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Killer Klowns From Outer Space (Shout! Studios) UHD/Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • Killer Klowns From Outer Space (Shout! Studios) UHD/Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Shout! Studios
    Released on: May 14th, 2024.
    Director: Stephen Chiodo
    Cast: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi
    Year: 1988
    Purchase From Amazon

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space – Movie Review:

    A legitimate cult classic if ever there was one, The Chiodo Brothers' 1988 film Killer Klowns From Outer Space starts when Mike (Grant Cramer) and his girlfriend Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) decide to head to the local make-out spot for some alone time, only to be interrupted by Rich (Michael Siegel) and Paul (Peter Licassi), Mike's two best friends cruising around in an ice cream truck. When Mike sees something come hurtling out of the sky and crash nearby, Debbie talks him into going with her to investigate but when they arrive at the crash site they find a circus tent. They check it out and find a bunch of cocoons made out of cotton candy only to be chased out of there by some bizarre and rather frightening looking clowns!

    Debbie and Mike make it back to town and go to the local cops, lead by Curtis Mooney (John Vernon), who understandably figures that there's something up with their story. He more or less dismisses them but Debbie's ex-boyfriend, a cop named Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson), agrees to go take a look at things. Soon enough, however, there are big, scary clowns popping up all over town, making life difficult for bikers, pharmacy owners and ice cream truck drivers in the area.

    A fun throwback to fifties style sci-fi and monster movies, Killer Klowns From Outer Space was a lot of fun in the eighties and it's a lot of fun now. Time has been kind to the picture, with the makeup and costumes holding up very well, the eerie and somehow perverse looking clowns themselves still having a completely creepy look to them. The set design and use of color, particularly in the last twenty minutes or so of the movie, is ridiculously over the top and yet completely appropriate in the context of the story. On top of that, the movie is paced very well, making for a very rewatchable film that's never dull, never boring.

    Performances are decent here too. The key cast members play their parts well enough and the great John Vernon is excellent as the town's requisite grumpy old cop. Siegel and Licassi are hilarious as the two goofballs in the ice cream truck and both Cramer and Snyder make for likeable enough leads, even if they look a bit older than they're probably supposed to be in the movie. What really makes the film such a kick, however, is the inspired sense of lunacy that is evident throughout. Everything from the way in which the clowns get rid of their victims to the design of the characters shows some serious creativity and while it may be at least partially a parody of the movies that inspired it, the whole thing is done with such obvious love for B-movies that it's pretty much impossible not to have a great time watching this.

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space – UHD Review:

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space arrives on UHD in an HEVC encoded 2160p presentation framed at 1.85.1 widescreen, the film’s original aspect ratio, in a Dolby Vision/HDR10 enhanced transfer taken from a 4k scan of the original 35mm negative. This movie looks great in 4k, the biggest upgrade being the color reproduction. The HDR enhancement really makes this thing pop like it never has before, with the primary hues looking gorgeous but never oversaturated or artificially boosted. Black levels are also nice and deep, always inky black. Contrast looks spot on and detail is typically excellent, especially in those close up shots of the clowns were we can really take in all the detail in the masks that were created for the movie. The image is spotless from start to finish, retaining natural grain but showing no noticeable print damage at all and there are no problems with any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts to complain about.

    Scream Factory provides 24-bit DTS-HD MA audio options' in English in both 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound options, with optional subtitles provided in English as well. While the 2.0 track sounds more faithful to the original mix, the 5.1 track spreads out the effects and the score nicely, making a few of the more active scenes in the film just that little bit more engaging. Both tracks feature properly balanced levels and are free of any hiss or distortion.

    The only extra on the UHD disc is carried over from the special edition DVD release from years back and that’s the commentary with the Chiodo Brothers which is worth listening. These guys have a great sense of humor and do a fine job of relaying the story behind the making of this odd movie. This track has been on various releases over the years and there’s a good chance you’ve heard it before but if not, it’s pretty informative and also a lot of fun.

    The rest of the extras are on the included Blu-ray disc, which also has that same commentary on it. From there, we move on to a bunch of featurettes, again carried over from the DVD, the first of which is The Making Of 'Killer Klowns. This is a twenty-two-minute mix of 2001 interview footage with the Chiodo Brothers and vintage footage shot on the set during the production of the film. Komposing 'Klowns' is a thirteen-minute interview with the film's composer, John Massari, while the fifteen-minute Visual Effects With Gene Warren Jr. is a similar featurette that sheds some light on the work that Warren did for the picture. The thirteen-minute-long Kreating Klowns pieces lets Charles Chiodo talk about his work in literally creating the Klowns we see in the movie.

    In the Earliest Films Of The Chiodo Brothers section we get seven minutes of some really fun Super 8mm productions that the brothers made in their younger days. These were shot silent but have commentary from the brothers talking about how some of the effects in the movies were done. Rounding out the extras are two deleted scenes (with optional commentary from the Chiodo Brothers), three-minutes of bloopers, a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection options.

    Also work noting is that this release comes packaged in very cool limited edition steelbook featuring some appropriately garish and ridiculously colorful artwork on the both panels of the front of the steelbook and a cool archival stretched across the inset.

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space - The Final Word:

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space holds up well, it's a fun and quirky horror movie with some great effects and entertaining performances. While the movie has been released on Blu-ray previously, this UHD edition from Scream Factory offers a substantial upgrade in picture quality and throws in solid array of extra features, as well, even if all of them are archival. Recommended!

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized screen caps from the older Killer Klowns From Outer Space Blu-ray (which are used only to illustrate the movie, not the transfer quality of this UHD release).

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