Hello, horrorphiles! Welcome to another edition of Horror With a Side of Cheese. If you don’t know what this is, twice every month, I talk about the cheesiest horror movies I can find on the first and third Friday. I rate each film on a scale of cheese slices instead of stars. The scale goes from one to five. To determine the rating, I look at specific details such as the dialog, the plot, the acting, the effects and re-watchability. Today, I am talking about a movie that is a bit more well-known than previous entries; Killer Klowns from Outer Space. I am giving this one three cheese slices. Stick around to find out why.

About Killer Klowns from Outer Space

There is some disagreement about whether this movie is more horror or sci-fi. However, it is a healthy dose of each in equal parts with a heavy sprinkling of comedy. Unlike many of the films featured in this column, Killer Klowns from Outer Space carries the label of a horror comedy. Even so, it goes hard on the cheesiness!

A strange-looking spaceship lands in a small town and becomes a circus tent. Occupying the craft were killer klowns who quickly began abducting and murdering the townspeople. A young couple stumbles upon the tent only to make a gruesome discovery. Unfortunately, no one believes their story about a bunch of clowns with their clown weapons killing people. As the tagline says, it’s craazzy!

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Killer Klowns from Outer Space stars Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson and John Vernon. Stephen Chiodo directed, and he, along with Charles Chiodod, wrote the story. The film’s run time is one and a half hours.

A young couple stand in front of a yellow circus tent in the middle of the woods

This movie has a 76 percent Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 60 percent Audience Score.

Fun Fact: There is a video game based on this 80s cheesy horror film. The title of the game is Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game.

My Thoughts

First, I want to dive into the premise and story of this film. A bunch of aliens who look like Earth’s circus clowns, and have a giant circus tent, come to this planet to kill people. I will say, anyone with a fear of clowns should not, under any circumstances, watch this movie. However, going into Killer Klowns, there is the knowledge that it is part comedy. This knowledge inherently changes the viewer’s expectations. With that being said, the story itself is essentially the same as every other alien invasion movie. 

Strange beings from another planet invade a small section of the earth and begin taking the locals for whatever purpose. There is nothing new or unique there. However, the fact that they have big noses and even bigger shoes, painted-on smiles and odd hair lends something else to the overall effect. It is as if a circus turned evil with the weird addition of them being extraterrestrial beings. The story and look of the klowns are easily the cheesiest part of Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

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As for the dialog, it is surprisingly pretty average. While a bit on the cheesy side, which is inevitable, the dialog is pretty straightforward for an 80s horror. No crazy lines or memorable phrases. I find this odd given the comedic nature of the film, which is one reason the score is not higher.

A killer Klowns shoots toward the camera

The acting is shockingly decent. In fact, John Vernon plays his role of the obnoxious cop so well that I found myself desperately wishing someone would put him in his place. Even if that meant the clowns ate him. While the acting is not particularly cheesy, it is one of the better parts of Killer Klowns in Outer Space.

Outside of the story itself, the cheesiest part of this movie is the effects. The comical weapons, odd-looking clowns and generally terrible effects put this film in the realm of excellent cheesy horror. I laughed historically at certain moments and found a weird joy in experiencing the awful effects. 

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Finally, let’s talk about re-watchability. For the sheer enjoyment factor, I give this Killer Klowns a five on the re-watchability meter. I must watch this movie at least once a year and plan on keeping this tradition for the foreseeable future. It has crazy effects and an outlandish story that keeps me coming back time and time again.

Alright horror fans, there’s another cheesy horror movie in the books. Killer Klowns from Outer Space gets three cheese slices from me, it’s pretty gouda.

Let me know your thoughts on this movie in the comments. Also, be sure to tell about your favorite cheesy horror movie. Until next time, stay spooky and cheesy!

This article was originally published in March 2022.