The 20 Greatest “Killer Clown” Horror Films of All Time
In 1986, Stephen King wrote a story about seven children who were being terrorized by It, this mysterious entity that not only had the ability to shapeshift and change forms, it could also create illusions, regenerate, teleport, control the weather, control minds, and it even could read people’s minds. It would use these abilities to exploit the darkest fears and biggest phobia’s of someone just to lure them in while hunting them down to kill them.
Just a few years later, Warner Bros. created the film version of the novel, which aired as a two-part miniseries on ABC. Although there are many differences between the book and the 1990 film, the biggest was the misconception that It was an evil clown named Pennywise. Pennywise was just one of the many forms It took in the novel but because of Coulrophobia, the miniseries decided to focus on the evil clown more than any other forms It took in the novel.
Coulrophobia, if you have not figured it out by now, is the fear of clowns. An estimated 13% of all adults in the United States suffer from this phobia and the rise of this fear can be traced back to “It” and that scary clown. Of course it did not take Hollywood very long to start making dozens of horror films with evil clowns as the antagonist. So let’s take a look at the 20 Greatest Killer Clown Movies of All Time, as we celebrate the latest version of “It” hitting theaters. Where should “It” rank on this list?
20) The Clown Murders, 1976
- Release Date: September, 17th
- Director: Martyn Burke
- Starring: Stephen Young, Susan Keller, Lawrence Dane
19) Killjoy, 2000
- Release Date: October 24th
- Director: Craig Ross
- Starring: Angel Vargas, Vera Yell, Lee Marks
18) Secrets of the Clown, 2007
- Release Date: September 29th
- Director: Ryan Badalamenti
- Starring: Ryan Badalamenti, Tami Badalamenti, John Blick
17) Dead Clowns, 2004
- Release Date: July 31st
- Director: Steve Sessions
- Starring: Lucien Eisenach, Jeff Samford, Eric Spudic
16) The Clown at Midnight, 1999
- Director: Jean Pellerin
- Starring: Christopher Plummer, Margot Kidder, Sarah Lassez
15) Clown Town, 2016
- Release Date: September 30th
- Director: Tom Nagel
- Starring: Brian Nagel, Lauren Compton, Andrew Staton
14) Funland, 1987
- Director: Michael A. Simpson
- Starring: William Windom, David Lander, Bruce Mahler
13) 100 Tears, 2007
- Release Date: June 23rd
- Director: Marcus Koch
- Starring: Georgia Chris, Joe Davison, Raine Brown
12) Amusement, 2008
- Release Date: January 20th
- Director: John Simpson
- Starring: Katheryn Winnick, Laura Breckenridge, Jessica Lucas
11) Carnival of Souls, 1998
- Release Date: September 21st
- Director: Adam Grossman, Ian Kessner
- Starring: Bobbie Phillips, Shawnee Smith, Larry Miller
10) Scary or Die, 2012
- Release Date: September 11th
- Director: Bob Badway, Michael Emanual, Igor Meglic
- Starring: Bill Oberst Jr, Hali Lula Hudson, Shawn-Caulin Young
- Details: The fun of Scary or Die is enjoying the five different stories that are being told in the film and how they each interlock with the others. This film is among the most underrated on this list and deserves a shot this October.
9) Gacy, 2003
- Release Date: May 13th
- Director: Clive Saunders
- Starring: Mark Holton, Adam Baldwin, Tom Waldman
- Details: John Wayne Gacy is one of the scariest human beings to ever live. He was a model citizen that spent his time volunteering at hospitals dressed as a clown. But what no one knew was that he was kidnapping young men and little boys, bringing them back to his home, and eventually killing them. They still do not know the exact number of deaths he was responsible for but watching him on screen is scarier than anyone could imagine.
8) Clownhouse, 1989
- Release Date: June 1st
- Director: Victor Salva
- Starring: Nathan Forrest Winters, Brian McHugh, Sam Rockwell
- Details: What is scarier than an evil clown? What if you were trapped in a house while three escaped mental patients show up, dressed as clowns, and looking for blood? Clownhouse is older than most of the films on this list but should be given a chance.
7) 31, 2016
- Release Date: September 16th
- Director: Rob Zombie
- Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Lew Temple, Jeff Daniel Phillips
- Details: If you are not a Rob Zombie fan, then you are not going to enjoy this film. But for the rest of us, there is no other director we would want to line up to see and enjoy when it comes to evil clowns.
6) Stitches, 2012
- Release Date: October 26th
- Director: Conor McMahon
- Starring: Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Eoghan McQuinn
- Details: Try to enjoy what a dark comedy starring a dead clown that returns to kill everyone that tortured him and lead to his death. It is one of the best films you will see if you go into it with an open mind about what a horror movie should be. It is not always about dark corners and blood.
5) Clown, 2014
- Release Date: June 17th
- Director: Jon Watts
- Starring: Andy Powers, Laura Allen, Peter Stormare
- Details: Don’t ever leave a clown costume in your basement, let alone put it on. That is the moral of the story from the Eli Roth film “Clown”.
4) The Houses October Built, 2014
- Release Date: October 10th
- Director: Bobby Roe
- Starring: Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe
- Details: When it comes to caught footage movies, The Houses October Built dominates the sub-genre when it comes to clowns and horror films. This movie is all about a group of friends traveling to the scariest haunted houses across the country but end up getting in a little too deep when they find themselves being harassed by a group of clowns.
3) Killer Klowns from Outer Space, 1988
- Release Date: May 20th
- Director: Stephen Chiodo
- Starring: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson
- Details: Horror movies today have desensitized audiences with their need for jump scares and caught footage films. It has become tougher to scare an audience without using some serious psychological story writing. In the case of Killer Klowns from Outer Space, it was not the scariest, in fact, it was cheesy. Yet it worked and remains a cult classic still today.
2) House of 1000 Corpses, 2003
- Release Date: April 11th
- Director: Rob Zombie
- Starring: Sid Haig, Karen Black, Bill Moseley
- Details: When Rob Zombie jumped into the movie making business, fans knew it was going to be epic and he did not disappoint. House of 1000 Corpses is his best work and it is absolutely incredible. From the striking visuals to the appreciation for the classic horror films, this movie gives viewers a whole new approach to the genre that some fans just were not prepared for. If you want to be scared, stick around for Sid Haig’s monologue during his Richard Speck scene.
1) The Last Circus, 2010
- Release Date: September 7th
- Director: Alex de la Iglesia
- Starring: Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Carolina Bang
- Details: The Last Circus is, by far, the greatest overall horror film with clowns ever created. It is a tragic love story between two clowns, Sergio and Javier, and their love for Natalia, a trapeze artist. The story is very sad and dark. Although it might not have been the scariest, it was easily the best of all time, just above Rob Zombie’s film debut.