I don’t know of many horror movie monsters that freak people out as bad as clowns. People with painted faces hiding sinister motives behind imitation smiles. Just like animals in the wild, the brighter and more painted a creature is, it’s almost always deadlier than the more bland members of the species. So why not clowns? They’ve taken on a downright sinister, malevolent place in horror over the last thirty years or so and, despite some people trying to place all the credit for that on Stephen King’s shoulders, the notion of the killer clown has been a part of our daily life. With Halloween -and creepy ass clown season- looming on the horizon, this edition of Beautiful Creatures is devoted to those grinning ghouls in greasepaint. Coulrophobes beware, here comes a clown-drenched listicle from your worst nightmares. The Klowns – Killer Klowns from Outer Space These guys were some of the most comical and downright bizarre monsters I’d ever seen in a creature feature. They were also my introduction into the world of scary clowns. Traveling the universe in a flying saucer that resembled a circus tent and trapping college girls inside balls of cotton candy so they could melt them down and drink their blood, the Killer Klowns use an array of cheesy, clown and circus related gags and gear to bring murder and mayhem to a sleepy college town. Their design is creepy and exaggerated while their behavior ranges from mischievous to unsettlingly lecherous and violent. The two scenes that stands out the most to me involve turning policemen into puppets (literally) and trying to lure a little girl out of a fast food joint while grinning in a way that felt more “creepy uncle” than Killer Klown. Over all, the Klowns are wonderful examples of practical effects in a campy 80’s horror flick but there are definitely some disturbing moments to be had. Stitches – Stitches Every suburbanite kid who ever had a shitty party when they were five probably also had a shitty clown to go with it. Stitches the clown is that archetypical burnt out, alcoholic clown who gets tormented by the snot nosed brats at yet another birthday party. But when the kids’ antics and his own rage intersect in a terrible series of events resulting in his death, the film takes a sudden, much darker turn. Coming back years later as some undead clown creature, not quite a ghost but not a zombie either, he starts doing what bad guys do best in horror films -murdering teenagers. Blowing up heads like balloons and scooping out brains with an ice cream scoop, Stitches adds his own sarcastic, Krueger-esque monologuing to his murder spree. Not quite terrifying but it’s definitely got its creepier moments. Comedian Ross Noble is both hilarious and, at time, horrifying as the villainous clown. The effects are entertaining, borderline cartoonish blood and gore and the story is extremely fun. Zombie Clown – Zombieland “Look at this fucking clown.” Zombieland is one of those horror-comedies that I could watch every day and still find it just as funny as the first time I saw it. Maybe it’s Woody Harrelson’s epic, heroic quest for the last Twinkie on earth? Maybe it’s watching Jessie Eisenberg try desperately to get laid? The finally, close up zombie kill we get is when Columbus (Eisenberg) has to save Witchita and Little Rock who are trapped on an amusement park ride and surrounded by zombies. The final zombie is a large, stereotypical looking clown with green hair, blood smeared face paint, and a big red nose set below his two murderous eyes. The appearance is brief but adds a special layer of popular phobia into the zombie apocalypse as Columbus takes the mallet from the strongman game and bashes the clown’s head in. Sort of like that last, epic boss battle in a video game, it has a sort of satisfaction as we hear his nose honk before the front of his skull caves in and our hero saves the day. Kent – Eli Roth’s Clown A yuppie. A family man. A deranged, child eating nightmare. Yeah, even if I hadn’t started off listing the title of the film, you’d almost immediately recognize it as the gore-saturated work of Eli Roth. The only thing worse than trying (and failing) to balance professional life and family life is the look of utter heartbreak on a small child’s face when he senses his father has let him down once again. Of course, this is easily replaced by the look of abject terror as daddy comes home wearing a stolen clown costume that is made from the flesh of a prehistoric monster who inspired the mythos behind the clown itself. The suit quickly takes hold of the flesh of its new wearer, mutating mind and body into the near unstoppable ancient horror known for slaughtering indiscriminately to feed its own appetites. The movie is suspenseful, gory, and has more than a little bit of dark humor that will certainly send you to hell as you cackle at this clown’s antics. Art the Clown – All Hallows’ Eve Art scares the hell out of me. The first time I watched All Hallows’ Eve this clown mascot and tape bearer whose story is overarching amongst the horror anthology was absolutely the most horrifying thing about the entire movie. With his white suit, white face, and needle thin nose with a blood red cherry at the end of the otherwise white knife, there is absolutely nothing jolly or mirthful about this clown. From his smile to his laughter, every sound, every creeping movement of Art is horrifying and unnerving in ways that really just creep me the hell out even writing about him. Pennywise – IT (1990 & 2017) Pennywise is the monster under your bed. The urban legend you told your kid sister to freak her out. The legend your parents told you so you wouldn’t wander off and talk to strangers. This child murdering, flesh eating, supernatural spider monster wearing a clown skin suit is the stuff of nightmares and has been since he was originally penned in the novel IT by Stephen King. In the subsequent mini-series and now film that have followed, his legend has only grown. A monster who uses the innocence of a child as a lure, the smell of popcorn at a fair that quickly becomes the perfume of a slaughterhouse as he twists balloon animals into your most dreaded fears and feasts on the psychic energy before tearing you limb from limb, trapping your corpse as well as your soul in the swirling depths of his subterranean lair. Because, as you may have heard, we all float down here. Captain Spaulding – House of 1,000 Corpses/The Devil’s Rejects “What’s the matter kid? Don’t you like clowns? Don’t we make you laugh? Aren’t we fuckin’ funny?!” Unlike the other monster clowns in this list, there’s nothing supernatural or beyond normal about Captain Spaulding (portrayed by Sig Haig) but he may just be the quintessential monster from every nightmare you’ve ever had. Everything about Spaulding is filled with so much rage that his indifferent, misanthropic clown appearance becomes a stunning camouflage for the psychotic murderer hiding behind the pain. In fact, that ability to blend so effortlessly into his surroundings, to seem like some harmless, agitated redneck in the middle of nowhere makes him the most terrific of monsters. Like John Wayne Gacy, the famous party clown/serial killer, Spaulding is just another guy on the streets. He’s someone that we’ve all met before. He’s that angry neighbor, the pissy old guy down at the gas station, or any other of a dozen social settings where you find that one person who is just enough of an ass to be unlikable while being just human enough to still be acceptable. Captain Spaulding is a monster you could easily meet the minute you finish this article which makes him, in my opinion, makes him the scariest goddamn clown on this list. Special mention should be made for Pennywise in the IT fan film Pennywise, Killjoy from the Full Moon Entertainment series by the same name, Der Klown from Krampus, the clown doll from Poltergeist, and of course every fucking clown from the Walt Disney film Dumbo. With the new IT hitting theaters a little over two months away from Halloween night, I can only imagine the influx of creepy clowns that we’ll see this season. Lock your doors. Hide your children. And whatever you do, avoid the circus. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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