Killer Clowns is one of those films that is effectively part parody and part horror so it tries to grab both of those genres to have at the ready. It handles this pretty well for the most part. I’d say it doesn’t quite bump itself up into the territory of “very good” but I wouldn’t call it a bad film either way. When you mix the idea of a classic clown with aliens then you’ve got yourself a pretty interesting premise right off the bat filled with all kinds of craziness.
The movie starts off with a meteor crash landing on the outskirts of town. It turns out that this was actually a space circus filled with murderous klowns who aim to destroy everyone they can find. Effectively they are like alien invaders who go from planet to planet murdering the inhabitants and using their blood as if they were vampires. This time the town they have landed in isn’t very advanced so the humans are going to have to watch out. The problem is that this is one of those neighborhoods with a lot of pranks and a cop who is pretty corrupt. As a result, the Klowns manage to gain a lot of ground before anyone really even notices they are there.
Mike and Debbie are the main characters here as they are the first to find the Klowns and live to tell the tale. Fortunately for the the Klowns are very slow so outrunning them isn’t a big deal most of the time. They have great offensive power through their guns which can destroy an opponent in one shot as well as their shadow powers which can make any shadow real. They have no way to bump up their speed though so that gives the humans a chance. They also have a weakness which is their nose. If it sustains any kind of damage then the klown will be knocked out of existence really quick. Pretty good trick to have right?
By giving the aliens a weakness this already makes the film more interesting than if they were invincible. That said, they are still incredibly powerful so don’t expect the humans to do well. As the film goes on the Klowns end up taking a ton of people down. Pretty much everyone gets defeated at one point or another whether it be through fake pizza deliveries or not being able to react in time. It definitely gets especially tricky for two prisoners who were locked up and unable to escape when the Klown shows up. By the end of the film there aren’t a whole lot of survivors.
As for the leads, I can’t say any of the characters were all that likable. Mike apparently pranks people quite a lot as it is and he was a bit careless with taking Debbie inside a mysterious tent that could be super dangerous. Probably not the best move there all things considered but at least he has a lot of confidence in his friends the Terenzi brothers to the point where he isn’t worried when they vanish while on the enemy ship.
Then you have Debbie who panics quite a bit here. I’ll give her props for being able to fight off the popcorn monsters though. She actually did a good job of buying time throughout the scene until eventually they overwhelmed her. It was quite a bit lucky to say the least that they decided to spare her after murdering pretty much everyone else though. Technically near the end we see a few more volleyballs so presumably there are other people trapped but in one of those unexpected moments the heroes don’t have time to save them so they blow them up instead.
As for Dave, I guess he would be seen as one of the most reasonable characters in the film. He hasn’t quite gotten over Debbie yet though and takes a lot of below the belt shots at Mike but still was willing to go into the forest to check things out. I have to give him some credit there and he takes out a lot of the Klowns once he figures out their weakness. He certainly did more damage than Mooney, especially considering that the guy was talking so tough the whole time. Of course you know exactly how that plot is going to end but it still makes for a pretty fun sequence. The guy’s just so confident and has the sarcastic attitude down pat. He probably just should have kept his guard up with the Klowns though.
As for the Terenzi brothers, those guys didn’t really add anything to the film. I could have definitely done without them. They are here for the comedy of course but the film already had a good amount of it so I don’t think we needed them. As for the comedy itself, I’d say the film hits a lot more than it misses. Mooney gets a lot of funny scenes, I liked the banter with the characters, and some scenes like the Klowns trying to bump someone off the road are just classic. It’s hard to deny that those moments are definitely on point.
Then you have some jokes that are a little too extended like the shop owner glancing at the Klowns the whole time or the Terenzi brothers and pretty much anything they say. The farmer with his exaggerated reactions was definitely interesting to be sure but I wouldn’t call that scene very funny. Fortunately the movie handled the dog scene as well as possible. I was gearing up for a very shaky beginning to the film but at least we don’t see anything and maybe the Klowns don’t mess with animals. Not likely of course but hey, implied is better than showing.
Despite the lighter tone of the film it does get rather violent at times. The cocoons basically bleed people dry so whenever you open it you can expect the human to not look so good. One human literally gets melted by pie but the film actually managed to make that scene not so violent. One person is used as a live puppet which was definitely intense and so you never know when the film is about to escalate things. It definitely underscores that the Klowns may not look like threats, but they are really doing a number on the town. There’s also some brief fanservice in the film like the obligatory shower and one person who opens the door for delivery but the film mainly manages to avoid this.
Killer Klowns definitely manages to be more of a roller coaster ride next to its peers. Its better than most horror films that I’ve seen but loses to most of the Sci-Fi ones so that helps it try to find that balance. It makes sense that you would take both the pros and cons of the genres. The weak characters and the sudden violence is something more out of horror, but the cool set designs, weapons, and fun dialogue is more Sci-Fi based. I definitely like how the tent doubled as a space ship and in general the film looks pretty good. The guns are unique and clearly a lot of thought went into the Klowns. Since they don’t talk much that just makes them even more mysterious. I believe they only had 1 true scene where they talked when they were messing with Mooney.
Finally it’s worth noting that the soundtrack here is pretty great. So on a technical level the film succeeded with the visuals being on point and the soundtrack really nailing that 80s vibe. It’s got a lot of life to it and helps really make the film more memorable. A good soundtrack goes a long way after all and it does get that subtle terror tone mixed in with the usual clown tracks. All we needed at the end of the film was a huge intergalactic battle with other alien species like the Tooth Fairy and this could have really hit the moon with how crazy things got.
Overall, Killer Klowns is definitely a very memorable film. It manages to really execute on the parody elements and the idea of having a Clown (Even if they’re known as Klowns) is pretty genius. Invading a small town like this where nobody suspects anything and the police are intentionally not helping thanks to Mooney makes things pretty interesting. At times the film can definitely get quite disturbing like the scene of a Klown drinking someone’s blood but for the most part it is just focusing on how crazy this whole thing is. The Klowns seem to keep thinking of new powers as they face new obstacles in the film. We get a nice stinger at the end of the film horror style where you know that the humans are pretty much doomed and it’s really the ideal way to wraps things up. I get the feeling a remake/sequel would not be quite as good as the original but I’d be interested to see how they handle this in a modern environment. I doubt anyone will believe the main character even if he snaps a photo so that should help prevent technology from changing things quite as much. If you like the idea of a wonky Sci-Fi film that definitely goes all out then this could be up your alley. It gets pretty intense at times but everything moves at a quick pace so one second you’ll be in a serious horror moment and in the next you’ll be in comedy land.