11 of the creepiest clowns in horror (you won't believe which clowns made the list)

BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller "IT CHAPTER TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller "IT CHAPTER TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. /

The primary emotion horror movies aim to provoke is fear. They can also create a sense of anxiety and tension and draw out shock and surprise from viewers. One the best subgenres of horror films is hands down clown movies. These types of films can be quite scary for many people, especially those who have coulrophobia, aka an extreme fear of clowns.

They usually center around a bunch of characters being terrorized by a murderous clown or several of them. This can be unsettling for some viewers since clowns are usually associated with joy, laughter, and fun. But in these clown horror movies, the clowns are the antagonists. They're usually evil or malevolent and are out for blood. What many people find scary about clown horror movies, other than the clowns being killers, is their off-putting appearance. The exaggerated facial features and unnatural makeup of the clowns can elicit a sense of eeriness and can fill viewers with unease. Think about it. What's scarier: a murderous clown or a homicidal person dressed in regular clothing? I don't know about you, but I'd say the clown.

There are so many clown horror movies and shows that have come out that feature some of the scariest-looking clowns. So, for fun, we thought we'd share a list of 11 of the creepiest clowns in horror. Of course, we'd start with the creepiest clown there is, Pennywise.

Pennywise from the It film series

Based on Stephen King's 1986 book of the same name, the It film series centers around Pennywise, the evil shape-shifting monster who disguises itself as a clown and preys on children in the fictional town of Derry. In the first film, It, Pennywise terrorizes a group of seven outcast kids who calls themselves The Losers' Club. They must band together to put a stop to the sinister being. In the sequel, It Chapter Two, the story is set 27 years later and those same kids are now adults. Pennywise has returned to Derry to terrorize the town once again, and now The Losers' Club must destroy him once and for all.

Twisty from American Horror Story: Freak Show

Twisty is one of the creepiest clowns I've ever seen on television, so I have to give it to American Horror Story. Once a popular clown turned cold-blood serial killer, Twisty is not one to be messed with. From his tall stature to his wide-grinned prosthetic mask with ragged-looking teeth to his blank stare, I definitely wouldn't want to be trapped in a room with him!

Art the Clown from the Terrifier movies

The sadistic, violent, and completely silent killer clown, Art the Clown, is not only creepy for his appearance, but for the way in which he kills his victims. He inflicts as much as pain and fear as possible in his victims before giving them the most gruesome and gory deaths. You don't want to be caught in his clutches. That's a fact, Jack!

The Clöyne from Eli Roth's Clown

When the clown that's hired to host his son's birthday party is unable to make it, loving father and real estate agent Kent has to quickly find a way to keep his son happy. He discovers an old clown costume in the basement of one of the houses he's selling and decides to put it on to be the entertainment for the birthday party. However, when the party's over and it's time to take off the costume, he finds that he can't remove it.

It's a cursed costume that was made from the skin of an ancient demon called the "Cloyne." As the days go on, Kent begins to undergo a horrifying transformation and starts to exhibit strange behavior including developing an insatiable hunger for children. Now, his wife must do everything she can to try to reverse the demonic curse before it's too late.

The Heads from Rob Zombie's 31

Rob Zombie's 31 centers around a group of carnival workers who are attacked and kidnapped by a group of unknown assailants. They're then held captive in a remote, abandoned building where they are forced to participate in a deadly game called "31," where they must survive being hunted by a gang of homicidal clowns known as the "Heads" for 12 hours. Each clown is more deadly and creepier than the last, so not every carnival worker will make it out alive.

Clown from Haunt

While going to a haunted house attraction on Halloween night can be fun, the group of friends in Haunt experiences a much different haunted house. There are increasingly disturbing and deadly obstacles and masked sadistic killers out for blood. One of the killers they encounter at the haunted house is a person covered with a clown mask who is completely silent. But don't let the silence fool you. He's just as murderous as his fellow members.

Clown from The Jack in the Box

Another evil and creepy-looking clown in horror would have to be the clown from the 2019 British horror flick The Jack in the Box. The clown is actually an ancient evil entity taking on the form of a clown. When an old, cursed Jack-in-the-Box artifact is discovered and opened, the demonic clown inside comes to life and starts wreaking havoc on those around it.

Clown from The Clown at Midnight

The Clown at Midnight follows a bunch teens who are stalked and terrorized by a murderous, deranged clown while trying to restore an abandoned opera house. Sarah Lassez, James Duval, Tatyana Ali, Margot Kidder, Christopher Plummer, and others star in this '90s slasher.

Klowns from Killer Klowns from Outer Space

The clowns in Killer Klowns from Outer Space aren't demons or human beings disguising themselves as clowns. They're a bunch of monstrous, blood-drinking extraterrestrials who resemble evil clowns! One day, they arrive on Earth just outside the fictional town of Crescent Cove, with the intention of killing the townspeople and using them as a food source. Now, it's up to those who are brave enough to put a stop to the alien clowns and save their town from destruction.

Zombie clown from Zombieland

While Zombieland doesn't center around killer clowns, there's one particular scene in which a character comes face to face with the creepiest-looking zombie clown. Although it's a quick scene, it's still impactful. I mean, I couldn't get the zombie clown's appearance out of my head long after I finished the movie. Check out the clip above. The zombie clown appears at the 1:32 mark.

Der Klown from Krampus

After a young boy loses his festive spirit during the Christmas season, he inadvertently summons Krampus, a horned demonic beast, who begins hunting him and his family down along with his killer minions. One of Krampus's minions is Der Klown, a large demonic Jack-in-the-Box toy that has a worm-like body. It uses its tail to wrap its victims and suffocate them and its sharp fangs and huge mouth to consume them. We see this happen in the clip above.

What would you say are the creepiest clowns you've ever seen in horror movies and shows?

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