Why do some people dislike clowns? Clowns are supposed to make people laugh, yet in others (myself included) they can provide the opposite effect. A fear of clowns has been termed coulrophobia and as recently as 2016, there was a creepy clown epidemic, where some cities in the United States experienced menacing looking clowns, and eventually would become sighted world-wide.
With the remake of Stephen King’s ‘It’, I wonder if this was the reason behind last year’s clown epidemic. I read the book back in the 1980s and naturally, the only part that stayed in my mind was Pennywise. How could you not be afraid of a clown carrying red balloons and trying to lure small children down sewers? Watching the telemovie only heightened my dislike. I’m still debating whether to go see this new version.
Recently I read an article that Nevada’s Haunted Clown Motel is for sale. A haunted clown motel situated on a deserted highway, next to a cemetery and I instantly had images of ‘Psycho’ in my head, amongst other things. My muse turned to overdrive with the possibilities and I wondered why on earth anyone would want to own a clown motel. Each to their own, I guess, but despite the possibility of it being haunted, I’ll keep my distance thanks! 😉
A dislike of clowns are only heightened (as least for me) when it comes to John Wayne Gacy. It wasn’t until the 1980s that I learned about him, and perhaps he was Stephen King’s inspiration for Pennywise, but either way, he only cemented my dislike of clowns ever since. Dressing up as ‘Pogo the Clown’, performing at parties, charitable events and children’s hospitals was all part of his act in being a valuable member of society. This would eventually earn him the name the ‘Killer Clown’. In the telemovie ‘To Catch a Killer’, Brian Dennehy did such a wonderful job as John Wayne Gacy, that I will always picture him in that role. It was so creepy; I’m not surprised he was nominated for an award for his performance.
I can only speak for myself, but I think one of the reasons for my dislike of clowns is their faces. With their entire faces painted, one cannot see the real person behind them and in the cases of John Wayne Gacy and Pennywise, what lies behind is not good. It can be the same with people wearing masks and why they tend to appear in horror movies. Such things can either frighten or deceive. For me, that’s what makes clowns so scary.
Do you dislike clowns or do you rather like them? Are you going to watch ‘It’? If you’ve already seen ‘It’, what did you think? Would you stay in a haunted clown motel? Did John Wayne Gacy make you dislike clowns or was it Pennywise or perhaps another clown entirely? What do you think makes clowns so scary?
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2 thoughts on “Do You Dislike Clowns?”
It’s definitely interesting how clowns have taken on this malevolent role over time. Part of it definitely lies in characters like Pennywise and Batman’s the Joker, but on some level I think there’s also a way in which the absurdity that is often part of a clown’s style bears some similarities to the “madness” and “otherness” of a villain’s perspective, the way in which both clowns and villains frequently embrace perspectives that are at odds with what seems reasonable and logical.
The Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland) is another character who, while not a clown, embraces a certain “playful insanity”. At first glance there’s nothing dangerous or threatening about him, but the fact that his perspective is so different from our own does lay the foundation for him to stray from common conventions in any number of ways, which could include behavior that he would find harmless, while we would find it most troubling.
The fact that a character is insane makes them unpredictable, and that can easily invoke a certain trepidation.
Hi Adam. You raise an interesting point. I agree there is a level of ‘otherness’ when it comes to certain villains, where some things are taken to extremes, testing how far they can go in pushing the boundaries, whether they are aware of it or not. They certainly make for interesting, though perhaps dangerous, characters.
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