Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 31st, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1988
Director: Stephen Chiodo
Writers: Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo
Cast: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi
BluRay released: September 15th, 2014
Approximate running times: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99 (UK)
Synopsis: A small town is invaded by beings from outer space whose food of choice is human beings.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space would mark the feature film debut of Stephen Chiodo and sadly to date this is his only feature film as a director. Stephan and his brothers Charles and Edward since this film have worked on films like Elf (stop motion animation) and Team America (principal puppeteer). Other key collaborators on Killer Klowns from Outer Space include cinematographer Alfred Taylor (Spider Baby, The Teacher) and composer John Massari (Lust for Freedom, Snake Eater – Trilogy).
Content wise, this film is clearly a product of a by gone era and that era is 1950’s Sci-Fi cinema. And this can be seen in every facet of this film, whether it be the characters which populate this film or the way that the majority of the effects also have an old school retro vibe to them.
Another thing that plays a big role in the story at hand is the use of humor. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the alien beings, which oddly enough look like clowns. Is this the way they look on their home planet or is it part of disguise that they are using to lure their victims into their trap? After all, everyone knows clowns are a lot of fun!
Also having these alien invaders look like clowns sets up the boy who cried wolf scenario as no one in town is willing to believe Mike and Debbie when they reveal that the town is really under attack by killer clowns. This aspect of the plot proves to be the most fruitful area in regards to where the majority of this film’s strongest humor comes from.
From a production stand point this film is overflowing with creativity that makes the film feel much larger than its meager budget. This creativity shines the most when it comes to the special effects work on display in this film. Also narrative wise things move along at a break neck pace form one hilarious moment to the next.
Performance wise this film is anchored by enthusiastic performances from Grant Cramer (New Year’s Evil, Hardbodies) in the role of Mike Tabaco and Suzanne Snyder (Weird Science, Retribution) in the role of Debbie Stone. Other performances of note include John Vernon (Curtains, Savage Streets) in the role of a veteran cop who refuses to believe that there are alien clowns abducting the townspeople and Michael Siegel and Peter Licassi in the role of the mischievous Terenzi brothers who spend most of the movie driving around in an ice cream truck.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used for this transfer is the same one used for MGM’s North American Blu-Ray release. Details generally look crisp, colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels very good and grain looks natural. Also there are no issues with compression or DNR.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM stereo mix in English and also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 53 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), ‘Klown Auditions’ rehearsal footage with the Klowns (3 minutes 56 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), ‘Killer Bloopers’ (2 minutes 49 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), two deleted scenes (2 minutes 24 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio and 2 minutes 15 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), five featurette’s, ‘The Making of ‘Killer Klowns’ (21 minutes 40 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), ‘Visual Effects with Gene Warren Jr.’ (14 minutes 52 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), ‘Kreating Klowns’ (12 minutes 50 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), ‘Komposing ‘Klowns’ (13 minutes 15 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio) and ‘Chiodo Brothers’ Earliest Films’ (7 minutes 10 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio) and an audio commentary with the Chiodo Brothers.
These extras are thorough as they cover every area of this production and then some. With the standout extra from those being ported over from MGM’s North American Blu-Ray release being the audio lively and informative audio commentary track with the Chiodo Brothers.
Other extras include storyboard and image galleries, a featurette titled ‘Bringing Life to These Things: A Tour of Chiodo Bros. Productions’ (7 minutes 39 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), two interviews, the first one with actor Grant Cramer titled ‘Tales of Tabaco’ (18 minutes 1 second – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and actress Suzanne Snyder titled ‘Debbie’s Big Night’ (10 minutes 39 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen).
Topics discussed by Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder includes how they got cast for this film, working with the Chiodo brothers, they also reminisce about other cast members, their thoughts on the final product and its cult following. They also discuss various other projects that they worked on or almost worked on.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art option and a twenty four page booklet with cast & crew credits, an essay about the film titled ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space… And Beyond: The Clown in Horror and Popular Culture’ written by Joel Harley and information about this films transfer.
Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Killer Klowns From Outer Space gets a first rate release from Arrow Video.