A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

The first clown in history will really feel shocked and get depressed, seeing that we are scared of them like hell in the 2000s! Things were not like this even a couple of decades ago. They were funny, charming, and kids loved them.

They were the biggest stars in birthday parties and served us heavenly burgers once! Even pop stars sang songs about them – “Everybody loves a clown…” or “Send in the clowns…”

So, how did everything change? How come they become our worst nightmare?

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

However happy we were with the clowns, still, a few of us were actually scared of them deep down.
It had to be!

The first time the idea of scary clowns got media attention in the 1980 horror movie “Terror on Tour.” Technically, this horror movie doesn’t actually portray any killer clown. It’s about a maniac who puts a clown mask and terrorizes a band.

Still, it was a start.

The first time the idea of a haunting scary clown came to being in horror classic “Poltergeist” (1982).

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

The idea of a scary clown got more traction in the late 1980s. We started seeing an evil clown as a mainstream horror character. Movies like Funland (1987), Blood Harvest (1987), and Out of the Dark (1989).

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

However, these movies were box office catastrophes. Well, being small budget movies, it’s quite normal.
In 1990, the scenes changed as the world witnessed a masterpiece – Stephen King’s IT. The miniseries changed everything. The lovable and funny clowns were not funny anymore. Pennywise made kids cry in the night, even a few adults.

You have to give credit to Tim Curry for making Pennywise of the most iconic image in the pop culture.
I know it’s not a movie, but a miniseries, but the series made the biggest impact developing the haunting image of the scary clown. The series made such a bold statement that we got to see Pennywise in the theaters in recent years.

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

After Pennywise’s appearance in the television and success, there was no stopping to the idea of a scary clown. It just stuck our minds. The miniseries also paved the way to movies like and Carnival Of Souls (1998).

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

By the end of the 1990s, clowns were not funny anymore!

Now, we could only imagine clowns as evil spirits hungry for young children.
In the 2000s, the trend continued. Rob Zombie, the world-famous musician-cum-filmmaker, showered us with some of the best horrors of our generation. He is most notable for his creation of Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009).

Even he launched his filmmaking career with a scary clown movie. His first movie House of 1000 Corpses (2003), was a box office hit. Rob’s second horror-clown movie The Devil’s Rejects (2005) got even better feedback from the box office, making about $20 million worldwide. The movie bagged ten awards too.

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

His 2016 horror-clown movie 31 (2016) was a disaster, though.

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

Finally came the IT in 2017. IT became the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. The movie bagged $700 million worldwide!

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

The sequel, IT: Chapter Two (2019), wasn’t as big as the first one but still managed to make $472.1 million.

A Brief History of Scary Clown Movies

Thus, Pennywise became the most notable scary clown of all time. If you are interested in more movies based on scary clowns, you can watch the following ones –

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
Clownhouse (1989)
Gacy (2003)
Fear of Clowns (2004)
Drive-Thru (2007)
100 Tears (2007)
The Last Circus (2010)
Stitches (2012)
All Hallows’ Eve (2013)