STEP ASIDE, PENNYWISE
Everybody loves a clown. So why don’t you?
Because they’re creepy as hell, that’s why.
Look, we get that clowns have feelings too. And we’ve met some great clowns in real life. From party entertainers to circus contortionists, most are truly stand-up folk. They don’t deserve to be slandered in popular media.
But with the recent release of It, based on Stephen King ’s novel of the same name, yet another terrifying cinematic jester has entered the zeitgeist. (And by all accounts, Bill Skarsgard makes a truly scary Pennywise the Clown.)
There’s a fascinatingly fine line between a ha-ha funny clown and a no-no creepy clown, and while psychologists have probably looked into why clowns tap into some deep-seated dread, we’re just here to celebrate the red-nosed, white-faced, nightmare-inducing fiends.
Here are five movies with memorable evil clowns, and where you can find them online… if you dare.
Hidden in the back of Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts’ closet is this low-budget horror flick about a dad who dresses as a clown for his son’s birthday party, and then discovers he can’t get the costume off. Because it’s A DEMON’S SKIN, MUHAHAHA! It’s not a fantastic movie — Watts directed the much better Cop Car between this and Spider-Man: Homecoming — but it really goes all in on the whole creepy party clown thing.
Find it on: Vudu.com Amazon Prime,
This two-part TV movie adaptation of Stephen King ’s book stars Tim Curry as Pennywise, the clown who appears every 27 years to stalk children in the town of Derry. As a four-hour flick it’s a bit slow in stretches (although it does cover a good, meaty chunk of King’s book), but Curry steals pretty much every scene he’s in, and gives Skarsgard some awfully big clown shoes to fill.
Find it on: iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store
Musician Rob Zombie’s first foray into feature film directing wasn’t particularly well-received by critics, but one unforgettable element of the movie (and its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects) is Sid Haig as the foul-mouthed, facepainted, homicidal Captain Spaulding. You do not want to rob him, you do not want to make fun of his store, and you especially do not want to tell him you hate clowns.
Find it on: iTunes, Cineplex Store, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store
The evil spirits infesting the suburban California home in this Steven Spielberg classic come in many forms, but none as unforgettable as that freakin’ clown doll. (See? Clowns can be scary even as DOLLS!) The scene really needs no description, since it’s quite possibly the most memorable sequence in the whole movie, and has been indelibly seared into the mind of anyone who’s seen it. Don’t ever look under the bed.
Find it on: TMN Go, Google Play, Cineplex Store, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store
The title screams hokey low-budget B-movie, and that’s exactly what this is. But it’s a wonderfully self-aware schlockfest, and manages to be silly, funny, weird and gruesome, with some surprisingly decent practical effects for an otherwise poorly shot and terribly acted flick. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must for your Halloween marathon playlist.
Find it on: Tubi.tv, iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store
Clown, far left, Poltergeist, above, and Tim Curry in It.