The Top 6 Scariest Clowns in Horror

Coulrophobia is a term used to describe a fear of clowns. What’s so scary about a clown? Well, there’s plenty of things that have people taking one glimpse at a goofy looking dude in a silly suit and running for their lives. First, clowns have freakily exaggerated features: unusually big hands, huge feet, and a giant red nose. Often enough they have some type of deformity for uniqueness and typically comical relief… yeah, not so funny to the 12 percent of adults in the US who have a panic attack every time they see a clown. The other big thing is not knowing who is inside all that makeup and  floppy, bulky costume that drives peoples’ anxieties out of control.

Of course, horror movies have played on that fear for many years now by featuring creepy clowns who love to kill and bring mayhem wherever they go. Just yesterday was the 28th anniversary of Killer Klowns from Outerspace, which has become a cult classic among horror fans. In honor of that movie, we decided to bring your worst fears directly to you with a list of The Top 6 Scariest Clowns in Horror Movies. Enjoy!

Clown Zombie – Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland was directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. In this horror comedy, the world has been taken over by zombies and there are very few survivors left. The people who have survived, though, have heard that there’s an amusement park in LA that is a zombie free zone – could this be true? Although they know there’s a big chance that the amusement park is destroyed, they set out on a journey to find it and when they finally arrive they couldn’t be happier to see the park still in stable condition without any zombies lurking around. That is until they start riding the rides and a creepy clown zombie appears! The movie was all fun and games until this sick bastard showed his ugly mug– a zombie and a clown, what could be worse? If you haven’t seen this one, please do, not only for the creepy clown but for Bill fucking Murray… and Twinkies.

Captain Spaulding – House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devils Rejects (2005)

The one and only Rob Zombie wrote and directed the horror movie House of 1000 Corpses. In this crazy movie, four people are writing a book about offbeat road attractions. They stumble upon a gas station to ask questions and the clown-faced owner, Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), tells them about his Museum of Monsters and Mayhem as well as the legend of Dr. Satan. They go off to find the area where Dr. Satan was hung and end up picking up a hitchhiker who takes them back to her house where the real fun begins. This was the first appearance of the sick and evil Captain Spaulding – the second appearance was in the sequel, The Devils Rejects. In this one, you get to witness Captain Spaulding at his worse, terrifying and tormenting everyone around him with his wonderfully sadistic commentary. “Why? Don’t we make ya laugh? Aren’t we fuckin’ funny? You best come up with an answer, ’cause I’m gonna come back here and check on you and your momma and if you ain’t got a reason why you hate clowns, I’m gonna kill your whole fucking family.”

The Clown Doll – Poltergeist (1982)

Directed by Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist is one of the best horror tales ever told. In this story, a family moves into a house and shortly after, weird things begin to happen. One of the first instances is when the son is in his room and a clown doll is creepily staring at him. The son throws the jacket over the clown and this foreshadows events that come later. As time goes on, weird paranormal things happen to everyone in the family.  The once seemingly innocent yet creepy clown doll is missing from the boy’s room and when he goes to look for it, the clown pulls him underneath the bed! First of all, I would never have had that clown or any type of creepy doll in my room. If for some reason I did, I would have thrown it out the moment it started giving me the creeps.

Twisty – American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014-2015)

This is one of the newest clowns in horror, bringing laughs by day and terrors by night! Twisty started out innocently enough as a friendly clown, but after years of abuse and neglect, his mind became warped, and a failed attempt at suicide left him horribly deformed. Not only is his appearance terrifying in American Horror Story: Freak Show, his actions are unforgivable. He kidnaps kids from parents whom he deems unworthy and forces them to watch his own talent act, hoping they’ll love him once again. Yeah, beyond the horrible makeup, scary prosthetic mouthpiece, and the horribly stained, smelly costume… I don’t think anyone would want to set foot near him even if he wasn’t viciously killing people. Well, unless you’re a spoiled, psychopathic rich kid named Dandy.

Killer Klowns – Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Directed by Stephen Chiodo, this is one clown story you don’t want to miss EVER! Aliens invade and torture a small town of people, but they’re not your typically friendly E.T. type of aliens. These guys are dressed from head to toe in clown costumes – each with a different look and an eerily painted face. Not only that but they have the most bizarrely awesome weapons ever, even ray guns that capture you inside of a cotton candy cocoon. They are scary clowns with a silly sense of humor, but more than anything they know how to take care of business in style. It takes the town a bit to realize that these clowns are no laughing matter, though! This movie is amazingly cheesy and these fellas are absolutely my favorite clowns of all time!

Pennywise – It (1990)

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and based on the novel by Stephen King, It is one of the scariest clown movies ever! This horror television mini-series stars Tim Curry as Pennywise, who is hands down one of the most iconic clowns in history. In this story, the evil, witty clown terrorizes the children of Derry, Maine. When he claims a victim, a group of kids known as the “The Losers Club” team up to defeat him so that he never harms another child again. Part 2 of the series shows the kids as adults and having to reface their childhood fears as Pennywise is back and ready to bring his mayhem again. But why is Pennywise the scariest clown ever? First of all, if you read the book, you’re guaranteed to have goosebumps and a lasting impression of fear and regret. Basically, if you didn’t have coulrophobia already, you will have after reading IT. Although the movie is nowhere near as good as the book, Tim Curry’s Pennywise is truly terrifying. He has bloodshot eyes, razor sharp pointy teeth, and long claws where his nails should be. He’s more monster than clown and an evil concoction from our nightmares. The first half of the movie is by far better than the second half and plays out like a coming of age movie such as Goonies (1985) and Stand by Me (1986). Either way, it is worthy of seeing at least once despite the second half being rather boring. Just remember,  “We all float down here!”


Well, there you have it, a list that may or may not give you nightmares tonight. If it does, you’re welcome… just kidding! Although these are some of the scariest clowns in horror, many other big shoed, goofily smiled fuckers could qualify. I think Rob Zombie’s 31 is bound to create a few new coulrophobes and will scare the living poo out of people, but we’ll have to wait and see when it’s released in September. Until then, stop clowning around and check out one of these movies, preferably Killer Klowns to celebrate the anniversary! Who do you think is the scariest clown in horror?



About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

Check Also

My Favorite Films Featuring Dark Magic

When it comes to films about magic, I’m not ashamed to say that I love …