They’re the frightening funnymen from our childhood that made us never want to visit the circus. Below you can see the top 10 scariest clowns in the movies. Who is your favorite evil clown in the movies?
Clown costumes tend to exaggerate the facial features and some body parts, such as hands and feet and noses. This can be read as monstrous or deformed as easily as it can be read as comical. The significant aberrations in a clown's face may alter a person's appearance so much that it enters the so-called uncanny valley—in which a figure is lifelike enough to be disturbing, but not realistic enough to be pleasant—and thus frightens a child so much that they carry this phobia throughout their adult life.
According to a psychology professor at California State University, Northridge, young children are "very reactive to a familiar body type with an unfamiliar face". Researchers who have studied the phobia believe there is some correlation to the uncanny valley effect. Additionally, the fact that much clown behavior is "transgressive" (anti-social behavior) can create feelings of unease.
The contemporary "evil clown" archetype develops in the 1980s, notably popularized by Stephen King's It, and perhaps influenced by John Wayne Gacy, a real-life serial killer dubbed the Killer Clown in 1978. Killer Klowns from Outer Space was a 1988 horror comedy dedicated to the topic. The Joker character in the Batman franchise was introduced as early as 1940, and has developed into one of the most-recognizable and iconic fictional characters in popular culture, leading the Wizard magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" ranking in 2006. Krusty the Clown (introduced 1989) is an influential parody of Bozo the Clown in The Simpsons. In episode Lisa's First Word (1992), children's fear of clowns features in the form of Bart being traumatized by an inexpertly-built Krusty the Clown themed bed, repeatedly uttering the phrase "can't sleep, clown'll eat me...". The phrase inspired an Alice Cooper song in the album Dragontown (2001). and became a popular catchphrase. Websites dedicated to evil clowns and the fear of clowns appeared in the late 1990s.
Numerous films on the topic have been produced since the late 1980s. Early examples include the horror films Out of the Dark (1988) and Clownhouse (1989), followed by It (1990), a miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's novel. Examples of the late 1990s to 2000s include Carnival of Souls (1998), The Clown at Midnight (1999), Camp Blood (2000), Killjoy (2000), S.I.C.K. Serial Insane Clown Killer (2003), Fear of Clowns (2004), Within the Woods (2005), Coulrophobia (2006 short film), Secrets of the Clown (2007), 100 Tears (2007), Clownstrophobia (2009); examples of the 2010s include The Last Circus (2010), Klown Kamp Massacre (2010), Gingerclown (2012), Stitches (2012), Sloppy the Psychotic (2012), Bongo: Killer Clown (2014) and Clown (2014). One of the central characters in Álex de la Iglesia's The Last Circus (2010) is a circus's "funny clown" who is a violent psychopath in real life.
Which one is your favorite evil clown movie?