Horror Movies Featuring Evil Clowns

Updated on July 13, 2016

Throughout the decades, many monsters and psychopaths have roamed the pages of novels and drifted across the big screen. Very few of those creatures and crazies have ever quite made the impression that clowns do. I don't know exactly why it is, but clowns can put a fear into the heart of any child with even the kindest of gestures.

When I was young I was once told, a child who doesn't feel the presence of evil at the sight of a clown, is already living in evil's presence. Now, I'm not claiming whether the saying is true or not, because I have no idea, what I do know is that I've never forgotten those words spoken to me over 30 years ago, nor have I ever trusted a clown.

What I'd like to do here is talk about some horror movies that use the clown as their symbol of terror. During this overview, I will occasionally weave in some true life clown facts, just to keep it interesting.

The origin of the word clown is uncertain, but it's thought to have started from a Scandinavian or Teutonic word for clod, which means a boorish fellow.


The first movie I'd like to mention was released in 1990 and was based on the book by Stephen King simply titled "It". In 1960, 4 children were being bullied by some of the other kids, lead by one in particular by the name of Henry Bowers, because of this, they decided to team up and form their own little group.

During the children's time together they each brought to the attention of the others, that they have had some sort of contact or been tormented by a shape-shifting demon named Pennywise. The demon was known throughout history to shape-shift into a clown and feed off the fears of children.

Eventually the children are able to defeat Pennywise, only for it to resurface 30 years later, at that point they are forced to finally finish him off, as adults. Very good movie, definitely worth your time. 5/5

Examples of clown-like comedic performers throughout history have been the pantomimus in ancient Greece, the Lazzi of Commedia dell'Arte, bouffons, and court jesters.


Killer Klowns From Outer Space

The next movie I would like to talk about is the 1988 American horror/comedy, Killer Klowns From Outer Space. The film is about a race of aliens who are attempting to invade Earth, and just so happen to resemble evil clowns.

The basis of the movie is very similar to the 1950s sci-fi B movie plots of aliens invading the Earth, to use humans as their source of food. As with most cheesy horror movies the police don't believe the witnesses tales of these killer klowns and a small group of teens are forced to do battle with the aliens on their own.

The final battle of the movie takes place at the aliens base camp that has grown into a full blown circus complete with sideshows and other attractions. It's certainly a very cheesy B movie but it does have some good qualities especially in the evil clown department. It's not a total waste of time to watch. 3/5


The most ancient clowns have been found in the Fifth dynasty of Egypt, around 2400 BC.


By the year 2000 most new horror movies had already began advancing the quality of their films special effects, in many ways. Killjoy is certainly not one of those movies, by any means. Killjoy is the name and low budget was definitely the game. Even with that in mind, Killjoy the clown still manages to creep you out.

Conjured out of pure anger by a young boy in love, right before his untimely murder at the hands of his loves significant other, killjoy arrives and begins exacting the boys revenge. By tricking his victims into his world, usually through the back of his ice cream truck, he finishes them off in some very strange and unique ways. In the final scene of the film, the remaining trio of survivors decide to go out and celebrate their victory over the evil clown, only to find Killjoy is there to celebrate as well.

This movie was bad, very bad. Killjoy is indeed extremely creepy, but the low quality of the movie makes it a total waste of time. 1/5 is being generous. On a side-note Killjoy 3 is much better, still cheesy but not a bad film, and it contains a few more evil clowns than the others.


The next movie isn't based on any actual killer clowns but rather a supernatural force, that just so happens to take possession of a clown doll in a couple of scenes. That's right, I'm referring to Poltergeist.

The movie begins with a young girl (Carol Anne) being abducted from her family by obsessive spirits or poltergeists led by a demon, after she watches way to much television apparently. The movie doesn't really start to get creepy for me until the scene where the clown doll comes to life and attempts to kill Carol Anne's older brother, with it's ever lengthening arms. In the end the family retrieves Carol Anne and they manage to escape from the house before it is sucked into another dimension.

