31 Days of Horror: Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

31 Days of Horror - October 2011

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy!


One faithful night in a small Americana town in California, a mysterious UFO lands to unleash an army of invaders. These invaders have a familiar look as they come from an alien race that resembles circus clowns. A couple on their way to a make-out spot discover the spaceship, and they try to warn the town about the killer clowns coming their way, encasing the victims in caustic cotton candy cocoons to be drunk later with crazy straws. However, this is obviously ridiculous, and no one believes them.

Killer Scene:

While Killer Klowns From Outer Space clearly plays as a comedy, it doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable moments. One of the most eerie scenes in the film features John Vernon (whom many will remember as the antagonistic dean from Animal House) as Officer Moody, who refuses to believe the ridiculous reports of clowns attacking the civilians. Eventually, he gets his comeuppance when one of the clowns turns him into a ventriloquist dummy. Shot in dark lighting with very little humor in the scene itself, we see Moody’s grisly fate with a modicum of blood but a look that makes the skin crawl.

Kill Sheet


0 Skulls Out of 5

Unlike many of the horror movies that showed up in the 1980s, this film has no sex in it at all. And this is a little depressing, considering there were plenty of moments to throw in at least a couple sets of boobs during the make-out moments. Hell, I used to have an old Playboy which had a (non-nude) picture of star Suzanne Snyder in it. Sadly, her shower scene is tastefully shot, and the most skin we see is a pretty blonde clown victim in a sheer nightie before she’s zapped with the cotton candy gun.


2 Skulls Out of 5

As far as horror movies go, Killer Klowns From Outer Space is not a particularly violent movie. Sure, people die, and there’s some blood here and there. However, most of the violence happens in a non-surprising cartoony way, or completely bloodlessly off-screen or in the distance.


2 Skulls Out of 5

Since it’s really more of a comedy than a straight-up horror movie, Killer Klowns gets a lower grade in the scare department as well. It’s really an homage to 50s invasion films, and it has a wicked sense of humor. Still, the scariest elements of this movie will play well to anyone suffering from coulrophobia (i.e., a fear of clowns).

Final Thoughts

Recently re-released on Blu-ray, Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a quintessential cult movie that needs to be seen by anyone who enjoys off-beat cinema. It also features a fantastic title song by The Dickies, which will stick in your head for days. The movie itself achieves a level of blissful absurdity that can be extremely fun. You might not be able to head back to the circus, but you can bring your circus to your Halloween horror movie watching by checking out this movie again, or for the first time.

How Can You See It?- Blu-ray/DVD/Netflix/On Demand

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Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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