Saturday, October 03, 2009

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

I saw this movie years ago and it earned a solid Wow! from me. It really delivers what the title says. Great concept!

Less great movie. It works, but if John Carpenter or Steven Spielberg (and their budgets) made this movie, they could have had winners.

I just lamented lack of budget but that is not the main flaw of the movie. The movie is cheesy, and that is largely okay. It survives its cheesiness tho the cheesiness undermines what could have been a very disturbing and scary movie.

The plot is that aliens that look and act like clowns have invaded earth. Their mission is to gather humans, for food. Brilliant! Clowns are loci of discomfort, aren't they? These guys sure are. Their happy looking faces feature lots of teeth, which is unsettling, and their clownish whimsy serves murderous intent.

The cast is uninteresting. There's that guy who was in that other movie (I think), and the young woman who screams and takes showers in other movies (no, not that one, the less famous one) does so in this one. Royal Dano comes thru as the poor man's Slim Pickens. John Vernon, the dean in Animal House, is the best thing here. He delivers several great lines. A few more performances like his could have turned this thing into something with fewer qualifications.

The Klowns play out all the appropriate memes of Clowndom. A bunch of them climb from a small car, they use popcorn and cotton candy nefariously, and they look like a lot of fun. That fun is belied. A small Klown seemingly bullied by a biker blithely knocks the guy's head off, literally. Another entertains a group of people with shadow puppets, until it creates a tyrannosaurus rex that consumes all the people.

In another scene, a young girl is playfully beckoned by a Klown. We fear the worst, but luckily the child is not injured. But plenty of other people are carted away. Part of the creepiness is that the Klowns are not just harvesting humans, they are enjoying themselves in the process.

In the most disturbing scene, the good cop discovers one of the aliens at the police station. It is seated at a desk. It turns around ominously. John Vernon, bad cop, sits on the Klown's lap. He speaks for the alien: Don't worry. We are just going to kill you.. The Klown then bloodily removes its hand from Vernon's back ventriloquist style. That, friends, is a monster.

Good cop shoots ineffective bullets into the Klown, but one hits the Klown's nose and that finishes the Klown. From here on, the plot races along pragmatically, or maybe I mean laconically. Some genuine and telling scares here, and a few laughs, but zero wit. Could have been better.
Post a Comment