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KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is a wonderfully hilarious homage to fifties "B" horror movies- with a decidedly eighties edge. Set in small town America, a couple of high school sweethearts are at the local make out spot when they see a meteorite fall to the ground over the next hill. Because it seems to have come down close by, our young couple set out to find the meteor. However, instead of finding a space rock, they come across a brightly colored circus tent out in the middle of the woods. Unfortunately for our couple, what they have stumbled upon turns out to be far more dangerous than typical carnival grifters. Inside the tent, our teen lovers discover horrifying and deadly caricatures of ordinary circus clowns. Barely escaping from these "Killer Klowns," the teens make their way back to town, only to discover that the bizarre alien invaders have stared pulling their deadly pranks on the populace.

Now, there are plenty of people that find clowns to be creepy and downright frightening on their own. The creators KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE recognize the clown related fright factor that grips many people and they run with it. However, instead of a straight out sci-fi horror outing, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE plays with the audience’s preconceived notions about clown to create plenty of frighteningly funny moments. I have to give the Chiodo Brothers (the film’s writers, producers and director) credit for taking a one-joke concept and making a minor sci-fi/horror/comedy classic out of it. KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is the kind of movie that will keep genre fans laughing for a long time, because it has great replay value. Fans of fifties sci-fi cinema will get a kick out of the earnest/wooden performances of some of the actors, which are reminiscent of the earlier period. Additionally, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE features some great supporting moments from the likes of John Vernon and Royal Dano. The cast also includes Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi and a pre-TV show Christopher Titus.

MGM Home Entertainment has made KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. For a low budget film from the eighties, MGM has produced a really nice looking transfer. In general, the image is pretty sharp and delivers a good level of detail. Some shots are a little softer than others, but there is really nothing to complain about. Colors are pretty vibrant and are reproduced with only a tiny bit of instability amongst the hotter hues. Some of the flesh tones are a bit bland, but this only occurs when the lighting is less than ideal. Blacks are fairly solid, and the picture provides respectable shadow detail. The film element used for the transfer does display some blemishes, plus there is a bit of grain that creeps in, in a couple of places. Still, these flaws are nothing that cannot be easily overlooked. Solid dual layer authoring keeps digital compression artifacts from sticking out like clown pants at a wedding.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack decodes to standard surround and it is reasonably effective. There are a number of directional effects that are spread across the forward soundstage, however the surrounds are a bit lifeless. Dialogue reproduction is fairly clean, although some of the original recording and mixing limitations become somewhat obvious. The music is decidedly brash, but remains effective in the context of a low budget film. No other language tracks are provided, but French and Spanish subtitles are encoded onto the DVD.

Full motion video, animation and sound enhance the DVD's amusingly designed interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a pretty nice array of supplements. Topping the list is a running audio commentary featuring the Chiodo Brothers (Stephen, Edward and Charlie). Their talk provides a lot of production detail and is rather enjoyable. No less than five featurettes, running almost seventy minutes, have been produced for this DVD. The featurettes look at all aspects of the making of the film, including visual effects, the score, and what part each Chiodo brother played in the production. Also included on the DVD are early films of the Chiodo brothers, two deleted scenes with optional commentary, bloopers, a storyboard gallery, a photo gallery and a theatrical trailer.

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is a highly enjoyable genre outing that has been given a really good presentation on DVD by MGM. When one considers this, along with the great supplements and low asking price of $14.98, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE becomes a must have DVD for genre fans.


Killer Klowns from Outer Space


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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