I’ll definitely listen to Aliens, Clowns & Geeks again, and there are some tracks here that measure up to some of Elfman’s best quirky compositions.
I recently watched Richard Elfman’s wildly out of control cult comedy Aliens, Clowns & Geeks, which is about an out-of-work actor Eddy Pine (Bodhi Elfman) who takes a dump and out plops an obelisk. This object is a precious artifact meant to stop an alien race and a group of killer clowns from space from destroying Earth. That in itself should be enough of a description of the kind of movie this is, and indeed the movie delivers on such a premise. It’s nutballs wackadoodle, but I really enjoy Elfman’s first film The Forbidden Zone, which is a one-of-a-kind cult film from 1980. That was Richard and Danny Elfman’s inventive midnight movie that I like to drag out every year during Halloween parties. It contains Danny’s first score for a film, and it’s pretty much the first time he and his band “The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo” were involved with a movie. It has a lot of signature sounds from Danny and his rock band, with some original songs too, and so I am happy to report that after all these years Danny and Richard have teamed up again for a new project.
If you remember, Richard and Danny teamed up in the ’90s to work on a Full Moon movie called Shrunken Heads (Danny composed the main title for that while Richard directed the film), but with Aliens, Clowns & Geeks the project is much more fleshed out of a collaboration. Danny, along with co-composer Ego Plum (The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, which I saw in a theater a long time ago), have crafted a very lively collection of tunes showcasing a wide array of musical styles, but many of the tracks are distinctly done in Danny / Oingo Boingo’s style, particularly from the early ’80s. If you’re a fan of The Forbidden Zone, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, or some of the early Boingo albums (and some of Mars Attacks too), then fans of those jams will get a real kick out of this. It’s got the wacky, energetic rhythms, beats, and percussion of the Elfman brand, but Ego Plum also gets a lot of track time and space to do his own thing, adding weird bluegrass, songs, and wacky mambo rumbas too.
This is a full-bodied score that lasts over an hour, and I very much enjoyed it a whole heck of a lot more than Danny Elfman’s terrible recent solo album, which I vowed never to listen to again. I’ll definitely listen to Aliens, Clowns & Geeks again, and there are some tracks here that measure up to some of Elfman’s best quirky compositions. While the film may have been a big misfire, I loved the soundtrack, and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat to fans of Elfman’s, fans of Boingo, and to fans of The Forbidden Zone, but there’s obvious crossover appeal here for other spectrums as well.
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