What makes a cult film, a cult film? The most agreed upon definition is, “A movie that is unpopular with mainstream viewers, but beloved by a smaller segment of devoted fans.”
Often cult films are low budget, filled with over-the-top violence, gore, and sexuality. Most of the time, the segment of people who enjoy watching these cult films do so ironically.
This is the detention of a cult film.
What I think is missing from the definition is filmmaker intent. The makers of a cult film never intend to make a cult a film. A true cult film is the result of a director earnestly trying their best to put their vision on the big screen, no matter how dumb or outlandish their story is.
It is through this commitment to tell their undiluted story, regardless of how much money they have, regardless of how grand or minuscule the topic that a cult film is made.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space is definitely a cult classic film. Not only because it has a low budget, is filled with the typical overt-the-top violence, and gore, but because no matter how ridiculous it gets, and man does it get ridiculous, do you for one second think the filmmakers are not in full control of their vision.
One night, a small town called Crescent Cove is invaded by aliens from outer space, and it just so happens that these aliens look like clowns, large, deformed, evil looking clowns. Their mission on earth, to capture and persevere humans in cotton candy, so they can take them back to their home planet for food. It is up to Mike Tobacco, great fucking name, (Grant Cramer) and Officer Dave Hansen (John Nelson) to stop them before they capture Mike’s girlfriend Debbie Stone (Suzanne Snyder) and the rest of the townspeople.
Killer Klowns are called Killer Klowns for a reason, they like to kill things and they do it in a variety of inventive and hilarious ways.
Like any good Klown, the Killer Klowns know how to put on an entertaining show, even if they only have their hands to work with.
Note to reader: Never under any circumstances challenge a Killer Klown to a fight, even if agrees to wear boxing gloves.
My personal favorite method of Klown murder, death by pies, death by acid pies!!!
The Klowns’ most often used method of murder is their cotton candy guns. These guns entrap prey in a sweet cocoon of sugary death.
As you saw in the last clip, the Klowns are great at putting on a puppet show. They also make their own puppets. They can make them out of anything, even humans.
Bonus: This clip also show you the only way you can kill a Killer Klown, by shooting them in their red nose. Something to remember if you ever find yourself in a situation where your going to be turned into a human puppet.
The Chiodo Brothers are the filmmakers behind Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The brothers were longtime special effects guys, having worked on other cult classics like Critters and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, before deciding to make their own film.
The story goes, that the brothers walked into a pitch meeting with a one page story and a poster of one of the Killer Klowns holding up a cotton candy gun. They left with 2 million dollars to make the film, not a lot of money. They spent almost all the money on production cost and did all the special effects themselves, in order to have enough money to finish the film. The making of Killer Klowns from Outer Space is something they both describe as a “Labor of Love”.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space deserves to be a cult classic. The film is the product of two brothers with a crazy idea, little money, and the talents to make that idea real. Yes, the plot may be dumb, the dialogue cheesy, and the characters stupid, but the film is busting from the seams with creativity. From the cotton candy pods, to the killer shadows, to the big top spaceship, and just the clowns themselves. Killer Klowns from Outer Space was a film made with an evident love and passion that brightly jumps off the screen, it is this energy that makes the film so enjoyable and a cult classic.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space is not great film, but it is a fun cult classic, with great production design, costumes, piratical effects, and killer pies .
“You can escape purgatory, but you can’t escape Hell.” - Priest in My Left Foot
This has been day 13 of 30 VHS In 30 DAYS. My journey to the center of VHS Hell. Special thanks to I Luv Video in Austin, The World’s Largest Video Store, for being my spiritual and literal guide through VHS purgatory.