Killer Klowns From Outer Space - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Killer Klowns From Outer Space


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Movie: :3stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :3.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:




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Movie

Have I ever told you guys I loved the 80s? It was a time of glorious purpose. People got up, drank Jolt cola, tossed on their ratty Iron Maiden T-shirt, played with their friends, went to a Motley Crue concert, then came home and watched late night TV. Oh, and we watched a LOOOOOOOT of bad horror movies. Well, I shouldn’t say “bad” horror, but a lot of STUPID horror. Back then it was the time of the slashers and gashers, with super natural “demon” horror taking a back seat to Freddy, Jason, Michael and a whole host of other maniacal monsters to keep the kids up at night. But by the time the late 80s rolled around we were sort of “out” of monsters to be afraid of. And that’s sort of the time when “splatstick” horror caught on and we get absolutely insane films like Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

KKFOS
may seem like sheer stupid insanity on paper, but in reality it was….well..sheer stupid insanity. But it somehow WORKED for fans who were sort of wore out of the same “been there, done that” of the horror genre. I mean, who doesn’t dream of dressing up like an alien clown, zapping them with your cotton candy gun, then taking them back to your spaceship? Just me? Ummm, ok, just me then. Either way, KKFOS is pure light hearted cotton candy horror fun, winking and nodding to a lot of cliches and genre tropes that we’ve seen a million times, while having a good sense of self aware humor about the entire endeavor at the same time.

In the little town of Crescent Cove, a weird meteor strikes the earth just outside of the sleepy little place. Upon investigating, young lovers Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) come across what appears to be a circus tend where the meteor had fallen. Only thing is, the insides show a different story. A bizarre looking futuristic labyrinth housing giant balls of cotton candy containing the corpses of several other townsfolk. Racing back to town Mike and Debbie confide in Debbie’s ex, officer Dave Hansen, about their findings only to get laughed into the next county. Begrudgingly coming along to “confirm” the duo’s insane story, they find that the spaceship has moved, but more and more townsfolk are missing as alien clowns are killing and kidnapping the REST of the humans in Crescent Grove. Now it’s up to Mike, Dave, Debbie, and a pair of ice cream truck drivers (Michael S. Siegel and Peter Licassi) to try and stop the murderous extra terrestrial invaders before they finish off the ENTIRE little town.

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Killer Klowns is actually not as horrible as you would expect from my description. Coming from the minds of the Chiodo Brothers, who were creature effects designers for films like Critters, it is a bizarre take on B-movie monster flicks from the 1950s and just adapting that to 1980s sensibilities. They know the entire production and premise is hilariously bizarre, and just go with it, winking and nodding at the camera the entire time. There’s monsters, the barest hint of a budget for special effects (a shoe string budget was exorbitant compared to this one), light gore, and a whole lot of silly fun. People die by pied “pied to death”, wrapped up in cotton candy, and the only way to kill the monster is to pop their big red noses. So yes, we’re all in on the joke.

The film is smartly assembled, with a crisp 87 minute runtime and clever use of very limited effects, which goes to prove that you don’t need a gigantic budget to get passable results. Props, matte painting, and TONS of hard work went into making the film as fun as possible, and when all things failed, good old slapstick humor to spackle into the cracks to make it appear even.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 by the MPAA




4K Video: :4.5stars: :Video: :4.5stars:
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OK. Scream Factory/Shout Studios labeled this new release as coming from a New 4K master from the OCN, but I’m not sure whether that meant they had access to the newer transfer that Arrow did a few years back, or whether Shout themselves did a new scan, but my guess is that Shout themselves pulled a new scan as that falls very much in line with their modus operendi. Either way, it looks head and shoulders better than my aging 2012 MGM Blu-ray, with a hefty bitratete and Dolby Vision color grading that really brings out the “pop” on this colorful affair. There’s some issues with darker scenes showing off some black crush, but I honestly have never seen a home video release of KKFOS that DIDN’T show some black crush, so it could have simply been a way of hiding the cracks and the seams of the budget effects. Faces and skin details look amazing, with that 1980s grainy look that is not WILDLY grainy. Colors really pop with the clowns and their gear with the Dolby Vision enhancements, and honestly, I have NEVER seen the film looks this good.








Audio: :3.5stars:
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Now, it’s not a bad track, but it’s not a good 5.1 mix either. The entire thing is very thin, and has a very front heavy design that feels like it was a 2.0 track opened up to 5.1. The bass is a bit over bloated at times (especially near the beginning), and the dialog shifts from both sides of the mains quite a bit instead of floating in the center where it should. Most of the effects come from the mains, with light ambient noises activating the rears every once in a while. The dialog is clean and mostly clear (there’s some mild issues when characters turn away from the boom mic that’s just out of frame), and the ADR/Lip Sync issue form the MGM disc is still there, just not as bad. Which to be fair, is most likely partially due to the crummy audio capturing devices the Chiodo brothers used for the film rather than a blatant mixing issue. It is what it is. Disc sounds solid, but there are some limitations that keep it from being really good.







Extras: :4stars:
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DISC ONE - 4K UHD
• NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
• Audio Commentary With The Chiodo Brothers

DISC TWO - BLU-RAY
• NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
• Audio Commentary With The Chiodo Brothers
• "The Making of Killer Klowns"
• "Komposing Klowns"
• "Kreating Klowns"
• Visual Effects With Gene Warren
• Deleted Scenes
• Bloopers
• Earliest Films Of The Chiodo Brothers
• Easter Eggs












Final Score: :3.5stars:


Is Killer Klowns From Outer Space a top tier Horror movie? My goodness no. It is, however, a hilariously fun niche film in the genre that manages to hold up today for if you want to get high as a kite (or drunk) and have a good time with a couple of buddies who have never seen it before. Scream Factory’s 4K UHD looks to have been taken from a similar 4K master as the Arrow release stemmed from, so the video looks quite a bit better than my aging MGM Blu-ray from 2012, and the new extras are quite beefy as well. Maybe not for everyone, but fans of the movie will love this steelbook as well as the regular 4K UHD disc from Scream Factory. For the fans.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, Royal Dano, John Vernon
Directed by: Stephen Chiodo
Written by: Charles Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo, Edward Chiodo
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 87 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 14th, 2024
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Recommendation: For the Fans

 
Last edited:

Todd Anderson

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Great review - I loved the 80s too... I miss the simplicity of that decade.
 

Travis Ballstadt

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I love this movie. Always have. It's a true gem.
 

Asere

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Haha I need to revisit this one. My wife always says my type of movies are like The Toaster Ate the Oven which there is no such movie lol. Thanks for the review.
 
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