The horror genre has a knack for subverting seemingly innocent concepts into excuses for terror. After all, scary stories are filled with terrifying little children who become spooky ghosts and cute dolls come to life with murderous intent. One of the most well-known examples of this metaphor is the clown, a character so widely reused for horror that most people now know about them as instruments of evil rather than as silly entertainers.
Over the years, we’ve seen a plethora of supernatural and dependent on earthly clowns masquerading as harmless clowns in order to lure their victims with a false sense of security. However, not all clowns are created equal, some of them have managed to turn their playful makeup and funny behavior into the stuff of nightmares. That’s why we came up with this list to celebrate six of the scariest killer clowns in horror, as there are quite a few to choose from.
While this ranking is clearly based on personal opinion, we will choose characters according to the factor of horror and memorability, regardless of the overall quality of which movie they came from. As usual, don’t forget to comment below with your favorite killer clowns if you think we missed out on an important clown.
Now, on the list. Beware of Coulrophobias…
6. Clown – The Clown (2014)
Before Marvel’s Last Helming Spider Man Trilogy, director John Watts tried his hand at the 2014 clown-flick horror film aptly titled tumbler. Combining supernatural metaphors with physical horror, the film tells the story of an unlucky real estate agent who is cursed after dressing up as an old clown slowly transforms him into an Icelandic child-eating demon.
Not only is this predatory clown beast scary to look at, with a creepy design from Alterian, Inc. (which helped create the iconic Daft Punk helmets), but the curse elements are horrific, too. Seeing the main character’s body transform into a demonic satire of a ridiculous costumed artist may have been at first, but it somehow makes things even rougher when this innocent man’s life is torn apart by forces beyond his control.
5. Violator / Joker – Spawn (1997)
even for life spawn A fan like me has a hard time defending this infamous comic book, but I would still argue that John Leguizamo’s interpretation of Todd MacFarlane’s dissent is one of the best parts of the picture. The character’s makeup and extensive prosthetics are surprisingly faithful to the comics (although Leguizamo compares the costume to a full-body condom), but it’s the actor’s comic performance that makes it stand out.
A demonic guide who aims to guide Hellspawn as they seek to recruit evil spirits for the Hell’s Army, Violator earns his place on this list by being one of McFarlane’s scariest creations once he transforms into his true form. If you want to see more of this clown changeover, I highly recommend HBO’s animated adaptation spawnMichael Nicolosi revived the frighteningly Violator movie.
4. Art The Clown – Terrifier (2016)
While he was originally supervising the big screen in the horror anthology every holy eveArt the Clown really came into his own with his 2016 solo movie, horrifying. Created by Damien Lyon and brought to life by David Howard Thornton, this supernatural evil clown has no apparent motive for his brutal Halloween murder.
Unusually for an evil villain, the mime-like art is known for being very expressive despite not uttering a single word, often mocking and mocking its victims before sending them off in increasingly cruel ways. Thornton claims to have modeled his performances on DC’s Charlie Chaplin and Joker, giving the character more depth than most other slashers.
3. Killer Klowns – Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
Obviously, a list of killer clowns wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Chiodo Brothers’ horror-comedy work Killer clowns from outer spacewhich introduced the world to a group of deadly aliens who happen to look like the gruesome clowns of Earth.
While there’s no specific clown from the movie that’s more scary than the others (although my favorite is Jojo the Clownzilla), the entire band earns a spot on this list due to their quirky way of working, with the Klowns sending Earthlings with their silly circus theme. Weapons and powers. These alien invaders may have a certain goofy charm, but they were likely responsible for the massive coulrophobia epidemic of the late 1980s.
2 – Captain Spaulding – House of a Thousand Corpses (2003)
From classic blaxploitation exploits to Tarantino flicks, legendary Sid Haig has left behind an impressive cinematic legacy. However, I think it’s safe to say that his most famous character is Captain Spaulding, who debuted in 2003. The house of 1000 corpses. Serial murder clown With a penchant for fried chicken and sinister insults, Spaulding is one of Rob Zombie’s most compelling and infernal creations of a scary clown.
Spaulding truly became a horror legend in 2006 refuse the devil, where he leads survivors of the Firefly family as they escape from Sheriff Wedel as they engage in top-secret clown business along the way. The scariest part of the character was Haig’s ability to make him extremely likable one moment and truly intimidating the next, playing with audience expectations in every scene in which he appeared.
1. Pennywise – It (2017)
The head of the World Clowns Association directly blamed Stephen King for the bad reputation of his profession, so it’s no surprise that Pennywise took first place as the scariest killer clown in awe. While I’m a huge fan of Tim Curry’s charming take on the multi-dimensional villain, it’s Bill Skarsgård’s creepy performance that takes the cake as the most fearsome incarnation of this infernal creature.
A recurring curse that devours the children of Derry every 27 years, Pennywise is notorious for taking the shape of a clown precisely so that he can trick children into falling into his hilarious behaviors before making them fall victim to the frenzy, deadly lightsabers. When it comes to killer clowns, this clown is hard to beat.