobs or insects, the Chiodos have selected clowns as the source of their cinematic nightmare. It's an unusual choice, though smartly played, digging into a childhood fear of the colorful performers with an exaggerated monster design that keeps the antagonists hulking and fanged, making for a credible screen threat despite the semi-goofiness of the concept. The creatures are genuinely unnerving at times, especially when the Chiodos wander away from their sense of humor for a few scare moments, one effective bit featuring a Klown using Curtis as a human ventriloquist dummy, drilling his balloon paw into the dim cop's back to manipulate his mouth. "Killer Klowns" isn't an exhaustive horror effort, but there's enough darkness to the material to silence initial eye-rolls, with the Chiodos bravely treating the Klown invasion seriously at times. Or at least as serious as this movie gets with its popcorn shotguns, balloon animal trackers, and shadow puppet attacks.
"Killer Klowns" is colorful and smartly assembled, with every scene a reminder on how a little creativity can turn a painfully low budget into passable scale, with inventive usage of matte paintings, props, and visual effects helping to capture the moment, despite clear limitations. The performances are on the exaggerated side to carry the camp value of the movie, but it's hardly annoying, with Cramer's visible emphasis working in the picture's favor, selling the electricity of discovery and the strain of survival.
Thankfully, the Chiodos understand what viewers want to see when sitting down with a picture like this, and "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" is filled with attack sequences involving balloon-based traps, acid pies, and deadly puppet shows. The invasion is the highlight of the effort, watching the Klowns work their circus gear to snag human prey, often running into a few befuddling Earthbound experiences along the way. The Chiodos aren't afraid to show off their work, keeping the titular menace front and center for full inspection, backed by an imaginative production design that places special attention on the tent ship interior, which merges surreal circus ambiance with confection-inspired deathtraps, creating an unforgettable home base for the Klowns.
The AVC encoded image (1.84:1 aspect ratio) presentation is actually quite approachable for such a low-priority catalog title. With a satisfactory handle on grain structure, the image is allowed a comfortable cinematic texture, maintaining its low-budget roots with a slightly softer look, though fine detail is noticeable, showing off the Klowns in all their rubbery glory, while human interests are inviting, assisted by natural skintones. Colors look full and commanding, useful for Klown activity, where hues are most appreciated. Bold reds and greens bring out the cartoon nature of the creatures, while the pinkness of the cotton candy cocoons creates a vivid menace. It's a bright palette finding confidence in a dark movie. Black levels are less convincing, with evening encounters losing background particulars and distances. Some print damage is also detected.
The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix carries a distinctly troubling note around the 17:00-18:00 mark, where the sync suddenly slips away during rerecorded dialogue between Mike and Debbie inside the tent ship. While it doesn't look like authentically poor dubbing, it's difficult to tell with a production like this. I'd recommend a careful inspection of this mangled minute. The rest of the track is extremely basic in design and execution, with primary verbal exchanges clean and easily understood, with only a hint of shrillness inherent to the original recording. Soundtrack selections are lively without a full musical reach, while scoring is supportive, creating a solid foundation for heated survival moments. There's no sense of movement or intensity to fully engage the viewer, but the basics are cared for without any pronounced distortion.
Commentary with the Chiodo Brothers is conversational and entertaining, with the guys open to discussing all facets of production, looking to sustain a sense of humor about the whole endeavor. While teeming with BTS information concerning frame details (props were built out of dollar-store purchases) and budgetary limitations, the best parts of the chat emerge from movie mistakes, which the brothers happily point out as the feature unfolds. There are plenty of marvelous stories from the creation of "Killer Klowns," and thankfully the Chiodos are willing to revisit their filmmaking debut with honesty and, at times, genuine pride.
"The Making of 'Killer Klowns'" (21:40, SD) is a terrific summary of the production experience, combining a 2001 interview with the Chiodos with 1987 BTS footage, revealing the passion and occasional tension that fueled the shoot. The filmmakers walk through several stories already covered in the commentary, yet the visual evidence keeps the repetition compelling.
"Komposing 'Klowns'" (13:15, SD) sits down with composer John Massari, who talks about his participation in the project, covering his inspirations and intentions with the film's oddball score.
"Visual Effects with Gene Warren Jr." (14:52, SD) isolates the work of the supervisor, who brought scale to a climactic battle between our human heroes and "Klownzilla," while spreading his considerable expertise around to other areas of the movie.
"Kreating Klowns" (12:50 SD) chats with Charles Chiodo, who discusses the technical challenges of the shoot, from preserving balloon animals in pine-laden forest to the trials of maintaining Klown feet, soon joined by creature fabricator Dwight Roberts to further the BTS education.
"Chiodo Brothers' Earliest Films" (7:10, SD) joins the brothers as they look back on their first special effect-intensive productions.
Deleted Scenes (4:36, SD) cover Debbie's fear of clowns (shared while inside the tent ship) and reveal an extended moment of climatic survival involving the some careful tightrope crossing. They can be viewed with or without commentary from the Chiodo Brothers.
"Killer Bloopers" (2:49, SD) returns to the VHS footage to showcase blunders and accidents, a few looking more horrifying than hilarious.
"Klown Auditions" (3:56, SD) shares the initial stages of costumed movement, observing the Chiodos work with the actors to perfect creature attitude.
"Holy Smoke" (:07, SD) is a short demonstration of television dubbing.
Compellingly paced, cleverly designed, and sufficiently impish, "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" is a rare achievement in cult cinema, displaying actual commitment to craftsmanship and a charmingly swirly tone. The fact that the Chiodos never landed another project to personally guide over the last 24 years is a crime. They clearly have an understanding of genre elements and a sense of fearlessness. After all, there are few helmers that would elect to make a movie about invading circus performers from the unknown, especially one that dares to take the premise with a faint amount of gravity. That the filmmakers have pulled off a tonal and visual impossibility for peanuts is something of a B-movie miracle, resulting in a feature that should be celebrated and studied for the junk-food mini-masterwork it is.
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) will release on Blu-ray director Stephen Chiodo's cult horror comedy Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988), starring Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder and John Allen Nelson. The disc. will be available for purchase online and in stores ...
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