There's a lot to be said about clowns and how horrifying they are, but we're just gonna quote the original horror icon Lon Chaney: “There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight.” And, you know, that's true... unless it's the moonlight of a ridiculous, unbelievable and absolute classic midnight movie like Killer Klownz From Outer Space (1988) or Blood Harvest (1987). That second one stars Tiny Tim (yeah, the “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” guy) in his first and only lead role as a lovelorn and possibly deranged man that wears clown makeup at all times.
Speaking of Blood Harvest, that's a good example of a trope among the movies of the “clown” subgenre: the Sad (But Still Evil) Clown. There's this little sub-subgenre of movies where people are forced to become murder-clowns by evil forces beyond their control. You see it in stuff like Clown (2014) and 100 Tears (2007). There's also a sad, unwilling, cannibalistic monster clown in the critically-panned horror anthology Scary or Die (2012).
And really, Killer clowns are a staple of short-film horror anthologies. There's a clown short in our personal favorite, The ABCs of Death (“T is for Tickles,” 2011) and another in the inimitable anthology masterpiece from Charles Novell Turner, Tales From The Quadead Zone (1987). For whatever reason—we bet it's because they're horrifying—clowns have a tendency to show up in scary movies all over the place.
Y'see, people always blame IT (1990) for humanity's mass coulrophobia. But we're here to tell you, Pennywise ain't the one. Clowns have always, always been terrifying. Literally, as long as there have been horror movies, there have been horror clowns: The Eccentric Dancer (1900), He Who Gets Slapped (1924) and The Man Who Laughs (1928) are movies about scaryass tragic clowns that predate not just Pennywise and the word “coulrophobia,” but even the Universal Monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula (1931). A distrust of clowns is totally—and rightfully—hardwired into the human brain.
Now, what we totally can (and do!) blame IT for is the rise of what we're calling the Modern Clown. Movies like Killjoy (2000), Fear Of Clowns (2004), Stitches (2012) and a whole slew of terrible, Asylum-tier nonsense like Clownstrophobia (2009) and Clowntergeist (2016). These new clowns aren't here for righteous vengeance like . In some cases they aren't even actually humans. These are demons and undead monsters - or at best serial killers who've embraced the terrifying power of The Clown. All they want is to make bad puns, honk their nose or whatever, and then eat your whole head.
“But what about movies where clowns are good guys?!” we hear you screaming. Well – there aren't many. There's the strange, hilarious Funland (1987) and the Troma mindfuck of Klown Kamp Massacre (2010). Are you one of those weirdos who loves clowns and doesn't get all the hate? There might be something wrong with you.
Hopefully, you're one of those normal, sane horror fiends who recognizes clowns as terrifying and otherworldly hellmonsters. It's not okay to like clowns. Even if you like clowns (sicko) - please, take some time to go through our library and rate any of the clown horror movies that you've already seen. Maybe find a new one to watch.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Released: 27 May 1988 |
Director: Stephen Chiodo
Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town.
Released: 2016-06-17 |
Director: Jon Watts
A loving father finds a clown suit for his son's birthday party, only to realize that it's cursed.
Released: 2013-04-02 |
Director: Conor McMahon
A clown comes back from the dead to haunt those who took his life during a fatal party mishap.
The ABCs of Death
Released: 26 Apr 2013 |
Director: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis...
A 26-chapter anthology that showcases death in all its vicious wonder and brutal beauty.