Ah, the clown, originally conceived to bring joy and happiness to all, and yet, somewhere along the line, has transformed into one of the scariest figures of Hollywood’s horror movies and films. It is estimated that somewhere around 12% of the U.S. population has some level of aversion to clowns. While the American Psychiatric Association doesn’t list the fear of clowns as an official disorder, the term “coulrophobia” has been coined to pay respect to the very real fear so many have of these “comic” entertainers. Whether it’s a badge of pride or shame, some researchers believe that the release of Steven Spielberg’s horror film, “It,” increased cases of coulrophobia by a whopping 90%. Which leads us to our list – the top 10 scariest clowns in movies.
10. Zombie Clown
Zombieland (2009): Sometimes, combining two things can produce dreamy results, like peanut butter and jelly or vodka and orange juice. But in the case of the Zombie Clown, it has produced a nightmare.
9. Frowny the Clown
Clown (2014): When a wholesome family man puts on a clown suit, he transforms into a demonic, child-eating monster named “Frowny the Clown.” Think Jim Carey from “The Mask,” except with cannibalistic tendencies.
8. Gurdy the Clown
100 Tears (2007): After being accused of a crime he did not commit, Gurdy comes after the people who have tainted his name. A vengeful person is scary enough, but a vengeful clown should send chills down your spine.
7. The Laugh
Amusement (2008): Listen to your mother’s advice to always be nice to everyone. The Laugh revisits the mean girls from his childhood and murders them.
6. Twisty the Clown
American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014): Okay, this isn’t a movie, but this scary clown deserves to be on this list. After being labeled a child molester, Twisty tries to reclaim his good name by “protecting” children through kidnapping and murder. Twisty must’ve skipped “protecting” in the dictionary.
5. Billy the Puppet
Saw (2004): In the Saw series, Billy became Jigsaw’s messenger to the victims, bringing bad news on a bicycle with his clown-like look. But truthfully, his presence doesn’t give you a sense of relief—it gives you a sense of fear.
4. The Joker
The Dark Knight (2008): Knock-knock jokes aren’t The Joker’s strong suit. Instead, he’s brilliant at foiling Batman’s plans and instilling fear in Gotham City.
Gacy (2003): Don’t be fooled by the wig, heavy makeup, and oversized clothes: Pogo was based on a real-life serial killer and rapist, John Wayne Gacy. We’ll spare you the details.
2. The Poltergeist Doll
Poltergeist (1982): The 80’s classic that gave an entire generation of children sleepless nights. The ghosts weren’t the only haunting apparitions in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated screenplay.
1. Pennywise the Clown
Stephen King’s IT (1990): When it comes to the scariest clowns in movies, Pennywise really is “It”. As the poster child of coulrophobia, he will forever haunt your dreams and change the way you look at clowns. Don’t close your eyes—you never know what’s waiting.