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The Scariest Clowns in Pop Culture

Scary clowns are coming back in a big way on film and in television. But really, did they ever leave our nightmares?

There was, of course, the recently seen Twisty the Clown on American Horror Story: Freak Show, not to mention the upcoming two-part feature film version of Stephen King’s It in the works at New Line, despite losing True Detective director Cary Fukunaga. Mama‘s Andrés Muschietti is set to take the reigns bringing Pennywise to the big screen next, and more creepy clowns are set to hit our screens soon, from Rob Zombie’s 31, the Eli Roth produced Clown, and Indonesian film Badoet.

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But what makes clowns so scary, anyway? Why is a menacing jokester so unsettling to audiences? There’s no better time to go down that rabbit hole than Nerdoween, so we’re naming off some of the most terrifying culprits. There were clown movies and TV shows that scared us when we were kids–like the clown doll in PoltergeistThe Brave Little Toaster, and Zeebo from Are You Afraid of the Dark?–to horrifying jesters that we probably shouldn’t have seen in the first place.

These are just the tip of the iceberg! The basics of creepy clowns, if you will. We look at movies from around the world, portrayals going back in history, real life urban legends of escaped mental patients masquerading as clowns, and lots more. What are some of your favorites? Tell us in the comments!

Featured Image Credit: DeviantArtist Lee-Howard-Art

Clarke Wolfe writes Horror Happenings for Nerdist every Sunday. You can follow her on Twitter @clarkewolfe.

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