My Life as a Klown

It’s 1986 and another film crew has come to the laid back town of Santa Cruz. I previously had worked on a number of esteemed projects, including some piece of shit James Remar movie and that incredible Keanu Reeves TV movie “Brotherhood Of Justice,” which was partially filmed on the campus of our alma mater Aptos High. The Jerk claims his locker was used by Keanu but I know for a fact he’s blowing smoke up your ass if he tells you so. (Editor’s Note: He did.) Word on the street, (Editor’s Note: shorthand for “the lady who did all the casting for all the films that shot in the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay area lived right across the street from me, so whenever filmmakers needed some American pseudo Elvis Costello act-alike, she knew who to call”.) is that the project is called “Killer Klowns from Outer Space.” For a B movie buff like myself, this is tantalizing information. “Certainly,” I imagined, “this film is destined to be a science fiction/schlock horror masterpiece.” I’d had luck weaseling other jobs out of the local casting company in the past (Editor’s Note: see second note above) Would it be possible to grovel my way onto this set as well? I not only wanted to be a Klown, I needed to be a Klown.

My ship came in when a couple of Klowns took ill. I got the call that both me and my friend Scott would be needed during some late night shoots at a warehouse in Watsonville. It doesn’t get any more glamorous than that, folks! We arrive on site and are introduced to what would soon be our nemeses, but at the time seem like just a couple of harmless Klown costumes. We get right down to the art of movie making: waiting around for our shot to be up. It seems boredom is universal to an extra’s life, even when the movie is a horror comedy, which allows for more hi-jinx than most. Practically comatose from all the fun we are having (and the bad craft service), we are relieved when we are finally asked to suit up. This is when the fun really begins.

The costumes are rather large and clumsy, and the Klown head masks surely exceeded the maximum amount of weight to be supported by the human neck. My mask was particularly high tech, with remote control eyes for maximum Klown realism. My high tech eyes caused a strange buzzing vibration that ran through the mask, making me fear I would become the recipient of involuntary shock therapy (no offense to the FX crew, of course). The thick layer of foam padding creating the outward appearance of Klown makes for an extremely warm experience for the human cocooned within, and who knew running in Klown shoes required such skillrr!! As we rehearsed our running scene over and over again breathing became more and more difficult, but we trooped on, determined to be the best Klowns we could be.

We started shooting around 10 p.m. and did take after take for five hours. Repeatedly we waddled through our scene, never quite sure what we were doing due to bad visibility and the confusion that is inevitable as heat exhaustion sets in. Not able to hear the director we fumbled about trying to imagine what the Method would be for a Killer Klown in our position. As the 5th hour approached we were sure that we must be completely fucking up, and are sure that the Producer hates us for causing the production to go overtime. Either we finally nailed our marks or the director simply gave up and called it a wrap for us. In payment for our sweat and tears we got pictures of ourselves in costume and the satisfaction of a job well done. In retrospect suppose I should have charged my subsequent chiropractic visits to the production.

And now for the Killer Klowns Special Edition review:

I have seen this movie many times, and with each repeated viewing it gets funnier and funnier. Klown fans around the world over have been waiting for this special edition for a long time and for the most part it was worth the wait. There are some nice extras, along with some bad ones, but all in all it is a very enjoyable disc. The Killer Kommentary by the three Chiodo Brothers is funny and somewhat informative. They have fun recollections about friends from their childhood after whom many of the characters in the movie are modeled. They have a true love of old sci-fi and horror films as is apparent from the film, and they talk about their influences and the challenges of working with a very low budget. I am just glad that I do not have to rewind my VHS copy of the tape to view my five-second scene over and over again.. I give this disc 3 Cotton Candies. View it now!

Featurette section: Out of a possible 4 Cotton Candies.

Making of Killer Klowns: 2 Cotton Candies
Komposing Klowns: 2 Cotton Candies
Visual Effects: 3 Cotton Candies
Kreating Klowns: 3 Cotton Candies
Chiodo Bros. Early films: 4 Cotton Candies
Deleted Scenes: 2 Cotton Candies
Killer Bloopers: 1 Cotton Candy
Storyboard Gallery: 4 Cotton Candies
Photo Gallery: 4 Cotton Candies
Trailer: 4 Cotton Candies