October is a few months away, and the season of the witch is nigh. Horror fans are no doubt itching to watch content filled with gore, jump scares, and supernatural creatures. Clowns often get a bad reputation in the media. Partly due to real-life serial killers who used this disguise in addition to creeps trying to lure kids into the woods back in 2016. Since the release of Stephen King’s IT (2017) and IT: Chapter Two (2019), fear of these characters has intensified and passed on to a new generation of moviegoers.
The term clown is often associated with circus entertainers and medieval jesters who perform comedic acts in front of crowds. Amusement parks and birthday parties are usually what comes to mind. However, this is juxtaposed by the depiction of clowns in the horror genre as mysterious, malevolent, and downright evil. Pennywise the Clown from IT is the quintessential example of the killer clown genre and is therefore excluded. In addition to cult classics like Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Countless films and shows are produced with these antagonists and show no sign of slowing down. Without further ado, here are the top 6 killer clowns to look out for.
Stitches the Clown suffers a fatal wound caused by kids at a birthday party. Six years later, he returns from the dead to exact revenge on those same children. This film is a slasher-comedy and has more of a campy, supernatural theme. The kills are over-the-top, riddled with cheesy one-liners commonly associated with low-budget horror. The murders are equivalent to cartoon violence; the only difference is that there is lots of blood. Stitches is the most light-hearted movie on the list, so that is saying something.
From the mind of Rob Zombie comes the movie 31. It is a psychological thriller that spares no expense when it comes to bloodshed. A group of carnival workers are abducted and forced to compete in sinister games. They have twelve hours to fight for survival against a gang of murderous clowns. This film takes a grounded approach and is a gore-filled fest of carnage. If you are not familiar with Rob Zombie’s work, there is plenty of nudity with explicit violence to match. There are several clowns in this movie, but Doom-Head, deserves an honorable mention as he is the most developed antagonist.
Channel Zero: The Dream Door (2018)
Channel Zero is an anthology show on Syfy based on Creepypasta stories. This particular season titled The Dream Door, centers around a married couple who move into a new home. As the two try to adjust, the tension in their relationship heightens. To make matters worse, a mysterious door appears in the basement. Soon after, a horror is unleashed in the form of a contortionist clown with super strength and a mission to destroy anyone who upsets his friend.
Art the Clown is disgusting as he is masochistic. On Halloween night, a woman named Tara Heyes finds herself pursued by this sinister figure after her friend taunts him at a restaurant. He is relentless in his obsession and spares no one who gets in his way. The most disturbing characteristic about him is that he doesn’t speak. Not a single word is heard from him throughout the entire story. Art commits some of the most heinous acts, viewers might not be able to watch without covering their eyes. Terrifier is a homage to the 80s slasher movies, albeit more visceral in its kill sequences. This is not for the faint of heart. Like Pennywise, he cannot be killed by conventional means.
Clown takes a mythical route to the clown archetype. Kent is a father who wants to make his son happy on his birthday. When the scheduled entertainer doesn’t show up, Kent finds a clown suit locked away in his home. Unfortunately, the suit is cursed and very hard to take off. It causes Kent to develop a disturbing appetite for children. Throughout the film, Kent undergoes an extremely painful and grotesque transformation. It is a battle for both his body and mind, as the suit convinces him to target his own son. This interpretation might be the closest narrative comparison to Stephen King’s IT.
The Clown, aka The Violator, is the central villain of the antihero Spawn. The 1997 film is based on comic book characters created by Todd McFarlane and published by Image Comics. He takes on the appearance of a short, hairy, obese man with a blue face and red eyes. John Leguizamo plays the role exceptionally well, with his gross mannerisms and crass humor. When angered, The Clown can shift into a hulking, monstrous form that stands at 8 feet tall with razor blade teeth and spikes extruding from its body. His abilities include demonic possession, telepathy, super strength, regeneration, and durability. The Clown resides in Hell when he’s not on Earth, manipulating humans to do the bidding of Malebolgia, Lord of Hell.