REVIEW: Amok Time's KILLER KLOWNS (From Outer Space)
Creepy Cool Collectibles From The '88 Cult Classic...
Clowns creep me out. Clowns creep A LOT of people out, so much so that the fear of them is medically diagnosed as "coulrophobia". That fear of clowns has been used to great effect in many horror movies, from Pennywise in Stephen King's IT to Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie's House Of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Arguably the most famous horror clowns, however, come from 1988's campy cult classic, Killer Klowns From Outer Space. While B-Movie silly, the film succeeded by fully embracing clown culture - not only in the appearance of its outlandish alien terrors, but also with its twisted clown-like kills. Cotton candy ray guns and acid cream pies? The Killer Klowns used 'em all.
In 2006, the Killer Klowns (surprisingly) went down in toy history with the first ever Killer Klown action figure. Produced by SOTA Toys as part of their Now Playing series, the figure depicted "Rudy" and was released as two different color variants. As anyone who has seen Killer Klowns From Outer Space knows, the movie was crammed packed full with many different Klown designs (How many clowns fit in a car?). Collectors wanted more, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. SOTA switched hands and Now Playing went the way of the Dodo bird and Spawn action figures, the Killer Klowns' toy future seemingly along with it. Then - in 2008 - a small toy miracle happened. No, Spawn action figures didn't return, but the Killer Klowns did find a new home. Amok Time, a long-standing toy retailer, had announced it would begin to produce their own action figures. Called Monstarz, the series would focus on "niche" horror movie licenses, cult classics if you will, and the Killer Klowns would be one such property to get the Amok Time treatment. It just took awhile to happen...
I'm not precisely sure why it took so long for Amok Time's new Killer Klown action figures to be released. I'm sure having enough money and customer pre-orders were two huge factors - making and selling quality toys is a gamble and far from being cheap. Despite the delay, the fact of the matter is that Amok Time's Killer Klown action figures - "Tiny" and "Shorty" - are here. Like their amazing ROTLD Tarman Zombie (read my review HERE), Amok's Killer Klowns are a labor of love - figures made by die-hard fans FOR the die-hard fans. In stock now at AmokTime.com, each figure priced at $24.99, or order both and save $5 at $44.99 a set.
Bright and colorful, the clam shell packaging for Amok Time's Killer Klowns is sweet eye candy. While Tiny and Shorty are essentially the same figure, they distinctively stand apart with their unique color scemes. Amok took this color approach one step further by wisely applying it to the packaging - vibrant yellow and orange for the blue outfitted Tiny, purple and lime green for the yellow Shorty. The result is a colorful contrast that is sure to please, especially mint on card collectors. The back of each figure's packaging insert is unique as well, with a prominent photo of the figure in hand along with a smaller pic of the other Klown. Some brief text introduces collectors to Amok Time's Monstarz and describes the accessories each figure comes with. "In Space No one Can Eat Ice Cream!" You gotta love that movie tag line.
As mentioned earlier, there were quite a few different Klowns in the film - skinny, fat and everything in between. Shorty is best remembered as the playful Klown with the boxing gloves... that punches a thug's head clean off! As his name implies, Shorty is also the shortest Klown of the bunch. Tiny, on the other hand, is a mystery to me. I don't recall him in the movie and a quick look at the Killer Klowns Wiki doesn't have him listed. That's not to say he doesn't make an appearance - it's been awhile since I've seen the movie. Tiny may very well be an all-new Klown that Amok Time made up as a smart re-use of Shorty. Either way, I don't see how fans can complain - he's a great looking figure. Unless you have a very specific color preference, I don't see how you can buy just one Klown.
The difference between Tiny and Shorty does go beyond their color scheme, however. Take a gander at those psychotic mugs above. You'll note that each figure has it's own distinct face paint design. The patterns on the front of each figure's bozo suit is also unique: pink and green speckled stars for Shorty, yellow spots on Tiny. For having no sculpting differences, the two figures stand apart remarkably.
Articulation, while not extreme, is useful and well constructed. There's a smooth 360 degree swivel at the head for looking side to side and the arms pack some serious motion. While the arms appear to be ball-joints, they are in fact swivels at the shoulders. You'd think this would limit the figure's movement, but it doesn't at all. Combined with swivel/ hinged elbows and swivel wrists, you can get some really cool poses. I had the most fun having the figures practice pugilism; the amount of expressive boxing poses you can achieve is awesome. There are no articulation joints in the legs, but the sculpted stance they are in more than makes up for it. They also stand rather well, though I do wish they included peg holes on their feet so the option to use a display base was there.
Speaking of boxing, each Klown comes with a fair amount of accessories. Included are a set of normal Klown hands and an interchangable set of boxing gloved hands. You'll note that Shorty comes packaged with these already attached, while Tiny comes packed with his standard hands - another subtle difference that sets the two Klowns apart. Switching hands is a pretty straight forward affair of popping off the old hands and popping the new pair on - though the connection is a tad tight. Still, with a little muscle power you'll get them on. Plus the posts are really thick and strong, so there's no fear of breakage.
The normal pair of Klown hands are designed specifically for the remaining accessories: the cool cotton candy ray gun and the acid pie. The right hand grips the colorful blaster firmly, while the left hand is splayed open and can balance a pie when the palm is faced up. It's not a solid connection - something a simple peg and hole system could have fixed - but it gets the job done. Creative types could even insert a magnet for some crazy pie throwing poses. Fun accessories for sure, and if you're like me, you'll have each figure showing them off - boxing gloves for Shorty and ray gun and pie for Tiny.
Fun accessories and even more fun figures. Amok Time has to be commended for getting these two Killer Klowns in the hands of passionate collectors. Where most modern toy companies face the market with safe, big-brand licenses, Amok has accepted the challenge of - let's face it - a pretty obscure property. It may have taken awhile to get these figures made, but unlike so many failed figure projects that have come and gone, Amok Time - and their loyal fan base - never gave up. Send in the Klowns! Get your Killer Klowns at AmokTime.com.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Samples Courtesy of Amok Time
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