ByItsFearHerself, writer at
ItsFearHerself's Horror Blog

Clowns have always been an object of fear when it comes to horror movies. What triggered the phobia that horror directors, writers, and producers take advantage of? If you ask the people behind the films, they will most likely mention one infamous serial killer. John Wayne Gacy.

The Notorious John Wayne Gacy : Serial Killer!

John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy was the original killer clown, and he was not a figment of someone's imagination. Gacy himself was a real killer clown. Between the years 1972-1978 he had a total of 33 known victims in Chicago, Illinois. He raped, killed and the buried his victims in the crawl space of his home. He was known as Pogo the clown and would attend charity events, birthday parties, and parades. He disguised himself as a clown, making it easier for his victims to initially trust him, or become capable of forced manipulation. John Wayne Gacy to this day is still infamous as being the original and real life killer clown of America.

The Clown Doll from The Poltergeist (1982)

The Clown Doll from The Poltergeist is on the lineup simply because it creates the most tension within a film. As a viewer you spot the creepy clown early on, and you expect the worst even though throughout the film it proves to honestly just be a clown doll. However, just as expected, it turns and it becomes hideous, if you didn't already think so earlier. The Clown Doll is very still and quiet, yet extremely creepy and terrifying to say the least.

Pennywise from It (1990)

Pennywise from It is undoubtedly the most notorious horror clown to date. He's there to torture the young and the old. He's very deceptive and manipulative when it comes to his victims. For example, if you're a child he'll lure you in with a balloon and toys. He shows up everywhere making him even more terrifying. His signature laugh and point is creepy enough to keep anyone wide awake. Tim Curry who played Pennywise himself had a blast on set. He loved transforming into Pennywise and seeing all the facial expressions he could come up with while in the makeup. Tim Curry sure did play the part, and he played it well.

Captain Spaulding from House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Captain Spaulding happens to be one of the most loved yet dreaded clowns. Created by mastermind Rob Zombie, Spaulding is not only hard to look at, his crass and harsh humor might also rub you the wrong way. His vicious way of mocking his victims and then killing them happens to be his signature style. Sid Haig, who played Spaulding said the basics of Spaulding were from the script. However the extremities of him were all from first hand experiences Haig had himself. Sid did great, and fit the part perfectly. His dirty yet exaggerated makeup definitely leaves an imprint in your memory. It's guaranteed his huge, uncomfortable grin will forever be remembered, and haunt audiences everywhere.

The Joker from The Dark Knight (2008)

The Joker from The Dark Knight, played by Heath Ledger is one of the most memorable clown characters in a film to date. And Ledger's death suddenly after filming has only added to the infamy of this role. The Joker on screen was the most cynical, mad, insane, yet rooted villain ever. Heath at that time already had a huge following and his acting skills were definitely showcased in this film. His slit open smile, jacked limp, and slithery voice gave chills to audiences everywhere. Heath himself was so into the character, he couldn't break out of it ever. When break was called, Ledger was still the Joker. He embodied the character so deeply, the portrayal of The Joker will never be the same. Unfortunately, shortly after filming Ledger passed, making this film, character, and Heath Ledger himself forever memorable.

The Laugh from Amusement (2008)

The Laugh from Amusement is not well known, however he is equally terrifying. The backstory alone for why he's coming for his victims is not extremely complicated, however it's realistic and hits a main theme carried throughout the film. The Laugh, knowing his victims for years, already knows where to find them, get them, and push their buttons. Torturing them with no mercy with his evil, sinister laugh. He portrays a clown doll, when in reality he can and will kill you. The Laugh from Amusement is creative with his kills. And when it comes to setting up his victims, he is very intense and mind bending.You'll hear his laugh before anything, and his laugh will stick with you for a lifetime.

Art The Clown from All Hallows' Eve (2013)

Art The Clown is another underrated horror clown that terrifies many. He approaches his victims through a video tape. As you watch him killing and torturing people thinking it's just a horror film, he comes for you as well. Art is one of the most menacing clowns, simply by his looks. However he also makes sure each kill is a gore fest in itself. He laughs not only at his victim's misfortune but also at your reactions to him. Being the sick twisted clown that he is, he truly enjoys fear, blood, and killing.

Twisty from American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014)

Twisty from American Horror Story: Freakshow (2014)
Twisty from American Horror Story: Freakshow (2014)

Twisty the clown from [American Horror Story](series:206668): Freak Show happens to be the newest clown out, but don't undermine his work at all. Twisty makes not one sound, he simply stares at his victims. He'll either give you a magic show before stabbing you to death. Or he'll show up in the middle of the night to finish you off in your sleep. Twisty really stands out because of his size. In comparison he's extremely large, however he moves the fastest out of all of them. His actions are so beast like and aggressive it's obvious he's only out for one thing: blood. We've only experienced Twisty once last week. However this week I can't wait to see what he has in store for his victims next. Check out American Horror Story: Freak Show every Wednesday night at 10pm on FX.

So, what is it about clowns that absolutely terrifies us? Could it be that they are originally supposed to be an object that brings happiness, laughter, cheer, and a sense of comfort? Could it be their extreme makeup that literally hides the person completely? Especially with the clowns just mentioned, the majority of the makeup artists confessed that the sharp shapes and figures on the clown's face symbolized danger and fear. Which is why most professional clowns that work for events always have circular shapes for their makeup. Whatever it could be, it totally works for audiences everywhere. I mean, we do have a phobia after clowns. Coulrophobia, is real.


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