The Quarantine Stream: 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space' Makes Good on Its Title

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Killer Klowns From Outer Space

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: It’s about killer clowns. From outer space.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: As Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “Sometimes you just need to forget the world outside and cuddle up with a good movie about space alien clowns who turn people into cotton candy.”

There’s an old advertising slogan that states: “It does exactly what it says on the tin.” Meaning: sometimes, there’s something comforting about a product that does exactly as advertised. And that’s Killer Klowns From Outer Space, a movie that makes good on its title, because that’s literally what happens. A group of aliens who just happen to look like hideous clowns come to earth and start fucking-up the joint.

The clown, sorry, Klown space ship looks exactly like a circus tent. The Klowns use gags and jokes to kill their victims. And oh yeah, they also turn us poor humans into giant balls of cotton candy. As you can tell, this isn’t exactly high art. And that’s fine. Because sometimes you want something that does exactly what it says on the tin.

Is there a plot to Killer Klowns From Outer Space? I mean, kind of. Are there memorable characters? Uh…the Klowns are memorable, so, sure. The humans? Not so much. But again: none of this matters. All that matters is that this film, released in 1988, delivers on its promise of Killer Klowns who also happen to be from outer space.

Killer Klowns was one of those go-to rentals from my childhood. I borrowed the VHS countless times from countless video stores, and not so much because I loved the movie. But rather, I loved that it was a movie that was called Killer Klowns From Outer Space. And the friends and family I shared the movie with felt the same way. There was a kind of disbelief – “Is that really the movie’s title? I gotta see this thing!” was the standard refrain.

And as Killer Klowns played out with scenes of killer shadow puppets, guns that shoot popcorn, and a Godzilla-sized Klown that arrives in the big climax, all was right in the world. Doesn’t that sound like a feeling you’d like to experience right now? We could all use some Killer Klowns in our lives.

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