Justin Bower

Justin Bower

Cigars in Cinema

Cigars in Cinema –
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

So here we are again, late with another addition of Cigars in Cinema. First, I would like to give you readers a little rundown on myself. I’m a horror nut. That’s about it really. When Chris asked me to write this article for their magazine, he knew that and asked me if I would be able to write about other genres than horror which I replied “ABSOLUTELY!” Welp, here we are. Another horror movie. I will say this though, I do have my reasons for picking this one in particular. I did have a totally other movie in mind for this edition, more of a suspense thriller. I recently started introducing horror movies to my son. I started with the first three Child’s Play movies and thought Killer Klowns from Outer Space would be a nice option. It has been a bit since I have seen it so we popped it in for our guy’s night tonight and wham. There it was, the cigar. After realizing how fun this movie was, I decided to write about it for this edition of Cigars in Cinema and using my other pick for next time!! Written, directed and produced by the Chiodo brothers who also did the special effects, this Sci-fi horror comedy is a lot of fun. Yes, it’s only rated PG-13 but that just means it widens the audience that can watch it. Was this ever destined for winning awards or being a blockbuster? Absolutely not. Just a fun movie that the special effects department happened to write, direct and produce. There are only a couple people in the movie that you might recognize, one being John Vernon. He was lots of things back in the day, he played the dean in Animal House, he was also in Airplane 2 and Dirty Harry just to name a few. The other person you might recognize is Christopher Titus. You might remember him from a sitcom he had back in early 2000 simply called Titus, or his stand-up work. Klowns follows a group of aliens that come to earth and start wreaking havoc on a small town. That’s the plot basically. Don’t go into this movie too seriously, take it for what it is. A goofy horror sci-fi comedy!

The cigar in this film plays a very small role all together but it’s in here, so this movie counts! Officer Curtis Mooney (played by John Vernon) plays kind of a menacing bully, old school style cop. He’s tired of the young punks drinking and loitering around town and his mentality is to knock them around and teach them a lesson. Annoyed by his younger officer in charge’s approach of taking it easy on everybody, he is reprimanded to the station to answer phones and the radio. During his time at the station, he gets really annoyed by all the calls from people saying there are psycho clowns terrorizing the town, to the point that he basically gives up. He decides he’s not going to deal with it anymore, he puts his feet up on his desk, grabs a magazine and lights up a cigar. It’s not known exactly what brand he’s smoking but the point is that he grabs one and lights up. What’s one thing that can be associated with smoking cigars? Relaxing! Feet up, magazine and a cigar. Just fade away in the bliss. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t get to relax long before he has a, let’s just say, life altering altercation. As I have said before and will continue to say, if you never have seen this goofy little gem, grab a stick and a cocktail, sit back and have fun!!

Just a side note, I am still working on possibly doing some sort of watch party we can watch one of the movies I have written about. If anyone has and questions comments or concerns or movie recommendations feel free to reach out!!


1) An early version of the restaurant scene was shot showing the Chiodo brothers sitting at a table in the background as extras.

2) The giant “King Klown” from the ending sequence, affectionately called “Klownzilla” by the Chiodo brothers, was actually played by one of them (Charles Chiodo)

3) As John Massari returned the music master tapes to the studio, people in the accounting and legal department completely dismissed Killer Klowns as being, “A complete failure that will die a quick death.” Massari responded: “Well… YOU don’t get it! There are people that will LOVE this movie.”

4) The $2 million budget went primarily on production costs. The clowns and visual effects were created almost entirely by the filmmakers at very little cost.

5) Body Count: at least 40.