Top 10 Creepy Movie Clowns!

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

Clowns. What the hell is it about clowns that are so damn scary? Is it the pale makeup? The rosy cheeks? The interminable grin? The big red nose? The humongous shoes? Or really, is it the notion of corrupted innocence…the eroded trust of a childhood entertainer gone horribly awry? Well, where ever the deep seeded fear derives from, horror movies have capitalized on such a phobia by turning the clown into quite the formidable foe.

So, with Eli Roth’s CLOWN finally making the rounds this Friday, what better time to finally throw our hat in the ring and crown our favorite of the sort? Ready to do this shite? Let’s go. Above you’ll find our Top 10 Creepy Movie Clowns!


Don’t front, you already knew Pennywise was the most invaluably vile of all movie clowns. We can of course attribute this to Mr. King, the preeminent horror scribe of our time, but let’s not forget what a damn fine actor Tim Curry is, and how thoroughly he immersed himself into an epic 4-hour performance. Seriously? A sewer dwelling killer-clown with jagged piranha teeth and glowing red orbs for eyes? My seven year old self is still petrified! And while it’ll be interesting to see how the remake treats the material, there’s surely no sub able to surpass the original.


Whether quietly inanimate or maniacally dynamic, the oversized clown doll in POLTERGEIST is the stuff 30-year nightmares are made of. Sheesh! What the hell were mama and papa Freeling thinking when giving it to little Robbie in the first place? I mean, look at that sumbitch. The sinister smile, the sprawling red mane, those shark-like chompers…in what world is that an acceptable childhood toy? Such an iconic part of the movie is the clown doll that even the 2015 remake paid odious homage to it, even upping its murderous motion beyond a mere doll and into a quasi-sentient ghoul.


The 1988 slasher joint OUT OF THE DARK is not only a flagrantly nihilistic one, but a shamefully overlooked one as well. Bobo, the clown-masked serial killer in the movie, targets female phone sex operators working for a seedy LA company. The late greats Karen Black and Geoffrey Lewis star in the flick, giving it the kind of gravitas most slasher joints can’t afford. What’s of note here is how sadistic Bobo is, teasing and taunting his victims by making them play out a series of psycho-play moments before their grisly demises. Even though it’s just a clown mask, few of its ilk are more terrifying!


Okay okay, I realize we’ve titled this a litany of Creepy Movie Clowns, but anyone who saw the great John Carrol Lynch suit up as Twisty in the 4th season of American Horror Story Freak Show knows he’s more than a worthy addition to the pantheon of predatory killer clowns. Just look at that grin, for f*cks sake! Clearly just A toothy mouth-mask, what makes this one so damn creepy is that Lynch gets to use his made-up eyes in a way that a full face-mask wouldn’t quite allow. Half real and part artifice, the totality equals something far more macabre than you’d expect from a late-night TV show.


With all due respect, Sid Haig has a rather unnerving face on its own. So when festooned with a Kabuki skin-tone, smeared makeup, raccoon eyes and squirrelly eyebrows…yeah, his over the top turn as Captain Spaulding in HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES is no goddamn joke. In fact, it’s deeply repulsive. There’s a loose, unhinged unpredictability to his character that instantly lets you know he’s capable of doing anything at any time, which only hikes the terror quotient. Campy, yes, no doubt kitschy, but when push comes to shove, Spaulding isn’t the kind to clown around with.


Any Sam Rockwell fans in the house? Well, have you seen the dude running away from a trio of demented maniacs in the 1989 horror flick CLOWNHOUSE? No? Consider it homework then! Not that we condone supporting the odious pedophilic letch that is director Victor Salva, but as far as creepy killer clowns are concerned, Lunatic Cheezo and his two pals Bippo and Dippo are more than worthy of feting. In fact, the movie as a whole is quite solid, as the story sees a triad of mental patients who murder three circus performers before assuming their identity and killing in their stead.


Come on now, don’t act like there was even a thought of not including KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE from this here gruesome gala! Granted, a fine line between adorable camp and cartoonish kitsch could apply to pretty much every clown in the movie, but damn, that wobbly, over-bloated Klownzilla marionette at the very end of the flick is truly an unshakable sight. Seriously, we haven’t seen a red nosed, mouth-foaming clown of that size and stature since Donald Trump. Admit it though, this thing does have slightly better hair!


In our most recent honoree, the Irish import STITCHES also lends a level of levity most on this list fail to achieve. The 2012 horror comedy features English performer Ross Noble as the titular clown who, after being fatally victimized by a mean-spirited prank, returns from the dead to viciously stalk-and-slash the young punks who put him in a grave. That’s right y’all, our first zombie clown on the list! What makes STITCHES so disturbing, aside from the English accent, is just how jokily nonchalant he is while letting more blood than a damn donation bank!


To be candid, we almost awarded a top spot to the rabid zombie clown seen at the theme park toward the end of ZOMBIELAND, but since the naughtily nicknamed The Laugh in AMUSEMENT has a far larger role in his respective film, it is he who we’ve coveted. I mean, just get a gander at the dude’s face…a skeletal, noseless, black-eyed bastard with a crusty mop-top and sinister ear-to-ear grin. No joke indeed! The Laugh vengefully assails the now grown up kids who used to pick on him as a child, preying on three particular gals who never gave the kid anything but a hard time. Straight up, The Laugh will make you cry!


Ah yeah, let us set off this bash with a lesser known but greatly deserving creepy killer clown. Gurdy the Clown to be specific, the meat-clever wielding psychopath in the micro-budgeted NC-17 slasher joint 100 TEARS. Now, this is not a great flick, how could it be with a paltry $75,000 budget? But what it lacks in overall polish the movie more than makes up for with its sadistic savagery and unwavering violence. Gurdy the Clown (Jack Amos) is a portly, cherubic faced lad who feels so slighted he goes around exacting gory revenge.

Tags: Hollywood

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