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Old 06-17-2004, 05:52 PM
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Default Killer Klowns From Outer Space




Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: August 10, 2001

Released by: MGM
Release date: 8/21/2001
MSRP: $14.95
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes



The Story

inline Image Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) and Debbie Stone (Suzanne Snyder) are two young lovebirds fooling around at the "top of the world", the town's make-out spot for teenagers. After being interrupted by Rich (Michael Siegel) and Paul (Peter Licassi) - Mike's two best friends driving an ice cream truck in hopes of making money off some of the young, horny teenagers - Mike and Debbie spot a bright object blazing across the sky. The object then crashes into a nearby farm field. Mike is reluctant to follow the object and further investigate, but Debbie convinces him into doing exactly that.

inline Image Mike and Debbie travel to the spot where they expect to find a fallen meteor. Instead they find a pitched circus tent, right in the middle of the woods. A rather odd situation, but the two head inside anyway for a closer look. They end up in a room that's filled with cocoons wrapped with cotton candy. Inside of the cocoons are dead human bodies. Before Mike and Debbie can decide what to do next, they find themselves being chased by the tent's occupants - killer klowns from outer space!


inline Image After a quick chase through the woods, led by a balloon dog, Mike and Debbie barely manage to escape the klowns. They head straight to the police, who are of course reluctant to believe them, especially Curtis Mooney (John Vernon), the iron willed veteran officer who believes all young people are out to make a fool of him by some trick or another. Fortunately, officer Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson), Debbie's ex-boyfriend, believes some of their story and agrees to check it out. But it's too late, the attack of the killer klowns has already begun. The small town quickly becomes inundated with killer klowns that are luring any humans they come across by performing circus tricks of some sort, and then cocooning them with cotton candy.

Hope is bleak for the small town. With most of the residents and law enforcement cocooned, it's up to Dave, Debbie, Mike, and Rich and Paul - the two bumbling brothers with the ice cream truck - to save themselves and the rest of the world from the killer klowns.

inline Image Killer Klowns is a wonderfully unique bad movie. It takes the character of the circus clown, one that I personally have never associated with danger or fear (though I know many do), and uses it in this bizarre and often hilarious invasion of a small town. Of course, these are killer klowns from outer space, so the standard clown rules don't apply. Much of what makes this movie so, besides the premise alone, is how the killer klowns kill their victims. They use all the standard tricks and acts you'd expect to see from a clown, except here they are deadly. Imagine deadly shadow puppets devouring the audience, a killer balloon dog chase, popcorn guns, and much much more. Believe me, the klowns steal the show here and are definitely worth the price of admission!

inline Image I'd definitely classify Killer Klowns From Outer Space as a horror/comedy. Leave your brain at the door, throw out any expectations of a plot or good acting that you may have, and enjoy this classic B movie for what it is - a dark, hilarious comedy with some genuinely impressive effects for such a low budget movie. Prior to this review I hadn't seen KKFOS since my childhood, which is a shame because I nearly forgot how much I enjoyed it. I had a blast watching it again for this review. Now my son is hooked on it as well, and each of the three times I've watched it for this review - including just listening to the commentary track - my son was there by my side, laughing away. A classic B movie that is highly recommended.

Image Quality

inline Image Killer Klowns From Outer Space is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is absolutely stunning; this DVD is hands down the best this movie has ever looked. Besides a few small print blemishes that pop up here and there, I found no problems in the transfer. The image is sharp and extremely clean. Colors are strong and vibrant with natural looking flesh tones. Night scenes look perfect with strong, solid blacks. No compression artifacts or grain were evident. A-

Sound

The sound is in Stereo Surround. The mix is nice and sounds impressive enough, with both effects and score having a powerful presence, but I did find what seems to be a minor problem with dialogue. During the first 10 to 15 minutes of the movie there are scenes where the actors' dialogue don't always sync up with their lips. This is very, very hard to notice and I'm hoping it may just be a defective DVD. I doubt it's my equipment as I use it to review every other DVD and have never seen such a problem before. I will be testing another KKFOS DVD to see if the problem is present there as well. I'll also be keeping my eyes peeled for any other reviews that show up on the net. Regardless, I'm not hitting the grade too much because of this since the problem is so minute and hard to notice. For those that think I may just be my brain playing tricks on me, I doubt it; before I even mentioned the problem, my wife commented on it as well. I will update the review appropriately when I find out more. Otherwise, sound is good - no distortion or background noise is present either.

