This month marks the 30th anniversary of the seminal horror-sci-fi-comedy-cult film Killer Klowns From Outer Space. This beautiful, bizarre film is about a group of aliens who land on Earth in a spaceship that looks like a circus tent. The aliens look like clowns (evil, killer clowns, as if there was any other), they cocoon their victims in cotton candy and balloons, and new clowns spawn from popcorn, shot from huge popcorn guns.
Composer John Massari created a massive celebration of this iconic film in Los Angeles this past weekend, and obviously, it was a blast. SYFY SIRE was on hand to explore the festivities and report back on the weirdness.
The evening started with a "three-ring circus," which, unfortunately, was more like a one-ring circus. Promised acts were to include stilt walkers, contortionists, fortune tellers, magicians, and more... but the only one who was there was balloon artist Buster Balloon Cadwell. On the bright side, he's an amazing artist who created stunning clown sculptures out of balloons, and even a popcorn gun, for fans. Upon entering the Montalban theater, fans were greeted by four Klowns and could take pictures with them — if they were brave enough.
The show started at 7PM and was hosted by Jim Branscome of Cinematic Void, who reminisced about watching Killer Klowns on loop on SYFY (back when it was still Sci-Fi Channel). Killer Klowns stars Grant Cramer (who played Mike Tobacco) and Suzanne Snyder (who played Debbie Stone) were on hand to recite a few lines of dialogue from the film, as well as play with one of the cotton candy cocoon props.
Most agents would be hesitant about letting their client take a role in something so flagrantly silly, but not Snyder's agent. "My agent encouraged me to read for the role," she explained. "She knew it would be a cult classic!"
Snyder has basically retired from the entertainment industry, but she knew that it had indeed become a cult sensation about seven or eight years ago, when she started getting random friend requests from fans on Facebook. She has met lots of fans over the years, and is impressed that the film has become fun for the whole family — even grandkids. Three generations of fans! "I met a fan once who, when he and his friends would get drunk, they would go home and watch two movies: Killer Klowns From Outer Space and Casablanca."
Cramer name-dropped the band KISS as big fans of Killer Klowns. "They watch it on every tour," he insisted. Nowadays, Cramer is mostly a producer. While working on a cooking show, the celebrity chef he was interviewing recognized him by his voice alone. Without seeing his face, the chef said, "Hey! Are you Mike Tobacco?"
The main event was the film with a live orchestral score. It opened with L.A. punk band The Dickies, who performed their classic opening theme song live on stage. Massari conducted the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra who played the entire score while the film played on screens above.
The evening ended with two of the Klowns presenting flowers to the Chiodo brothers: writer/director Stephen, writer/art director Charles, and writer/producer Edward. Massari hinted that something would be "coming up" that he couldn't talk about, and speculation immediately ran wild about a potential sequel or TV series — something that has long been making the rounds of the rumor mill. Despite the lack of the true circus atmosphere, it was a genuinely fun evening, celebrating a classic film.