So, there’s a little show on FX called American Horror Story, and it is wonderfully creepy. This season’s story, Freak Show, centers around a failing freak show, one of the last, during the 1950’s. Beyond the “freaks” at the show, the series has also decided to bring in a character named Twisty the Clown, who may be the most terrifying character ever seen outside of your nightmares. As scary as that character is, however, it appears that there may be something that can add even more fuel to your bad dreams. What can possibly be more terrifying than a clown? A whole group of angry clowns, and that’s exactly who is attacking the television series by claiming that the series gives clowns a bad name.
If you watched the premiere of AHS: Freak Show last week, you know who Twisty is and understand just how frightening the character can be. Yeah, all that murdering is creepy and all but even creepier is when Twisty actually tries to act like a regular, everyday circus clown, complete with balloon animals. After watching the episode, members of Clowns of America International (why does such a thing even exist?!?) accused the series of painting clowns in a bad light. According to Clowns of America president Glenn Kohlberger:
Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm. They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare. We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or ‘clown fear’.
Ok, sure, I can see that. I mean, even Santa Claus has been made creepier thanks to movies like Silent Night, Deadly Night and 1972’s Tales From the Crypt. However, I don’t know that Hollywood is to blame for the creepiness of clowns. Hell, these beauties were around long before Hollywood had the chance to “sensationalize” their horror.
Even clowns that are aimed at children, such as Bozo the Clown back in the 60’s, are terrifying and that’s with Hollywood trying to make them loveable!
Now, of course, that isn’t to say that Hollywood hasn’t given us our fair share of scary-as-all-hell versions of those painted monstrosities! Movies like IT, Killjoy, House of 1000 Corpses, even the “comedies” Killer Klowns From Outer Space and Zombieland gave most of us nightmares with their frightening depictions of killer clowns.
However, Hollywood isn’t the only outlet for crazy scary clowns. If you haven’t witnessed these cruel (but brilliant) practical jokes yet, it’s time you checked them out!
Or, if you prefer a more “real” example, try out the Wasco Clown, a real-life clown that walks the nighttime streets of a small California town.
Is Twisty worse than these guys? Tough to say but it seems strange that Kohlberger is singling out the FX series over all of the other clowns out there. Then again, perhaps the club’s dwindling membership numbers and the popularity of the series has something to do with it. The organization currently has about 2500 members, which is about 1000 clowns (approximately 4-6 clown cars) less than their numbers back in 2004. Are people avoiding clowns because of Hollywood? Or, have clowns just decided that belonging to an organization limits their ability to scare the bejebus out of the masses? Your guess is as good as mine.
Honestly, clowns are one of those creatures that will always be terrifying, and Hollywood is simply capitalizing on that fear. Take a trip to any haunted house during the Halloween season and you are guaranteed to run into a creepy clown at some point, which just goes to show that it’s not just Hollywood that wants to profit from our fears. Is Hollywood to blame for our fear of clowns? Maybe, maybe not but, in the end, real clowns doing a damn good job of scaring us on their own. Personally, I’d take Twisty over Bozo any day of the week.