“Killer Klowns from Outer Space” starts out with the classic scenario: Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) is out on Lovers’ Lane with his girlfriend Debbie (Suzanne Snyder). First, their canoodling is interrupted by the buffoonish Terenzi Brothers, who figured Make-out Point would be a great place to sell ice cream, then by a bright object streaking across the sky and landing nearby.
An old timer out on his porch also sees the incident and sets out to investigate, and he’s overjoyed to find a huge circus tent in a forest clearing. It isn’t a regular big top, however; it is a candy-striped spacecraft belonging to a gang of evil clown-like aliens.
Mike and Debbie arrive on the scene and find their way into the tent, where they find the old man cocooned in cotton candy. The Klowns chase the couple with popcorn guns and balloon guard dogs, but they narrowly escape and head into town to tell the police. Debbie’s ex-boyfriend Dave (John Allen Nelson) is sympathetic, but the grumpy police chief Mooney (John Vernon) dismisses their story as a joke. Meanwhile, the Klowns are at large causing all manner of carnival-based mayhem and cocooning townsfolk as they go. It’s up to our intrepid teens, with a little help from the Terenzi Brothers, to save the day.
“Killer Klowns from Outer Space” has become a cult classic, largely thanks to the inventive special effects and ghoulish twists on just about every clown trope you can imagine. The Klowns themselves are wonderfully grotesque, but their repertoire of evil clown tricks is even more impressive: You’ve got lethal cream pies, hungry shadow puppets, clown cars, cotton candy ray guns, and, in the movie’s creepiest sequence, a victim’s body used as a ventriloquist dummy.