The fantastically successful reboot of Stephen King’s It got us thinking about clowns—and not just any clowns. Evil, killer, horrifying clowns.
The Evil Clown is a classic horror trope, thanks to the all-too-real fear shared by thousands, if not more. Do the supposedly cheery gents make you as nervous as the rest of us? Take a scroll down this list for the creepiest clowns that will send chills down your spine.
10. Clown Zombie
With his face painted white and electric green puffs of hair sticking out from the sides of his head, Clown Zombie comes in at number 10 on our list. Hitting both the clown and zombie terror factors, this character terrifies despite a total of about five minutes on screen. While Zombieland is mostly a comical take on the zombie trends and tropes popular at the time, the movie’s man-eating clown falls into the realm of our most feared in pop culture.
9. Captain Spaulding
House of 1000 Corpses
Easily the most terrifying part of Rob Zombie’s first film, Captain Spaulding only appears toward the end of House of 1000 Corpses—but he is definitely worth sticking around for.
Known as the puppet of the ‘Jigsaw Killer,’ Billy was used for delivering instructions to the victims of his owner’s deadly games. His ghastly clown appearance is now iconic: a large, pointed nose, protruding cheekbones painted with red spirals, dressed in a red bowtie and riding in on a children’s tricycle. The seeming innocence juxtaposed with the menace of his purpose heightens our fear of this clown.
Also known as Killjoy the Clown or Boss, the next clown on our list is the result of black magic used by those who sought revenge, regardless of what it will cost. He is both a killer clown and demon. Those who summon him pay the price of losing their souls to him. From this, Killjoy is born. He can be found driving an ice cream truck and searching for his next victim. The moral here: Avoid black magic and know the limits of your desires.
6. Pogo the Clown
This clown was all too real. Watch as a town discovers that their seemingly friendly neighbor, who volunteers at hospitals, dresses as a clown, and seems like an okay dude, is actually a serial killer. The true story of John Wayne Gacy may be responsible for a lot of clown fears.
5. Lunatic Cheezo
One of a trio, Cheezo is an escapee from a mental hospital. He and his two buddies run into a traveling circus, kill the three clowns, and steal their costumes. The story follows young Casey, whose life is governed by his fear of clowns. To combat this fear, his brothers take him to the circus. Which circus? The one where Cheezo, Bippo, and Dippo just murdered three clowns and stole their identities.
4. Killer Klown Aliens
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Here’s another classic that falls into the low-budget cult horror film category. The movie opens with a crash landing on Earth. When a young couple goes to investigate, they find a pop-up circus tent in a crater in the ground. It’s a blend of clown fears and alien invasions in this horror/sci-fi film about aliens, who look like clowns. As they start kidnapping humans, two young protagonists gear up to fight these invaders and rescue their friends.
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3. Louis Seagram
Carnival of Souls
This clown isn’t just terrifying because he’s a clown. He’s also a rapist and murderer. In Carnival of Souls, Alex Grant’s mother is raped and murdered by Seagram. Twenty years later, he’s after Alex, too.
This clown offers a different flavor to the horror trope. Our doomed protagonist tries on a clown costume and falls asleep wearing it. Upon awaking, he discovers that the costume has fused with his skin.
The news gets worse. He then learns the costume was actually the skin and hair from a ancient demon, one that can only be satisfied by consuming five children and can only be stopped by being beheaded. Will he find a way to extract himself from the costume or slowly transform into evil incarnate?
1. Pennywise the Dancing Clown
Twenty seven years after his last appearance on screen, Pennywise returns. The famed ancient, shape-shifting evil preys upon the children of Derry, Maine. The iconic white-painted face, red puffs of hair and glowing eyes are certainly familiar to fans of clown horror films, but with his elongated face and menacing grin, Pennywise is an iconic figure in the horror genre.
Featured still from "Clownhouse" via Commercial Pictures