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Rated PG-13
Copyright 1987, Trans World Entertainment
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 20 September 2008 (updated)

The Characters:  

  • Mike - He gave up dialoging nubile girls at the beach, went back to college, and took up dialoging nubile girls there. Unfortunately, his race is run. Mike has fallen in love, and saved the girl in question from certain death; marriage is imminent.
  • Dave - Maybe he is only a rookie cop; he is still willing to stand up to the old fart at the station who insists that police brutality is an integral part of law enforcement. He can also shoot the nose off a Klown at twenty yards.
  • Debbie - She used to date Dave, but now she dates Mike (small town). To her, romance is a bottle of cheap champagne and a (mostly) clean inflatable raft under her back.
  • Officer Mooney - John Vernon! The incumbent and angry old fart at the police station. He actually hated the college students more than the college's dean did, which is no small feat. Killed by a Klown in this cozy college town.
  • The Terenzi Brothers - Two wild and crazy guys who are trying to make money by selling ice cream from a truck (henceforth called an "ice cream truck"). What they do not understand is that canoodling college students are not interested in buying "Super Fudge Swizzles."
  • Farmer Green - He named his hound dog "Pooh Bear." Turned into compost.
  • The Killer Klowns from Outer Space - Hideous, malevolent, cruel, and pretty darn funny (when they are not trying to kill you). All of them become "weather balloon crash debris."

Buy It!

The Plot: 

If the title did not get your attention, you probably have been riding the short electron on the Internet. This is a cult classic. Ray guns turn people into cotton candy wrapped corpses that the Klowns feed on, popcorn grows into little fanged Klown monsters, and there are even killer pies. Killer pies!

To start our story, all of the college students are at the "Top of the World," which is just a hill where kids go to park and make out. I am a bit confused about Mike and Debbie, and the other couples, because they are a little old for college students. Both of the main characters must be around twenty-five. Most people are not in college by then (you grad students shut up), nor are they forced to use their sole personal bailiwick, their vehicles, for romantic interludes. Anyway, Debbie and Mike are basking in the afterglow of deep kissing when a fiery object streaks through the night sky. What could it be? A meteor? It has to be a meteor, and it landed in the nearby woods! The two lovebirds go looking for the fallen star.

What are you two doing? Haven't you ever seen The Blob, Slither, or any other science fiction horror film? You do not want to find whatever it was that just arrived on Earth. Go home and arm yourselves with a shotgun and/or fire extinguisher.

Another individual watched the object fall from the sky: old Farmer Gene Green. He heels his dog (more like, "Come on, boy!") and plunges into the trees. Farmer Green does not find Halley's Comet fallen to Earth; he discovers a brightly colored circus tent in the middle of the woods. A weird glow radiates from inside the strange pavilion. By the time Mike and Debbie reach the circus tent of extraterrestrial horror, the farmer and his dog are gone. Mr. Green did not leave, nor did his dog run off chasing a rabbit; the Klowns got them.

Mike thinks that the circus tent is awesome, and I have to agree. A subtle beauty of "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" is the props and set designs. They are great! Cheap, but great all the same. Maybe that is the beautiful simplicity of making a Killer Klowns movie - you can create the sets and props out of just about anything, judiciously apply bright pastels, and voila! On the other hand, maybe the people who came up with all of this simply had a great idea and knew how to apply it.

Exploring the arcane alien artifact convinces Debbie that this is no mere circus tent. The neutrino power plant gives it away. Oh, and the dead bodies wrapped in cotton candy. Mike was prepared to argue with his hyperventilating girlfriend until they discovered the cotton candy corpses. After that grisly find, the two protagonists are frantic to find their way out of the Klowns' tent. Some of the painted alien horrors chase after Mike and Debbie, but the pair escapes with only a slight coating of popcorn on their clothes. The Klowns' balloon dog bloodhound is killed during the humans' escape (Mike runs over it).

Yes, the Klowns make a balloon dog that barks as it follows Mike and Debbie's trail. The movie is full of fun little touches like that. What else would a Killer Klown from outer space use for a bloodhound? Okay, maybe an elephant would be fitting. However, elephants are not cheap. They might work for peanuts, but we are talking about an awful lot of peanuts here. Quantity can be a critical factor. Don't believe me? Give me a penny. Give me a hundred pennies. Now give me enough pennies to fill a football stadium.

