• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

TITLE: Killer Klowns From Outer Space

YEAR: 1988

GENRE: Horror and Science Fiction

Back in the 1980’s the drive-in movie theater was finishing up an era of being the place for cheap, sleazy entertainment for teenagers and other fans looking for a cheap thrill. As horror and science fiction fans were starting to be pumped out by the Hollywood machine the need for the drive-ins became less and less until the type of theater almost died out from coast to coast. Despite this, the 1980’s drive-in theaters did host some of the most memorable films of the era that had limited engagements in the new multi-plexes such as A Nightmare On Elm Street and Day Of The Dead. The greatest example of independent drive-in fun from the tail end of the Reagan administration would be Killer Klowns From Outer Space, the last truly great drive-in classic.

Mike Tobacco (played by Grant Cramer) and Debbie Storm (Suzanne Slater) are two teenagers hanging out at the local make-out spot when they see a flash shoot across the sky. The twosome investigate thinking it is a meteor when they discover a truth that they could not possibly imagine: that a group of aliens who look like monster circus clowns have landed on earth to take a break from their celestial journey to capture humans and encase them in a version of cotton candy cocoons and drink their fluids using silly straws. Mike and Debbie run to the police to report their findings to Debbie’s former police officer boyfriend Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson), but Dave’s supervisor Officer Curtis Mooney (John Vernon) laughs off the clown story as just another teen prank. However when the phones start ringing off the hook reporting killer clown sightings and the town people start disappearing Dave believes the story and knows he must stop the interstellar jesters before the entire town becomes victims of the monster clowns.

What makes Killer Klowns From Outer Space truly special from the wave of sci-fi films from the 1980’s is the amazing sense of creativity and ingenuity displayed throughout the film. Every clown and circus stereotype is used to its fullest extent and exaggerated for great laughs, including popcorn guns, a balloon watchdog, seltzer guns, a spaceship that looks like a spinning top, and an evil puppet show. The clowns are the stars of the movie and are demented looking creatures complete with rows of razor sharp teeth, demented faces, and evil laughs that make the titular villains as frightening as one could expect considering the topic. They also commit kills in a creative matter including using shadow puppets to devour a watching crowd, multi-colored ray guns that turn the victims into the before mentioned cocoons, and eliminating a security guard with acid-filled cream pies. Officer Mooney suffers an especially gruesome ending while muttering “Don’t worry Dave, all they want to do is kill you” just before he expires, and it is one of the most memorable scenes in any 80’s horror film. The acting has its bright spots especially Vernon as the cranky and slightly paranoid elderly police officer and Royal Dano as a redneck farmer who first encounters the alien clowns with his not so bright hound dog. The interior of the spaceship is also amazing and resembles a combination of a fun house and a flashy carnival sideshow attraction. This is not just a flashy looking independent however; as the story is quite imaginative as well and there are some legitimate scares especially when jack-in-the-box style clowns attack Debbie right after a shower. In addition, Killer Klowns From Outer Space may have the best theme song from any 1980’s sci-fi film, a fun little diddy from punk rock legends The Dickies.

The film was written, directed and created by Steven, Charles, and Edward Chiodo, who became mainstays for creating traditional special effects in Hollywood including Critters, Ernest Scared Stupid and Team America: World Police as well as the TV show “Sabrina The Teenage Witch”. This film was also the beginning of the career of stop-motion animation specialist Justin Kohn who later was one of the main animators in The Nightmare Before Christmas, James And The Giant Peach, and Coraline. A sequel personally directed, produced, and handled by the Chiodo brothers is currently in production and if the film finds a distributor it will see the light of day in 2012. Killer Klowns From Outer Space is more than just a movie, but rather a unique experience that one will surely never forget. Films come and go, but Killer Klowns From Outer Space will stick in the minds of the viewer and will surely not be forgotten. This is an essential viewing for science fiction and horror fans.

* * * * *

–Mark

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