Killers from Space [1954]

What's completely and utterly baffling about Killer Klowns is not the plot--that's rather tidily summed up by the title--but the fact that it got made at all. According to the filmmakers, (the Chiodo brothers: Charles, Edward, and Stephen) all it took to convince the studio was a one-page treatment and a picture of a clown holding a gun. It boggles the mind. Anyway, some killer Klowns descend from outer space and start wrapping their hapless victims in cotton candy for later consumption. Debbie and Mike suspect something's amiss, but who will believe them? The movie's greatest asset is its willingness to play on the inherent creepiness of clowns. The Klowns are grotesque parodies of their big-top cousins, hiding hideous malformed teeth behind terrifying circus makeup. It's impossible to tell if Killer Klowns is truly meant to be scary, but it is compelling in its thoroughness: popcorn, balloon animals, and really big shoes are all used to their fullest effect. The only cast member you'll recognize immediately is veteran character actor John Vernon as Officer Mooney, but keep an eye out for Christopher Titus in a small role as Bob McReed. Then just sit back and stare open-mouthed in bewildered joy. --Ali Davis

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