Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 15th, 2018
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: April 9th, 2018 (UK), April 24th, 2018 (USA)
Approximate running times: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 12 (UK), PG-13 (USA)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £14.99 (UK)
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 is present in every facet of this film. Whether it be the characters which populate this film or how the special effects 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 try to tell everyone that the town is really under attack by killer clowns. This aspect of the plot is the most fruitful area in regards to where the bulk of this film’s strongest humor comes from.
From a production stand point this film is overflowing with creativity that makes the film feel more epic 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’s anchor is Grant Cramer’s (New Year’s Evil, Hardbodies) enthusiastic performance 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 transfer for this release was sourced from a brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative. This is another solid transfer from Arrow Video that improves upon the transfer that they used for this previous Blu-ray release.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes are in great shape, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Range wise, both audio mixes superbly handle the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack and they both sound robust, when they need too. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 53 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), Klown Auditions is 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), four 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), four image galleries – Stills / Behind-the-Scenes / Concept Art / Story Boards, a featurette titled Bringing Life to These Things: A Tour of Chiodo Bros. Productions (7 minutes 39 seconds), 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), an interview with original members of the American punk band, The Dickies titled Let the Show Begin! Anatomy of a Killer Theme Song (10 minutes 38 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), a documentary about the super 8 films made by the Chiodo Bros titled The Chiodos Walk Among Us: Adventures in Super 8 Filmmaking (23 minutes 40 seconds), a behind-the-scenes / onset footage featurette tilted Killer Klowns (29 minutes 54 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio) and an informative audio commentary track with the Chiodo Brothers.
Other extras include six of the Chiodo Bros super 8 films, Land of Terror (7 minutes 38 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), Beast from the Egg (7 minutes 26 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), Africa Danny (16 minutes 58 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), Eskimo (7 minutes 3 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), Sludge Grubs (6 minutes 54 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio) and Free Inside (12 minutes 20 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio). The short film Beast from the Egg comes with an optional audio commentary track with the Chiodo Bros.
The extras are extensive and they do a superb job covering every area of this production.
Rounding out the extras is a slipcover, a reversible cover art, a two-sided poster and a twenty-four-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Circus Bizarro: Killer Klowns, Then and Now written by James Oliver and information about the transfer. Overall Killer Klowns from Outer Space gets a definitive release from Arrow Video, highly recommended.