All in all, not to bad of a movie, it was pretty great back in it's time of release in the 1980s but it doesn't really match up to the quality of other paranormal thrillers. 3/5

The concept of the evil clown is related to the irrational fear of clowns, known as coulrophobia.


John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer and rapist, who was also known by the nickname "Killer Clown".


Well, seeing as how our latest true fact is based on this insane individual, it's only fitting that we mention the movie named after him. The movie Gacy is a 2003 release based on the crimes of John Wayne Gacy also known by his alter ego Pogo the clown or just simply Killer Clown.

When convicted, Gacy had brutally murdered at least 30 young men and boys. He was known, more often then not, to sexually abuse his victims before killing them and often burying them in the crawl space of his home. The nickname was derived from the fact, that he often dressed like a clown for children at large public functions or charity events, during his public life.

He was eventually tried and executed in Illinois at Stateville penitentiary in 1996. After incarceration Gacy was known to paint pictures of clowns and autograph photos of himself dressed as Pogo for the amusement of some very morbid collectors. The movie isn't to bad, not as good as some of the books on the subject but still worth watching. 4/5


A study by the University of Sheffield concluded that clowns are universally disliked by children.

House of 1000 Corpses

Last but not least, I would like to mention my favorite horror movie, involving a clown. House Of 1000 Corpses, it is a film released in 2003, written and directed by Rob Zombie, surrounding the lives of a family of miscreants led by a clown by the name of Captain Spaulding.

The setting takes place in 1977, two couples are traveling across the country on a journey to see all the offbeat attractions they can find, for a book they're currently writing. Along the way they happen across Captain Spaulding while visiting his very odd gas station/freakshow.

While they are there Spaulding shares the story of Dr. Satan, a local psychiatric doctor turned crazy, and the group is immediately intent on finding out more about this legend. After leaving Spaulding the group pick up a female hitch hiker who leads them back to her home, where they finally learn the facts about Dr. Satan that they were so eagerly searching for.

This is an excellent movie. Rob Zombie has taken it upon himself to extract the fears from several different sources and blend them together into his movie. 5/5 The Devil's Rejects is the sequel to this movie and definitely a must watch as well. 5/5


Final Thought

I don't know if I will ever be truly convinced that clowns aren't evil. I have never known a clown personally, I've never heard of someone applying for a clown job and I've certainly never met a woman who has dated a clown. No, they just show up out of nowhere, piling out of their insanely small clown cars and wreaking havoc upon the world with their squirting flowers and pie throwing, hiding their evil grins behind a layer of makeup. They rarely speak, they do unnatural things to balloons and purposely hurt weaker clowns solely for amusement. That all just seems a little to evil to me, personally, I'll never trust a clown.

DS Duby

What's your opinion of clowns?

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    • profile image

      D S Dubies friend 3 years ago

      people afraid of clowns + kids afraid of clowns = the presence of demons, clowns invites evil spirits, why?, ill tell you why because demons tells people to become clowns and make toy clowns because it is a sin, why is it a sin because demons are shapeshifters, the words you use has a lot to do with clowns.

    • profile image

      john john 3 years ago

      joker in the cartoon batman kills people , clowns are known for killing, you see joker always kills people and yet batman arrests him knowing he will escape and kill more people, there is no such thing as good clowns because a fountain cannot spring forth sweet and bitter water at the same time.

    • profile image

      luis 3 years ago

      if some people and most kids are afraid of clowns, then it means clowns carry evil presence with them which means clowns are inspiration from demons its all to obvious.

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Yeah I don't like spiders either, I've done a lot of work in tight dark places and I'd rather run into a rabid opossum than a family of spiders. They're way creepier than clowns.