Moving on.

When Mike and Debbie arrive at the police station they are faced with two problems. One is where to put the car, because Mike completely forgets how to parallel park and becomes a hazard to anything less than six inches from the curb. The second hurdle is convincing a police officer that the town really is under attack by Killer Klowns from outer space. Mooney is not having any of it. Impressively, Dave listens to the story and agrees to go check it out. Part of Dave's cooperative spirit comes from the fact that he and Debbie used to be an item. The young policeman still has feelings for his old girlfriend. Hearing that she was making out at the "Top of the World" with Mike catches Dave by surprise. However, kudos to Dave for not immediately tossing his romantic rival into a cell (especially one already occupied by a mother-stabbing father-raper).

Mike should thank Debbie for introducing him to Dave. "Oh, so this is your old boyfriend. The one with the pistol, wooden baton, and handcuffs. I was kind of hoping this guy would never know I even existed. Don't kiss me in front of him! Are you insane?"

The guys drop Debbie off at her place, then proceed to where Mike and Debbie found the circus tent. The tent is gone; the only thing that remains is a huge hole in the ground. That is because the Klowns are rampaging through the town and knocking off the residents in various clownish ways. Unfortunately, Dave does not know that. He thinks that Mike and his old girlfriend are playing a practical joke. Dave discovers the truth soon enough. Make-Out Point has been devastated. The only thing left is empty cars.

"It was as if dozens of canoodling twenty-somethings suddenly cried out in terror, and were replaced by honking clown horns."

Back at the station, Mooney has been swamped with phone calls from frightened citizens. The whole darn town is going crazy! Imagine if you were a police officer - a fat one, who hates the people you pledged to protect and serve. Now imagine what you would do if those hoodlums all tried to play a practical joke on you by calling in obviously false reports of Killer Klowns from outer space. Gets you a little angry, doesn't it?

I have a news flash for you: if the whole town hates you, maybe they are not the problem.

Mooney does eventually get what is coming to him (karma, thy face is painted with the reds and whites of slapstick). A Killer Klown turns itself in, and Mooney tries to commit a little police brutality on the frightful invader. So, when Dave arrives back at the station alone, having dropped off Mike en route, he finds the inside of the cellblock covered with Klown footprints, and Mooney turned into a ghastly ventriloquist's doll. It is by luck alone that the young officer shoots the alien in its weak spot: the nose.

Meanwhile, Debbie has been taking a shower. The whole time that Dave and Mike were driving back and forth, poking around the woods, and reacting with horror to the implied carnage on Make-Out Mountain, Debbie has been in the shower. She spends enough time getting clean that the strange popcorn which had covered her clothing turns into a bunch of Klown-headed serpents. Escaping those is easy enough (though her sweater sustains a pair of mortal wounds), but when she leaves the bathroom Debbie finds the Klowns waiting for her. The young woman is not embalmed in cotton candy; instead the Klowns imprison her in a giant balloon.

There is a great scene in here with the Klowns walking down the street, zapping people and turning them into pink eggplants, and then sucking up the cotton candy treats with a huge vacuum that is attached to the front of their Klown death machine. We also see where the Klowns moved their headquarters. The circus tent is cleverly hidden right in front of everybody's eyes - at the local amusement park! Of course they would disguise their spaceship (it is a spaceship) in an amusement park! It's genius, like a butler hiding in a penguin colony!

Have you ever watched one of those nature specials and thought you caught sight of a butler milling about among all of the penguins? That is what I am talking about!

Feel sorry for the lone security guard at the amusement park. He tries to stop the Klowns and they pie him to death. I guess Killer Klown Kreme Pies are made with graham cracker crust, vanilla filling, whipped cream, VX, and perchloric acid. Mike, Dave, and the Terenzi brothers avoid painful dairy death and infiltrate the Klowns homestead. Once again, the humans are forced to deal with unusual situations. There are progressively smaller sets of doors, ball pits, female Klowns whose breasts inflate, and other oddities that only make sense in light of the plot's context. The balloon-filled hallway sort of reminded me of my senior prom. Never have so many done so much with construction paper, streamers, and balloons, for so few who cared.

