Killer Klowns from Outer Space

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Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Killer klowns poster.jpg
Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Stephen Chiodo
Produced by Charles Chiodo
Edward Chiodo
Stephen Chiodo
Written by
  • Charles Chiodo
  • Stephen Chiodo
Music by John Massari
Cinematography Alfred Taylor
Edited by Christopher Roth
  • Sarlui / Diamant
  • Chiodo Brothers Productions
Distributed by Trans World Entertainment
Release dates
  • May 27, 1988 (1988-05-27) (U.S.)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.8 million[1]

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a 1988 American science fiction horror comedy movie made by The Chiodo Brothers and starring Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder. It is the only Chiodo Brothers' directed and written film—they have worked in many other projects in other roles, such as producing and visual effects. The filming took place in the city of Watsonville and at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.[2] The film is about a race of aliens who resemble evil clowns that arrive on Earth to capture and harvest people to use as sustenance. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 71% approval rating, and it has since become a cult film. Several officially licensed toys have been released. A sequel entitled Return of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space in 3D is planned.


In the town of Crescent Cove, California, Farmer Gene Green spies an object fall to Earth. Believing it to be Halley's Comet, he goes to find it, coming across a large circus tent-like structure. He is at first amused by the sight, but he and his dog Pooh Bear are quickly captured by mysterious clown-like aliens. Meanwhile, Mike Tobacco and his girlfriend Debbie Stone also investigate. Coming across the same structure, they discover a complex interior that looks nothing like a circus tent. They discover the old man in a cotton candy-shaped cocoons and are nearly captured by the alien clowns, who coat them with a popcorn gun as they escape. A balloon-animal dog that comes to life gives chase.

Narrowly escaping, Mike and Debbie travel to the police station to confide in her ex-boyfriend Dave Hanson and his skeptical, curmudgeonly partner Curtis Mooney about the killer clowns from outer space. The latter believes it to be a hoax. After they drop off Debbie, Mike and Dave investigate, only to find the ship missing. Dave dismisses it as a hoax until they find a make-out spot destroyed and covered in a candy-like substance. In town, the Klowns capture townspeople in cocoons by using ray guns that resemble toys. The Klowns perform a series of pranks and performances, including a puppet show, that end with many deaths. One Klown fails to lure a young girl to her death, and a small one kills a biker who destroyed his tricycle.

Mike and Dave encounter one of the Klowns using a shadow puppet to shrink a crowd of unsuspecting people into the palm of his hand before feeding it to a bag full of its offspring, but it escapes before Mike can run him down. Mooney, convinced that the calls to the police station are the result of a hoax, encounters one of the Klowns and a series of pranks makes Mooney lock him up, not realizing until too late that the threat is real. Dave returns to the station to find two prisoners dead, the station decorated with shoe prints, and Mooney being mimicked like a puppet with the Klown's hand inserted in his back. Dave shoots the Klown several times before destroying its nose, which causes it to spin wildly and explode.

In town, Mike and his friends, the Terenzi brothers, who own an ice cream truck they were using to warn people, notice the town is overrun by the Klowns and flee. Popcorn monsters attack Debbie at her home, and the Klowns trap her in a in a giant balloon. Mike, Dave, and the brothers give chase to the amusement park. Journeying through a funhouse leading to the ship, the Terenzi brothers become separated, meeting two female klowns who sexually harass them off-screen. After Dave and Mike witness Klowns use crazy straws to drink the liquefied townspeople, they rescue Debbie and flee into a maze full of tricks and traps.

When they emerge, they are surrounded by Klowns. Rich and Paul Terenzi arrive, having escaped the female Klowns, and use the clown figure on their ice cream truck to distract the Klowns. However, a gigantic Klown marionette, Jojo the Klownzilla, arrives, breaks free from its strings, and attacks; the other Klowns flee. As Jojo destroys the ice cream truck, Dave distracts it by shooting at it. Jojo grabs Dave, who uses his badge to destroy its nose. The Klown explodes and the ship is destroyed as Debbie and Mike escape. Debbie and Mike briefly mourn their friends loss until a clown car drops out of the sky, containing Dave and the Terenzi brothers emerge. As they ask whether the ordeal is over, pies fly down and hit them in the face to the Klowns' laughter.


  • Grant Cramer as Mike Tobacco, a young adult who tries to spread the news of the Klowns genocide.
  • Suzanne Snyder as Debbie Stone, Mike's girlfriend
  • John Allen Nelson as Dave Hanson, the town's police sheriff
  • John Vernon as Curtis Mooney, a violent misanthropic police officer
  • Michael Siegel as Rich Terenzi, an ice cream truck driver
  • Peter Licassi as Paul Terenzi, Rich's brother
  • Royal Dano as Farmer Gene Green
  • Christopher Titus as Bob McReed
  • Irene Michaels as Stacy
  • Karla Sue Krull as Tracy

The Killer Klowns were portrayed by Steve Rockhold, Michael Harrington Burris, Geno Ponza, Scott Beatty, Paul Haley, Dennis C. Walsh, Genie Houdini, Charles Chiodo, Karl Shaeffer, Paul Parsons, Jimmy Locust, Mitch Bryan, and Greg Sykes.


Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Film score by John Massari
Released 2006
Recorded 1988
Genre Soundtrack
Length 69:09
Label Trans World

The score to Killer Klowns from Outer Space was composed by John Massari. The title song "Killer Klowns" was written and performed by The Dickies and was released on their album Killer Klowns from Outer Space in 1988, though only the one song is from the film.[3] A limited edition complete soundtrack was released in 2006 through Percepto Records and features twenty-six tracks of score, the title song "Killer Klowns", and four bonus tracks at a running time just over sixty-nine minutes.[4]


The film has become a cult favorite.[5] Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 71% of 17 surveyed critics gave it a positive review; the average rating is 6/10. The site's consensus reads: "Killer Klowns from Outer Space‍ '​s title promises darkly goofy fun – and more often than not, the movie delivers."[6]


Tower Records Killer Klown variant figure

In 2005, SOTA Toys announced they would produce Killer Klown figurines as part of their Now Playing film action figures line.[7] One figure was produced in 2006.[8] After SOTA stopped producing the toys, Amok Time took over.[9]


The Chiodo Brothers plan on creating a sequel to the film. The star of the original film, Grant Cramer, revealed that his character would make a return, as a town drunk who nobody believes. His character would serve as a mentor to young street performers who must fight the Killer Klowns when they return. He described his character as "somewhere between the energy of Kris Kristofferson's character in Blade and Christopher Lloyd's character in Back to the Future".[10]

Like the original film, Stephen Chiodo is set to be the director and Charles Chiodo is set to produce, although they are still currently awaiting word on a distribution deal from a company so the production of the film can begin.[11][dead link]

The current title of the film is Return of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space in 3D.[12][dead link]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]