    • Miss Mimi profile image

      Miss Mimi 5 years ago from On the road again

      I know what you mean, I saw Arachnophobia when I was too young and have hated anything even remotely spider-like ever since!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Lol yeah I guess I am a bit backwards in my fear/hate thought patterns. One of the fist horror movies I saw as a kid that actually scared me was about a clown but I can't remember it's name only that it really freaked me out, I just haven't been amused by them since. But then again if I actually knew clowns without their costumes I'm sure my opinion would change drastically. Thanks for reading and commenting

    • Miss Mimi profile image

      Miss Mimi 5 years ago from On the road again

      I really like the way you formatted this article, some of the facts are things I didn't know before (and working in the circus I know a few clowns). It's a bit funny to me that you have so much zombie and horror stuff all over your page, but hate clowns so much when for me it's just the opposite! I know so many clowns that they don't bother me at all, but I can't watch even mildly scary movies about other fear triggers without turning on every light in the house and holding somebody's hand!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks NateB11 I have got to agree clowns are just plain weird.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 5 years ago from California, United States of America

      Interesting and entertaining stuff, I'm going to have to check out some of those movies, especially the Rob Zombie movies. I've known a lot of people who were afraid of clowns, and though I'm not scared of them, I can see why people find them scary; they're just weird: Look weird and behave weird. It doesn't help that Gacy was a clown and a real life terror. Enjoyed reading this one very much.

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks for reading and commenting Skarlet, IT was a very good movie, the fine details put into the movie really made it stand out.

    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 6 years ago from California

      Voted up.

      I love this one. I actually found myself laughing because I was terrified of clowns as a child and they still make me a little ill at ease. The "It" movie was very well done and scary too...

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Stephen King's it was very intensifying on the movie screen and in the book, I can see how IT could make you feel that way. Thank you for reading and commenting Vampsdes.

    • Vampsdes profile image

      Vampsdes 6 years ago from Missouri, US

      I personally am afraid of clowns and will probably have some nightmares after reading this so late! My fear all started thanks to Stephen King and his crazy killer clown It! Great hub though voted up!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thank you Rahul, I can't say I fear them I just don't trust them lol,thanks for reading and commenting.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Awesome read my friend!

      I personally am not afraid of clowns.. but my little sister is

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Great comments everyone! Levertis Steele I very much agree with you babies and animals have a much better sense of good and evil than we adults do. Between me and you though I never trusted Bozo either or his friend cookie, lol. Crazymom, I have several friends who are deathly afraid of them, though I have to say I don't think anything scares my wife, and that scares me a little. Tammyswallow that would be terrifying I can see why your brother fears them. I have some long distance friends who have an ATV club and they always wear scary clown masks at events and gatherings. Wilbert I have to agree with you as well a wolf seems tame compared to a sharp toothed killer clown. Thank you everyone for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      Wilbart26 6 years ago

      Hell yeah! They are really not funny! Who would laugh when a clown with sharp teeth is chasing you with a knife on the left hand and a chainsaw on the right hand. LOL! I'd rather seat with a wolf than be with a clown like that, haha, my son is afraid of those freaking clowns.

    • crazymom3 profile image

      crazymom3 6 years ago

      I am married to a man who is trully scared of clowns

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      AHHHHHH!!!! Clowns are terrifying! I don't have the phobia of them but my brother does. There was a man who would drive around all year in a freaky clown mask in our childhood neighborhood and he never got over it. This is a chilling hub.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 6 years ago from Southern Clime

      Bozo the clown was a likeable fellow, I thought. I was never afraid of the circus-type clowns that were sad or happy and proffered a flower to someone or performed clumsy or silly tricks to make their audiences laugh. Of course, I was never close to them because they were on television or at a distance at a circus or state fair.

      BUT, those evil-looking clowns that came on the scenes of movies, such as the ones you have mentioned, were to be greatly feared. Even though I knew that actors were behind the makeup, I always felt a tinge of evil that invaded their characters.

      I do believe that people, even babies, can sense the evil in some things. Have you ever seen a baby cry when too close to some people, even though they appear nice? Other times, the baby reaches out to someone who may not seem so happy. Yet, the baby smiles and waits for that person to do the same.

      Clowns designed to make their audiences laugh are good guys, but the ones designed to pump fear into hearts are scoundrels, in my opinion. Well, people do enjoy fear. That is why they pack the theaters and rush to buy the DVD's.

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 6 years ago

      •John Wayne Gacy is the scaries on your list! He was real and was evil! I have seen documentaries on him...scary!

