This past weekend I had the chance to attend the 30th Anniversary Event of the cult horror/sci-fi film, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988). This film holds a very special place in my heart and having never had the chance to see it on the big screen, I was looking forward to finally being able to have that experience.
For those who may not be familiar with KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, the film centers around a small town that is terrorized by a race of clown-like aliens who capture and kill the townsfolk by way of deadly popcorn and cotton candy. It is directed by Stephen Chiodo who also co-wrote it with his brothers, Charles and Edward Chiodo. The film stars Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, Joan Allen Nelson, and John Vernon.
For this celebration, which was put on by KILLER KLOWNS composer John Massari, there was an amazing line-up of special guests that included the film’s creators the Chiodo Brothers, actors Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder, and more. During the screening of the film, The Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Massari, performed the film’s score along with special musical guests, The Dickies. Prior to the start of the film, there was a pre-show Q&A moderated by Jim Branscome of Cinematic Void where the guests spoke about what the film meant to them, the use of practical effects, and the massive cult following that the film has gained.
One of my favorite moments of the evening was when Grant Cramer, who plays Mike Tobacco, and Suzanne Snyder, who plays Debbie Stone, came out on the stage and re-enacted a scene from KILLER KLOWNS equipped with a life-sized cotton-candy cocoon! It was apparent, not just from this interaction, but throughout the duration of the show and the Q&A, that those who were involved with the making of KILLER KLOWNS had a lot of love for this film. Seeing these actors and creators joke with one another and reminisce about their time on set really added to the overall feeling that this was an experience that they really treasured.
As for the film itself, it was just as memorable as the first time I watched it (minus the scare factor of course, since I was like 5 when I watched it). However, my favorite part of the entire evening was the live music from The Hollywood Chamber Orchestra. I can’t put into words how overwhelmingly astounding it was to hear the score played live against the film as well as having The Dickey’s come out to play their signature Killer Klowns song. The pulse of the theater had an electric current running through it and you could tell that these die-hard fans were living for every moment of this event, so much so that someone even proposed their significant other before the movie started (I do believe she said yes)!
If I had to critique the show it would be in regards to the fact that not everything that was advertised was there. When I first received the press release it stated that the “Kosmic Klown circus celebration will begin with stilt walkers, balloon folding artist Buster Balloon Cadwell, contortionist Bonnie Morgan, plus fortune tellers, strong men and women, magicians, body art, fan arts and crafts, and of course the Killer Klowns.” However, a lot of these acts were not at the event, such as the stilt walkers, fortune tellers, strong men and women, magicians, contortionists and body art. All that said, it didn’t deter me from having a great time, I just felt a tinge of disappointment that something that was advertised wasn’t there and no reason was given to why.
Overall, this event was one of the highlights of my year. As a huge fan of the film it was incredibly fulfilling to finally see it on the big screen while quoting along to some of my favorite lines. As I mentioned, the music was definitely the highlight and I have to give an immense amount of credit to composer John Massari for putting on such a grand event, even with those few hiccups I mentioned above. I hope in the future there are more events like this as it really brings the community and the fans together to celebrate something that means so much to them. Now with that said, can we please, pretty please, get a sequel to KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE?