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Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

I felt a strong desire to rewatch this crazy film about alien homicidal clowns. It's a bit Looney Tunes, but in a really creepy way. There's one scene where on the one hand an alien killer clown is holding an enormous hammer behind his back and yet on the other hand he's encouraging a small child to come to him so he can kill her.

Rather than going into detail about the varied homicidal methods the clowns use, I should instead probably just mention a few of the more repeated aspects and leave the variety of clever effects a surprise. But believe me, there are some very varied ideas here.

The basic gist is that these are aliens that happen to look like clowns, have guns that fire popcorn, capture people in balloons, and turn their victims into candyfloss. Oh, and their spaceship looks like a funfair tent.

On first watch I was rather annoyed by the non-clown characters, but this time I found them a great deal more appealing. For some reason I also enjoyed the effects work more this time around. The acting isn't great and this is still a very silly film, but as silly low-budget films go it's pretty awesome.

The director is STILL planning on releasing "Return of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space in 3D" and (apart from the 3D part) I think it could be pretty cool seeing what they can do with the advances in special effects.

Killer Klowns is a film I'd seen already, so I'm just going to tag this other film on the end. It's a bit of an awkward one to try to label as sci-fi, but I think it's justified. Let's see...

Society (1989)

Sci-fi isn't entirely about whether the events are happening in the future. It's also about using speculative ideas to say something about the world in which we live. It's all about "what if".

"Society" certainly isn't obviously a sci-fi film. A boy feels alienated from his family and has a strong sense that he doesn't fit in. His parents have lofty ideals for him to live up to, but seem disappointed with his choices. They are also disappointed with his best friend.
On the other hand, his sister seems to be far more accepted, though he feels alienated from her too. The love-hate relationship between them seems to come out as more of an repulsion-attraction relationship. He seems to be dealing with the idea that his sister is a beautiful girl, but also with odd hints that she may be some kind of monster.

While I don't want to give away too much about what is coming, I think it is important to note that this is a Cronenberg-style body-horror film. Our protagonist's revulsion regarding his family is represented by suggestions that his family might actually be monsters of some description: Distortions of humanity.

Bizarrely, there's also a left-wing political message here too (and no, not a preachy "Elysium" style message - not that there's anything wrong with that). The protagonist's family is clearly rich and they reject his friend for being "the wrong sort". There's a sense of class alienation going along with the confusions of puberty.

The plot really kicks off when his sister's ex-boyfriend explains that he planted a bug in the house and plays our protagonist what appears to be the recording of an incestual orgy. Our protagonist had always suspected something strange was happening in his family, but in discussions with his therapist he'd always been assured that it was his own neuroses colouring his vision. He immediately goes to his therapist with the evidence - but things aren't entirely as they seem.

"Society" is twisted, creepy, but also quirky and funny. The finale feels more like a case of the movie taking things as far as it can go rather than a sensible ending to a story. However, the twisted effects work and the somewhat Lovecraftian horror that greets us in that final act make the film entirely unforgettable. While a little meandering in places, this is a film which hits hard and made a real impact on me as a viewer. Awesome.


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