Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Starring Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi, Royal Dano, Christopher Titus, Irene Michaels, Karla Sue Krull

Directed by Stephen Chiodo

Expectations: High, been looking forward to this one for a while.


When I was a kid my buddy used to bring his Fangoria magazines to school and we’d check out all the cool ghoulies, goblins and killer gore FX horror films of the 80s and 90s had to offer. It was a golden time for me in which the seed was deeply sown for my love of the genre and the FX that came with it. In those days it was all about foam latex masks and appliances, scale models and slick opticals of raygun blasts and lightning. Camera tricks fooled the mind in clever ways that less-than-subtle, modern CG does not. Many of the films I was exposed to in these Fangoria issues are long-standing favorites, while others I still have yet to see. My childhood household had an unspoken hex on true horror pictures, so I had to wait to see a lot of this stuff until I was old enough to get ahold of them myself. Killer Klowns from Outer Space is one of these films, until now only glimpsed in the colorful pages of Fangoria and in short clips.

Many movies that have built up this much hype just can’t live up to it. Killer Klowns from Outer Space also has the PG-13 horror movie stigma working against it. In spite of all the odds stacked against it, Killer Klowns from Outer Space managed to worm its way into my heart and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A big part of my enjoyment were the excellent range of visual FX on display throughout the picture, and when a bunch of brothers that run an FX studio make a movie this is only to be expected. From the hyper-detailed foam latex clown masks to the wonderful optical raygun FX, from the stop-motion shadow puppets to the cotton candy bodypods, Killer Klowns from Outer Space astounds and entertains at every turn.

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Ghoulies II (1988)

Starring Damon Martin, Royal Dano, Phil Fondacaro, J. Downing, Kerry Remsen, Dale Wyatt

Directed by Albert Band

Expectations: Low. There’s no way this can live up to the first one.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Ghoulies II is a film working against the odds. The first Ghoulies is a cult horror/comedy masterpiece (if you go for those sorts of things) and generally sequels to such fare are always inferior. I am happy to report that Ghoulies II is an exception to the rule. When four minutes in there’s a man with a groaning, wriggling sack over his shoulder being chased by three guys in blood-red satanist robes, you know you’re in for something…might be special, might be shit, but it’s definitely not gonna be middle of the road.

Apparently these satanists summoned the Ghoulies and the guy with the sack is making off with them to kill them. He runs into a gas station garage and throws the whole bag into a steaming toxic waste barrel. I’ve never seen a toxic waste barrel spewing fog at my local garage, but this is Ghoulies II so we’re just gonna go with it. Needless to say, the toxic waste has zero effect on the Ghoulies. They jump out and stop-motion their way over to a parked diesel rig. Soon, we’re all on our way to the carnival via the truck carrying the Satan’s Den attraction and our lovable Ghoulies.

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