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Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

I have been aware of this film for as long as I can remember, and I have done my upmost to avoid it based on what limited footage I had seen prior to this first initial watch. Everything about this film looked like it wasn't going to be for me, from the cheesy costume to the overly ridiculous premise. So, am I missing out on a cult classic that has garnered generations of love over the years, or is 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space' really as awful as it looks? As someone who is a big fan of the 80's horror aesthetics, this film falls perfectly into that category. The the acting, the score, the set design and even the practical and visual effects are everything I enjoy about this era of film making. The set design especially here is mesmerising, everything about the spaceship that crash lands oozes late 80's/early 90's children's TV shows. The overly bright pastel colour palette and oversized fun house visuals are captivating and as someone who has a lot of nostalgia for this era, it was incredibly enjoyable to see this done in such an exaggerated fashion. Although the antagonists themselves lack in overall intimidation or invoke any sort of fear, I can't help but appreciate the design and puppetry involved in bringing these clown costumes to life. The masks in particular look really impressive and something that I once always found to be rather silly, is actually rather fitting and impressive with context. The childlike image of the 'Klowns' does provide the opportunity to have some hilarious kills and the two contrasting element come together for some very entertaining scenes. The cast are great, given the silly nature of this film and its concept, I think each and every one of them do very well to play this as straight laced as they do. That is of course with the exception of John Vernon who plays Office Mooney. Vernon takes an extremely exaggerated approach to the character he is playing and the standard tropes of how 80's police offices are shown in cinema. The writing is rather impressive. Stephen Chiodo (writer and director) has the ability to take an overly ridiculous concept and make it justifiable and convincing, something that is no easy feat. I genuinely believe that by having every character and their own interaction to be as unconvinced by the idea of alien clowns just as much as we the audience are, makes this concept a lot easier to digest and also make the humor much more palatable. Had this approach not been taken, the overall tone of 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space' would have been seriously compromised. Everything about this film shouldn't work, yet for one reason or another it does. I majorly regret avoiding this film due to the preconceptions that I had created in my own mind over the years, especially without even giving it a chance. If like me you to have been unsure whether this is worthy of your time, let me be the one to reassure you that this is one of the better gems of 80's horrors out there.


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