BySarah Gibson, writer at
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Sarah Gibson

Tim Burton's Joker was undeniably the best. Jack Nicholson's 50s gangster twist fit the role perfectly; his permanent, terrifying inhuman smile beaming as he terrorized Gotham City... Shivers.

But, believe it or not, some of the early concepts before Nicholson even signed on to 1989's Batman were just as creepy - and unbelievably different to the Joker we came to know and l̶o̶v̶e̶ fear whole-heartedly.

Concept artist David Russell's sadistic looking Joker is deliciously David Bowie-esque, depicting the climactic battle scenes for the movie as The Joker faces off against Batman in his plane, the Batwing.

Really does look like a guy with a plan...

A plan to kill us all.

Then there were Burton's own sketches, which indicate that he had a totally different vision for The Joker. Totally bizaare, these designs fall somewhere in between wild-haired Quentin Blake illustrations, the 4th Doctor, and your worst childhood nightmares.

I'm just glad this arch-nemesis of Batman never got made:

But, perhaps the most terrifying comes from producer Michael Uslan, the man who bought the rights to Batman and is more or less responsible for the big screen rebirth of the Dark Knight.

Seeing the famous "Here's Johnny" shot of Nicholson from The Shining, in The New York Post, he grabbed some white-out and a marker pen, and transformed the actor into... The Joker!

It would be another 9 years before this version of the supervillain hit the big screen...

Eerily close, right? Don't tell me that's not spooky.

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Do you think any of these creepy concepts would have been better than the one they ended up using?


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