The Joker by Todd Phillips conquered Venice while the Clown Pennywise returned to Italian screens in the sequel IT Chapter 2. Joaquin Phoenix has provided a very personal incarnation of the iconic villain completely unhooked from the comics, while Bill Skarsgård is back as the atavistic and starving malignant incarnation that the members of the now-grown Losers Club will have to face again, to put an end once in a while. all to the slaughter of innocents that every 27 years strikes the town of Derry in Maine.
Pennywise is just one of the many horror incarnations of the clown or clown figure, if you prefer. Once funny, colorful and reassuring figures, horror and slasher cinema first, and the web later, have contributed over time to transform clowns into disturbing figures that hide monsters, killers, demons or even zombies from time to time under the heavy make-up and amused doing.
The ranking that we are going to offer you ranges in a wide range of clowns that have very little fun. It starts with two icons such as Pennywise and the Joker and then ranges from demonic clowns to serial-killers for 10 films that represented the dark side behind the red nose, big shoes and contagious laughter.
1. Pennywise the Clown Dancer
The clown Pennywise is one of the incarnations that the shape-shifting entity known as IT hires to terrorize and feed on kids and their fears in writer Stephen King’s horror masterpiece. The first incarnation in the 90s TV miniseries was played by a masterful Tim Curry who portrayed a classic clown in a mix of playful childish fascination and terrifyingly barely perceptible evil under makeup. Bill Skarsgård’s most recent and “baroque” version has none of that amused fascination, the cinematic Pennywise is pure terror, a ferocious predator who plays with his victims before eating them greedily, an alternative and complementary version of Curry’s clown .
2. The Joker
In our ranking, Batman’s nemesis, the psychopathic clown, could not be missing Joker brought to the screen in various incarnations: from the crazy and amused one of Jack Nicholson in Batman by Tim Burton, heavily indebted to Cesar Romero’s Joker from the iconic 60s TV series, to the more realistic, chaotic and anarchic one of the late Heath Ledger in the film The dark Knight by Christopher Nolan. The two most recent incarnations of the Clown Prince of Crime are the modern and “gangster” look of Jared Leto, played in the film Suicide Squad and the introspective, brutal and ’70s suggestion of Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips, recently acclaimed and awarded at the Venice Film Festival with an unexpected Golden Lion for Best Film.
3. Stitches the Clown
Stitches is a surprising Irish horror comedy full of intriguing macabre gimmicks and with all the trappings to be considered a cult horror. The plot follows a birthday party clown who returns from the grave to take revenge on a group of grown-up children who contributed to his death. The film is directed by Conor McMahon and starred by Tommy Knight, an English actor known for playing Luke Smith in the TV series The Adventures of Sarah Jane And Doctor Who.
4. Pogo the Clown
A ranking of creepy clowns could not fail to draw from reality as well. Under the makeup of Pogo the Clown was none other than the infamous serial-killer John Wayne Gacy who used this disguise to entertain the children of a children’s hospital while transforming the cavity under his house into a mass grave, in which he had buried 30 boys he had tortured and brutally killed after luring them. The story of this serial killer has been told on screen several times, but we recommend the film Gacya 2003 direct-to-video horror film directed by Clive Saunders and starring Mark Holton in the title role.
5. Fucko the Clown
Scary or Die is a 2012 horror anthology made up of five short films on which it stands out Clowned, an interesting horror digression that tells us about a boy who is bitten by an apparently crazy clown, who instead will transmit a sort of virus that will slowly and inexorably transform him into a monstrous carnivorous clown, with a predilection for the flesh of children. Effective special make-up for an intriguing story that recalls horror for some elements Clown by John Watts and Eli Roth released two years later.
6. Captain Spaulding
Under the clown makeup of the horror icon and film serial-killer Captain Spalding is Johnny Lee Johns played by actor Sid Haig in the movies The house of 1000 bodies, The devil’s house and in the near future 3 From Hell by Rob Zombie. Johns is a member and patriarch of the family of psychopaths known as the Firefly. Spaulding in 1971 inaugurated the “Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen” a real museum of horrors that attracts curious and passionate people from all over the country, attracted above all by the legend concerning a local psychopath, the infamous Doctor Satan.
7. The Clöyne Demon
A cursed clown costume is at the center of Clowna supernatural horror produced by Eli Roth and directed by John Watts, future director of the Spider-Man with Tom Holland. Featuring high-level make-up, gore galore and on-screen mutations, it’s an enjoyable film with a nostalgic ’80s refrain and a story that also benefits from an intriguing mythology that reveals how the clown suit is actually the hide of an ancient Icelandic demon known as “Cloyne” who used to devour children.
8. Doom Head
The horror 31 by Rob Zombie tells of a brutal game of massacre that sees a group of employees of an amusement park kidnapped and locked up in a kind of labyrinth where they will have to contend with a team of psychopathic clowns. Among these psychopaths stands out “Doom Head” played by Richard Braker, a sui generis clown who loves torture, heinous murder and hunt down his victims.
9. Art the Clown
Art the Clown after his debut in the horror anthology All Hallows’Eve engages in his first film as a protagonist, the slasher Terrifier 2016 written, co-produced, edited and directed by Damien Leone. In the film Art he is played by actor David Howard Thornton who used his experience of mime to enrich the physicality of the character. The plot of the film follows the psychopathic clown Art who, during the night of Halloween, is intent on terrorizing three young women.
10. Wrinkles the Clown
The Wrinkles clown is a recent product of the web. The character went viral thanks to a video on YouTube in which it comes out from under a child’s bed. Legend has it that Wrinkles is hired by parents who want to punish disobedient children in an exemplary manner. The character became so well known that he even generated a documentary entitled Wrinkles the Clown directed by Michael Beach Nichols.