The protagonists finally reach the center of the ship, and encounter the overlord of the comic cosmic invaders: Klown El Grande. Whether they live or die will be decided by Dave's ability to slay a twenty-foot-tall monstrosity. If Dave is not up to the task, King Klown is going to use the trio as human whoopee cushions. I guarantee you that if a two-ton Klown sat on somebody, they would make a funny sound.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Circus tents are made of Kevlar.
  • Cotton candy contains so many preservatives that it can be used as a preservative.
  • The original version of the adage was, "Like a Klown in a drugstore."
  • Special effects need not be special.
  • "Guns & Ammo" is a monthly humor magazine targeted at law enforcement personnel.
  • Rubber stamps are made from the recycled soles of worn out Klown shoes.
  • Hairspray and Mace are chemically identical.
  • Never swallow a shower massager.
  • Crazy straws were originally invented as a form of IV for yoga experts.
  • Ford discontinued its line of ice cream trucks based on the Pinto chassis after a series of unfortunate accidents.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - "The kind that eat all of your ice cream, and then don't put out. Am I right?"
  • 14 mins - If you had a few frisbees you could play backgammon...
  • 19 mins - Either that is really sticky popcorn or else these two are wearing way too much hairspray.
  • 37 mins - Is he drinking that from a styrofoam cup? The Philistine!
  • 45 mins - The car has not hit the wall, yet we hear crashing sounds. It is not even dented!
  • 61 mins - Now Debbie knows what it feels like to be a chicken embryo.
  • 64 mins - No, it looks like a giant bird dropping.
  • 68 mins - The pit could have been filled with worse. For example: punji sticks, fire ants, razor blades.
  • 72 mins - Wish that you had an icepick right now, don't you?


  • Moonie: "They took your wife away in a balloon? Well, you don't need the police, pal. You need a psychiatrist!"
  • Security Guard (who is about to be killed by pies): "What are you going to do with those pies, boys?"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note killerklowns1.wav Debbie: "I've never seen anything like this before. Have you?"
Mike: "No."
Debbie: "Well, that's because nobody has. I don't believe in UFOs, but if they do exist, then...then we're trapped in one right now."
Mike: "Debbie, will you just calm down? There's got to be a logical explanation for this."
Debbie: "This isn't what you think it is. Nobody stores cotton candy like this!"
Green Music Note killerklowns2.wav Debbie: "You've got to help us! We've got to do something! There are two people dead!"
Dave: "Who, Debbie? Who's dead?"
Mike: "Joe Lombardo, he's dead."
Debbie: "And some old man, he's dead, too."
Dave: "Wait second, guys. You sure about this?"
Mike: "Yes. They were hanging there, wrapped up in these cotton candy things. These...cocoons."
Dave: "Cocoons?"
Mike: "Yes, cocoons!"
Debbie: "You know, cocoons!"
Dave: "All right, all right, everybody calm down."
Green Music Note killerklowns3.wav Debbie: "Dave, it was not a circus tent - it was something else!"
Dave: "What? What?"
Mike: "It was a spaceship, and there was these things - these Killer Klowns - they shot popcorn at us! We barely got away!"
Mooney: (whistles) "Killer Klowns from Outer Space...holy sh*t!"
Green Music Note killerklowns4.wav Mike: "Paul, this is more important than selling ice cream. There's Klowns going around killing people; we're all in danger!"
Terenzi Bros. #1: "Ah, we haven't sold that much ice cream tonight."
Terenzi Bros. #2: "We haven't sold any."
Mike: "Come on, guys. Will you help me? At least take me over to Debbie's house. I think she's in danger."
Terenzi Bros. #2: "Does she have any roommates?"
Mike: "Yes, she's got two. She's got two beautiful roommates. With big boobs!"
Terenzi Bros. #1: "Do they like ice cream?"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipkillerklowns1.mpg - 4.5m
The Klowns are going door to door, fooling the inhabitants with fake pizza deliveries or candy, then turning them into cotton candy-wrapped snacks.

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