88 mins| U.S.| 1988| Colour

The ’80s brought us a mini golden age of splendid horror comedies, from Critters and Evil Dead 2 (originally released as a double bill in Ireland, fact fans) to Night Of The Creeps and this choice cult curio, the only movie written and directed by maverick SFX mavens the Chiodo Brothers. The title pretty much nails the insanely brilliant high concept on the (red) nose: aliens who resemble clowns terrorise small town America. Nobody takes our intergalactic sociopaths all that seriously to begin with – they are clowns, after all – but, as the body count rises, drastic measures must be taken. The flimsy plot basically serves as an excuse for one inventive, offbeat and ever-so sick set-piece after another, with veteran character actor John Vernon (AKA Dean Wormer from Animal House) slicing the ham extra-thick. The Chiodos proceeded to create stop-motion sequences for Will Ferrell vehicle Elf and the puppets for Team America: World Police: we live in hope that one day they will direct again. Sequel, anyone?

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