Clowns in Modern Horror

Traditionally, clowns have been a staple of pop culture and have been loved by all ages. They are the symbols of fun and laughter. They help sell Happy Meals. They are a standard in children’s birthday parties as the jolly man with crazy-colored hair, big feet, bright clothes, wide smiles, and a wide array of balloon animals, tricks, and jokes that makes kids laugh.

They’re even staples in a circus – it’s crazy to think of a circus without at least imagining a clown amidst the crowd, with their loud and funny horns, exaggerated movements, and tiny cars that seem to fit an impossible amount of people in it.

But to people with Coulrophobia – otherwise known as a fear of clowns, they’re anything but bright, cheery, and fun. While it isn’t officially listed as phobia in any diagnostic manual, the fear of clowns is a legitimate fear for so many people. And the horror genre has used this fear, rooted in a clown’s unsettling appearance, as its subject in so many productions.

From Michael Myers’ use of a clown mask during his first murder to undeniable King of Horror Clowns Pennywise, here’s how clowns have starred in modern horror, as detailed by this infographic by Chamber of Horrors NY:


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