Clowns. The dastardly white-faced pranksters with big red noses have been terrorizing children for generations. Some people love clowns; sometimes it can be fun to see joyful-looking clowns throwing pies in each other's faces. Most people, however, are deathly afraid of clowns, or at the very least don't want to be close to one. Perhaps it's the makeup that makes them look anything but human, or maybe it's the way they just stand there quietly, unable to communicate with us, instead opting to stare and smile.
Horror movies and several television shows have capitalized on our innate fear of clowns and turned the already creepy fellas into horrific villains that will forever haunt our dreams. But what makes these rainbow-haired freaks so scary? Here are the five traits every scary clown must possess to truly be terrifying.
5. Ability To Pop Up In Places They Don't Belong
Clowns are great and all, if you are at the circus or the fair. However, for some ungodly reason horror clowns always manage to show up in places they really shouldn't be. No one wants to see a clown under their bed, in the back yard, in the sewer, or in any other place that isn't surrounded by laughter and joy. Yet, the clowns of Stephen King's IT, CW's Supernatural, or a dozen other horror-centric movies and TV shows have the strange ability to appear in the most random of locations. Perhaps if clowns just learned to stay where they belong, we wouldn't even be having this conversation right now.
4. Creepy Love Of Children
"Clowns are for children," you might be arguing after reading that headline, but there is a stark difference between being for children and being creepily into children. Every successful horror clown has this trait in common. My least favorite example: the clown from Supernatural's Season 1 "Everybody Loves A Clown." In one of the scariest episodes of Supernatural's sometimes surprisingly scary arsenal, Sam and Dean visit a local carnival when they pass the clown pictured above. It would be alright if the clown just stayed at the carnival, but of course it had to leave the fairgrounds (See: #5). He shows up in the backyard of a young girl and convinces her to "play" with him buy brutally murdering her parents as they sleep. Not cool, clown. And Pennywise from IT was obsessed with children. See? Clowns are creepy, man.
3. Plastered On Smiles
What's scarier than a guy who never stops smiling? Not much. What is it about clowns that they can't frown once in awhile? What are they hiding behind those smug faces? We need answers! There's something locked away in our subconscious that whispers to us, "Don't trust people who don't show emotion." We get incredibly nervous when these terrifying clowns just...smile at us. They don't need to even say anything, just stand there and smile. "Why are you smiling?!" we're tempted to scream. "Why won't you do something?!?" Alas, they never answer, but perhaps that's best. Because perhaps they are thinking, "That person sure would taste good," or, "I want to decorate my room with their skin."
This trait is pretty much essential to all horror villains and psycho killers, but clowns take it to a whole new level. The scariest clowns are those that want to see us bleed. Clowns that get off on murdering people in the most gruesome of ways. Clowns that stab, shoot, mangle, cut, disfigure, crush, and mutilate their unwilling victims. A pointed bloodlust turns even the friendliest-looking of clowns into frenzied killers. Nothing is scarier than a clown dripping with blood fresh from his latest brutal killing.
1. Slightly Beat-Up Clown Costume
The final aspect of every scary clown is the most obvious, yet the most essential: they have to look like a clown. Clowns, for whatever reason, are innately scary. If the scariest clowns from our favorite horror movies like IT or Eli Roth's Clown had just taken off their costumes and run around as normal people it would not have been even half as scary. Who's scared of a normal guy wielding a knife? Oh that's right, probably everyone. Who's scared of a normal guy in a clown costume wielding a knife? Definitely everyone. Putting on those over-sized shoes, those ridiculous jumpsuits with puffy balls, and the white face paint turns a guy we'd label as a "weirdo" into a terrifying force nobody wants to mess with.
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If it weren't already enough to be crazy, these five traits are guaranteed to transform timid, fun-loving clowns into the makings of a nightmare. Showing up places they don't belong to feed off the fears of children in their colorful, creepy costumes, clowns are easily one of the scariest monsters ever created. Why has the horror genre turned what should be a fun carnival treat into creatures that want to kill us all in our sleep? Or awake.