Director – Stephen Chiodo
Cast – Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi, Royal Dano
Release Year – 1988
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This was one of my favorite horror films ever when I was growing up, partly because I think clowns are pretty damn scary(especially THESE clowns), but mainly because this film is just plain awesome. Fun and very creative, the writers/director combo The Chiodo Brothers struck cult-status gold with this film and left the horror genre with a film none of it’s cohorts will ever forget.
This flick follows a young couple named Mike and Debbie, who one Friday night go out “parking” and notice what seems to be a falling star land in the woods nearby. When they reach the landing site they realize that this is no ordinary “shooting star” because instead of a smoldering mass of hot rock they are faced with a giant circus tent. Curiosity gets the best of them and they enter the tent, completely unaware that a clan of aliens dressed as clowns has arrived to their small town with one goal in mind…to turn all of it’s residents into cotton candy-like cocoons and devour them.
The biggest reason why I love this flick so much is become from start to finish this is a nonstop joyride of horror and humor. The clowns used in this film are what I believe to be the scariest clowns put in any horror film, and their personas and motions really add to the creep-factor this film has. I really liked how the Chiodo Brothers wrote in the humor for these clowns, playing off the fact that these are in fact…well…clowns! The humor was creative and pretty original, and always came with a side of death and in some cases some pretty nice gore. Could it get any better than that?
All of this mixes very well with this film’s plot, which is overall a simple one but turns out to be quite creative given these are pretty much clowns and not cheezy aliens visiting our planet. The combination of all of these positive elements is what leads this film to pace magnificently, never losing steam or getting boring with needless scenes. At 86 minutes, the pacing is perfect and you’ll be glued to the screen right from the get-go thanks to this film taking off so quickly. I personally cannot believe that the Chiodo Brothers did not become bigger names in the horror community by putting together other films. They all seem to do this and that here in the horror realm, but it is mainly small things and nothing like what they did with this debut film.
I have no major complaints for this film, but I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again…don’t go into these types of films expecting the best character performances. The acting is cheezy, and its what adds to the fun of these flicks. I personally would have liked a bit more gore, but that is only because of this film’s subject matter and how well the gores scenes it did have were done. If this had been a gorefest I would have had no choice but to throw down a 10-rating for this flick. No lie.
Overall, this is an amazingly fun horror flick that I recommend to all fans of the genre. Even non-genre fans should get a kick out of this flick thanks to it’s fun humor and the fact that pretty much everyone on Earth is freaked out over clowns. Highly recommended.