Supplemental Material

inline Image An impressive transfer and decent sound are great, but I always find extras to be the icing on the cake. Fortunately, this KKFOS DVD gives an ample dose of extras that are sure to please. First up is the commentary with the Chiodo brothers - Stephen, Charles and Edward Chiodo - the men responsible for writing, directing, and producing Killer Klowns From Outer Space. There are several small gaps of silence, but overall I found the commentary track to be enjoyable. I was expecting it to be a humorous track, but instead the three remain fairly professional during the track. I'm not complaining, just making an observation for anyone else with similar expectations. The three discuss their influences for creating the film, the story, and many of its characters, all of which are loosely based on people and experiences from their own lives. The greatest part of the commentary track is them explaining how each effect was done and pointing out some of the hidden blunders in the film.

inline Image Five featurettes are included on the DVD. First is The Making of Killer Klowns, which is 21 minutes in length. It consists of a retrospective interview with the Chiodo brothers discussing several topics regarding the making of KKFOS. It's intercut with various behind-the-scenes footage that was shot during the filming of KKFOS. Next is Komposing Klowns, 13 minutes in length. It consists of a retrospective interview with John Massari, the music composer for Killer Klowns From Outer Space. He discusses how he came to work on the movie, and goes into detail on how he came up with the music for various scenes.

inline Image The next featurette is titled Visual Effects with Gene Warren Jr, 15 minutes in length. This one includes retrospective interviews with Charlie Chiodo and Gene Warren Jr, the men responsible for many of the effects in KKFOS. They each discuss various effects from the film, scenes of which, including behind-the-scenes footage, are intercut during the interview. Various scenes are shown with the effects, and then without the effects, which is interesting to see. Next is Kreating Klowns, 13 minutes in length. It includes a retrospective interview with Charlie Chiodo, who discusses the challenges behind many of the effects and how they were overcome. Another member of the technical crew joins in on the interview about half way through and discusses the differences between doing effects today versus back in 1998, as well as the creation and mechanics of the klown masks. As with the other featurettes, actual film and behind-the-scenes footage is intercut.

inline Image The last featurette, titled Chiodo Brothers' Earliest Films, is 7 minutes in length, and consists of some of the first films the Chiodo brothers created back when they were children and teens. They include a Christmas adventure with the devil and some elves, and a "monster on the loose" adventure starring some young Chiodo brothers and a young Chiodo sister! The films themselves are silent, but there is commentary from the Chiodo brothers as they reminisce on their earliest work. The stop motion effects are crude and amateur of course, but the very fact they were capable of creating them when they were in 7th grade (which was a LONNNG time ago) is impressive in of itself.

inline Image Two deleted scenes, titled "Bad Experience" and "Tight Rope", are included. Each can be viewed with or without director commentary. Neither is essential to the story, and I only found the second to be of any interest. FYI, according to the commentary, these two scenes are occasionally shown on TV versions of KKFOS. Next is the Killer Bloopers section, which is about 3 minutes in length. Interesting to watch, but none are funny to the point you'll find yourself laughing out loud at them.
Four story board galleries are present, titled Original Opening, Klowns Float!, Shadow Show, Debbie vs. Klowns, and Klownzilla. And finally, rounding out the supplements are a theatrical trailer and a huge photo gallery that is broken into several sections ranging from conceptual art, advertising material, poster art, behind-the-scenes, and more!


inline Image inline Image



What's to say here in terms of supplements? UNBELIEVABLE! Never did I imagine it would take me two whole nights to go through everything on the DVD. Those featurettes are over an hour when you add them all up! More importantly, they're not the types of featurettes you find on many DVDs where it's just an extended trailer for the film. Every featurette here is chock full of information on particular aspects of Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Personally, I found the first one to be the most enjoyable as it covers all the Chiodo brothers and how KKFOS came to be. But each and every one is pretty good - fans will enjoy every one to some extent. Add in a commentary track, story boards, photos, deleted scenes, etc., and you can see why it takes so long to go through all the extras. And again, they're all enjoyable! Rating supplements with a solid A.

Final Thoughts

Kudos to you MGM, for what is easily one of your finest DVDs ever produced. Great transfer, good sound (my copy has a slight dialogue sync problem during the first 10-15 mins. of the movie - I'm investigating further to see if it's just a defective DVD), and tons of enjoyable extras! What more can you ask for? Okay, how about a super low price of $15 dollars. Amazing. This DVD is easily worth $50 in my book.
Killers Klowns From Outer Space isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy horror comedies I think you'll love it. And for those that don't like it, buy this DVD anyway and show MGM that a high quality presentation, great extras, and a low price translate into high sales for them.

Rating

Movie - B
Image Quality - A-
Sound - B
Supplements - A

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Rated PG-13
  • 1 Disc
  • 16 Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Surround
  • French, Spanish subtitles

Supplements
  • Audio Commentary with the Chiodo Brothers
  • 5 Featurettes (The Chiodo Brothers & the Making of the Film, Behind-the-Scenes & On-the-Set, Komposing the Score, Visual Effects with Gene Warren, Jr., Chiodo Brothers' Earliest Films)
  • 2 Deleted Scenes with Director's Commentary
  • Bloopers
  • Storyboard Gallery
  • Photo Gallery
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Other Pictures

 

 

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