      You are a good writer with many interests!

      Voted up and shared!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      It is crazy how one profession can be on both ends of the scope like that. John Wayne Gacy was actually a great true life example of that. Though he wasn't a clown by profession he was very well known for it. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Lil Miss Reader profile image

      Stephany 6 years ago from Somerset New Jersey

      Very informative. I honestly don't mind clowns, especailly since my grandmother has been collectiong ceramic clowns and clown pictures since I was a child. However I will admit that when I go through a haunted house and there's a clown,I try to walk a little faster. It creeps me out that there's clowns at kids bday parties during the day and then at night they moonlight as killers in the haunted houses. Just not right.

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      I agree Grim Master they're very distrusting, but I still think their evil, at least the full timers lol Thanks for coming by and commenting it's very appreciated.

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      BayAreaLawyer thank you for stopping by and commenting, it's funny you mentioned HBO, because that is where I first watched Killer Klowns From Outer Space along with many,many other B rated horror movies.

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      I can totally relate to that, thanks again for taking the time to read my hub and commenting.

    • Jennifer Eugenia profile image

      Jennifer Eugenia 6 years ago from Illinois, United States

      Pictures of clowns just creep me out!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Well I'm happy you enjoyed the article but what was it you didn't like about the pictures?

    • Jennifer Eugenia profile image

      Jennifer Eugenia 6 years ago from Illinois, United States

      I hate clowns but i couldn't help but read this article just because I was curios about what other people thought of them.. I didn't like the pictures but the article was very interesting .

    • BayAreaLawyer profile image

      BayAreaLawyer 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Love Killer Klowns... an HBO and Cinemax staple in 80s and 90s!

    • Grim Master profile image

      Grim Master 6 years ago from Below the Earth

      Clowns certainly have this aura about them that reeks of a wolf in sheep's clothing. Now I don't think every clown is evil, but the nature of them does seem utterly distrusting.

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks for reading my article, I appreciate the comment also. I actually voted hate in the poll also, it's not so much a fear for me as it is a distrust. I watch a pretty wide variety of horror movies my all time favorites are usually slightly cheesy with a fair amount of comedy mixed in. Thanks again.

    • OldWitchcraft profile image

      OldWitchcraft 6 years ago from The Atmosphere

      I kinda like Rob Zombie. A fellow fan made me watch House of 1000 Corpses. Not my kind of thing - I like my horror more psychological and less psychopathic. I've dealt with too many real life psychopaths, so I like horror to be fun... But, clearly the clown is there because its an established fact that people are creeped out by them and anybody who is a clown might be a little nuts.

      Anyway, I'm not a fan of the clown. I gave it a "hate" in your poll. I wouldn't avoid clown movies. I don't really have a fear of them. Maybe they're actually more fun for people who are a little scared of them.

      I'm giving you a vote up and accolades!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thank you for reading and commenting, I would love to read about how your cousin feels about clowns.

    • profile image

      DigbyAdams 6 years ago

      Wow, I've got to show this to my cousin. She's insanely terrified of clowns. When she was six her parents hired a clown for her party, it didn't work out well. That's when we all found out how she feels about clowns. I'm going to send her a link to this hub. If she can bear to look at the clown photos, I'm sure she'll have some entertaining comments. Oh, and I really enjoyed your writing and interesting clown tidbits and commentary!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 6 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thank you for the kind words and I agree Pennywise (Tim Curry) owned that role in "It" just as Heath Ledger did in his role as the Joker they took control and made it their own. Thanks again

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 6 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Very interesting read. It's no lie nor am I ashamed that I'm terrified of clowns ever since I saw Stephen King's IT at a young age. I'm traumatized by the beasts, but they're either scary or terrifying - there's no fearless factor about them, and that's why they're popular.

      By far, Tim Curry's role as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in King's IT is the most convincing and horrifying. While I love Captain Spaulding, he's more of a comic book villain (a very graphic one that probably belongs in a horror version of "The Boys") and he's hilarious in The Devil's Rejects.

      Great Hub, voted up, funny, awesome and interesting. ^^


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