I've done the best Werewolves and Vampire Hunters before, and I think it's time that I tackle the topic of the scariest clowns in cinema history. Coulrophobia is what they call it when someone is scared of clowns. I think it's crazy that being afraid of funnymen has its very own term, to be honest. And, I find it to be a bit ridiculous. We're all afraid of something, but is there really a need to label everything? Either way, regardless of if you're generally terrified of men in painted faces, or if you're just frightened by clowns all together, the ones on this list are sure to make your skin crawl, even if you aren't intimidated by painted up comedians, or suffer from Coulrophobia.
The element that makes clowns so scary isn't the greasepaint, or the over-sized shoes and outfits. What makes them so unsettling and unnerving is the perversion of innocence. Clowns are supposed to represent happiness and fun, and are meant to charm children. But, when you take that concept and turn it on its head, it's quite disturbing. The people we welcome to our parties and into our homes to entertain us and bring us laughs, are the same people who could have alternative motives. Knowing that virtues are manipulated to hurt others is scary-but real situations that people have had to deal with in the past, and still do today.
But, before I start getting into how society is laced with scum who take advantage of purity, I'll keep it plain and simple, and on track. These are the villains that are without a doubt, the most terrifying clowns ever to be put on the big screen. This list does not reflect the films themselves, because if it did, there'd be a whole other list. This is just based on the appearances of clowns, and their ability to frighten audiences.
10. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
Although this movie is classic 80's comedy-horror, these clowns (despite looking goofy) still have a way of being creepy. The fact that they're from outer space is ridiculous, and eerie alien-clowns are a bit hard to swallow, but they're still effective. One minute you're laughing at them, and the next you're cringing.
FUN FACT: Horrorcore rap group, The Insane Clown Posse often sample quotes from this film in their music, most notably on their "The Wraith: Shangri-La" album.
9. Clownhouse (1989)
Jeepers Creepers director Victor Salva directed this home invasion film about three brothers alone in their parents house, who are stalked and hunted out by Bippo, Dippo, and Cheeso, three clowns hellbent on the boys' demise. This brings the terror to your doorstep, quite literally. It's realistic, and it sticks to your bones the way a bad meal does.
FUN FACT: This was Sam Rockwell's (The Green Mile) film debut.
8. Zombieland (2009)
Zombieland is one of the best and entertaining horror-comedies that we've gotten in a long while. And since its release in 2009, we haven't been doused in many superior films of this stature, though many do try. Ironically, the scariest part is also probably the funniest part, and that is when Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) reveals his fear of a zombie-clown attacking him. And it later plays into fruition in an unforgettable confrontation.
FUN FACT: John Carpenter (The Thing) turned down the opportunity to direct Zombieland.
7. Funny Man (1994)
Whatever you do, don't bet your chances in a game of poker against this jester. Because win or lose, you'll be paying dearly. This particular clown kills a man's family off in clever and creative ways. Though the movie isn't overly scary, The Funny Man looks immensely creepy. And he'll taunt you whilst also scaring you...or killing you.
FUN FACT: Christopher Lee (Sleepy Hollow) filmed his key role in just one day.
6. The Devil's Rejects (2005)
When heavy metal singer Rob Zombie busted onto the scene in 2003 with his directorial debut House of 1000 Corpses, he not only gained a cult following, he birthed the greatest on-screen horror icon in the past 15 years. Captain Spaulding, played to perfection by Sid Haig is the perfect definition of the guy that you love to hate. He's so disturbed and deprived, but he's funny as hell, and has become known all over the world for his entertaining antics. Especially after the smash hit sequel, The Devil's Rejects.
FUN FACT: Won Most Vile Villain(s) (for the Firefly family) and Best Horror Movie at the 2006 Scream Awards.
5. Killjoy (2000)
I don't honestly think that there's anyone who can justify Killjoy as a good movie. Yeah, it's fun, it's funny, and the clown, Killjoy, is nasty as hell looking. As a film, Killjoy is a train wreck only to be enjoyed by those easily scared, or who are looking to have a good time, and can appreciate how bad it is. But, Killjoy himself is a scary looking clown. I guarantee he'd give small children wild nightmares.
MEMORABLE QUOTE: "Shut the **** up, before I smoke yo punk ass!"
4. Amusement (2008)
This is a clown that is only featured momentarily in the 2008 torture-porn flick, Amusement. The antagonist dresses up as a clown, and sits in a room full of clown dolls of all shapes and sizes. When the babysitter comes home and goes to lay down, she notices something is awry. It's probably the best scene in the movie, and the one everyone brings up when discussing the movie.
FUN FACT: Filmed in November of 2006 to January 2007, given a limited release in Thailand in October 2008, but not given a wide release until early 2009. Its release stateside was in January 2009.
3. All Hallows Eve (2013)
I just viewed this for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and there's no way that Art the clown wasn't going to make this list. He's easily the scariest modern-day movie clown. I am not personally afraid of clowns, but this one creeps me out big time. All Hallows Eve could have been a better movie, but it's good, and packs on the scares.
FUN FACT: The Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is briefly mentioned.
2. Poltergeist (1982)
Tobe Hooper, director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre brought Poltergeist into the world in 1982. And since then, everyone has been terrified of clown dolls. I mean, it's bad enough when you have a guy coming at you, but when your own toys are attacking you, it's time to get the hell out of dodge. I will never have a clown doll that looks like the one in Poltergeist in my house. Ever.
FUN FACT: The production crew used real human skeletons because it was cheaper to purchase them instead of plastic ones.
1. It (1990)
Now, I know that Pennywise wasn't the first scary cinema clown, but I'm going to go ahead and give him the credit of being the first truly terrifying one. Let's face it, Tim Curry's portrayal of the iconic clown from the television adaption of Stephen King's novel is the reason most people are afraid of clowns! That's the truth. It's also why most people don't like watching movies with clowns in them. If there's one thing that does not mix well for those with Coulrophobia, it's Stephen King and killer clowns.
FUN FACT: On the DVD commentary track, the actors note that Tim Curry's characterization of Pennywise was so creepy and realistic that everyone avoided him during the filming.
So, do clowns scare you? What clown are you afraid of?
(Trivia and quote source: IMDb)