Mar 26, 2023

"Killer Klowns from Outer Space": Gayer Than You Think

Why have I not seen Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) before? Other than the ridiculous premise, that is.  It's a gay-subtext classic.

We open at a lover's lane, where some of the parked cars are not occupied by boy-girl couples!  There are two guys, and two guys and a girl!

Mike (Grant Cramer) and his girlfriend Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) are parked, but not kissing!

Why have I never heard of Grant Cramer before? I thought I was up on all the 1980s hunks.  It was my decade!

Let's have another look at Grant Cramer before continuing.

An ice cream truck passes by, run by the Lenny and Squiggy-like the Terenzi Brothers, Rich and Paul (Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi):  "We'll give you the stick -- you give it a lick."  Promises, promises.

Mike notes that he knew the boys from high school.  "Whenever you want a good time, you call Rich and Paul.  A night out with those guys is a real adventure." you like hanging out with guys? Is Debbie actually your girlfriend, or a buddy?

Meanwhile, at the sheriff's station, two college boys are brought in for "boozing it up in the park."  One is wearing a New York t-shirt.  They had a bottle of wine.  Were they, like, on a date?

The Sheriff roughs them up, and when Deputy Sheriff Dave intervenes, asks if he's got a"thing" for them.

And we're only 12 minutes into this movie

Deputy Sheriff Dave is played by John Allen Nelson, seen here on Baywatch, but with blond hair.

Ok, I've got to ask, who did the casting for this movie, and why did they hire two super-hunks, when neither actually shows any skin?

On camera, anyway. story.

Mike and Debbie stumble upon an alien spaceship that looks like a circus tent, where  aliens who look like scary clowns attack them with popcorn-guns and a balloon animal that comes to life.

You have to admire the dedication to the premise.

They barely escape, and rush to tell Deputy Dave. He leads them into the station, his arm around....Mike's shoulders.

They take Debbie home and go off to investigate, Mike's hand never far from Dave's shoulder.  Dave appears to be Debbie's ex-boyfriend, and goes into a little spiel about how he still loves her, etc., etc.

Meanwhile the Klown invasion is in full force. They shoot ray guns at people to encase them in cotton candy cocoons, feed them to popcorn-monsters.  They attack a woman in the shower. She's not naked.

Lenny & Squiggy join the battle, using the clown statue on their ice cream truck to distract the Klowns.

They act like a gay couple, too.

Somehow Debbie is cocooned but still alive, so they rush to Klown headquarters to rescue her, Mike's hand on Dave's shoulder  Did those guys only just meet?

Dave sacrifices himself to save the day. The alien spaceship takes off, defeated.  Then Dave appears, unharmed, in a clown car shuttlecraft.   Debbie rushes up to hug him.  Then Mike rushes up, and all three hug.

Fade out to pies in the face.

I count three gay-subtext couples and no heterosexual hijinks except for a brief kiss.  Not even any female nudity.

Producers/writers/directors Charles and Stephen Chiodo, along with a third brother, Edward, are well known animators, graphic artists, make up artists, and puppeteers, with projects as  I Go Pogo, Critters, The Lost Boys, Land of the Lost, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The American Music Awards. This is their only full-length movie: apparently they created some scary clowns and wrote a script to go with them.  Gay subtexts were probably unintentional.

On the other hand, I was unable to find any reference to Charles Chiodo having a wife.  Maybe he's gay.


  1. The gay subtext is beyond obvious - could the alien clowns be read a gay too?

  2. A very clever science fiction horror movie with yes plenty of gay subtext

  3. The theme song by The Dickies has been a favorite since I first saw the movie on VHS. It revolves through my Halloween playlist every year. Spirit Halloween had a lot of merch from this film last year. I love my large coffee mug.

  4. "Why have I not seen Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) before?"
    When would you have had available time to do so?


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