"What's the matter kid, don't you like clowns? 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 mama, and if you ain't got a reason why you hate clowns, I'm gonna kill your whole fuckin' family."
Clowns are supposed to be funny. They're supposed to make everyone laugh, especially children. This is the entire point of their existence. A truly good clown is supposed to be a Friend To All Children. Sometimes they succeed. But for some people, clowns awaken some primal fear. There are children who won't go near a clown without screaming.
Their face is... fake, corpse-like, most often the makeup they use does NOT help, the emotions aren't real, the smile is just painted on. The outfit and big shoes are downright grotesque. There's something seriously wrong with a clown to some people, and this resonates deep within the part of us that still believes that there is a monster in the closet, that will get out if you don't keep the door closed.
It's uncommon to find clown characters who are genuinely good. More commonly, writers tap into the fear: the Monster Clown is a classic villain. Expect the Monster Clown to parody humor, with classic jokes becoming deadly; acid in the plastic flowers pinned to their lapels and joy buzzers with fatal amounts of voltage, among other things. If they work in a circus, it'll be a Circus of Fear. Likewise, also expect them to crack dark jokes while killing them and laugh maniacally.
Sometimes, a Monster Clown just LOOKS like a clown, and doesn't do what clowns normally do, like tell jokes or work in a circus or go to kids' parties. If there is a clown in a work that just looks like one, it's almost guaranteed that it is a Monster Clown. Because, you know, you just don't go about dressing like a clown without doing anything clowny.
Sooner or later, our heroes will have to put these clowns to the sword. And sometimes not even that stops them. Also take note that many of these clowns may or may not be completely insane and also commit their crimes laughing crazilyand frequently. Also, sometimes you can also expect them to, while committing various horrific crimes, also act in a very similar manner to an overgrown child.
Note there are specific kinds of clowns in the real world. People may fear the auguste, the stereotypical clown who acts and dress the most wildly. Whiteface clowns are unsettling because they are unexpectedly intelligent, even scheming. Character clowns - like Emmett Kelly's "Weary Willie" - by contrast have very muted designs, and can be difficult to identify by the TV audience. You rarely see them anymore.
Real world clowns clown: while clowning is intended to be funny, it can be received as ritualised (self) humiliation, and make modern audiences quite sick to the stomach.
That John Wayne Gacy, one of the most famous serial killers in the United States, worked part-time as a clown doesn't really help their case. You don't want your kids around the Monster Clown, but the character's parents seem oblivious to their kid's fears. The AP once used a stock photo of Gacy for National Clown day.
A 2007 University of Sheffield study found that both young and older children universally fear or dislike clown images. Now a lot of hospital wings for child patients will have to be repainted.
(Quote from the BBC article: Researcher Dr Penny Curtis said: "As adults we make assumptions about what works for children. We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable.")
Sympathetic clowns are generally a little more muted, whether or not this is faithful to the job. Surly clowns who tiredly work with ungrateful children are more common, probably because they speak to the average overworked audience; they may be an example of Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight.
Enemy Mime is a sub-trope of Monster Clown. A villainous clown that is Played for Laughs instead of fear is a Villainous Harlequin. The Depraved Kids Show Host seems to be related. Clowns' ghastly white makeup puts them into White Mask of Doom territory. The Monster Clown is often Affably Evil or Faux Affably Evil.
The opposite of this trope is the (perhaps sadly) rarely seen any more Non-Ironic Clown.
In this E -Trade commercial with the talking baby, the baby says he rented a clown named Bobo, who we see standing in the background making balloon animals, before getting a scared look on his face and saying "And I really underestimated the creepiness." Subverted in that the clown doesn't actually do anything creepy other than just be there. Which may or may not be enough to be freaky for a clown.
A Little Caesar's ad has two girls wandering in the woods. One of them mentions rumors that a deranged clown haunts the forest. As it turns out, they're right, but thankfully he has a liking for cheap pizza.
Anime & Manga
Charlotte the witch from Puella Magi Madoka Magica because her first form is rather innocuous until you provoke her like poor Mami and then she reveals a second form that looks exactly like the clown from It and bites her head off and consumes her whole.
The anime had two robot guards modeled after him. The creators probably thought the show just wouldn't be complete if they didn't use the design.
In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Ryuji Otogi/Duke Devlin's father is a Monster Clown - apparently he was considered too scary for the anime.
There is also Saggi the Dark Clown, a monster card, as well as one of the Player Killers in the manga—who was apparently too creepy for the anime and 'toned down' to, as The Abridged Series put it, "a gay clown".
Specifically, he was a different kind of clown; a ventriloquist with a Perverse Puppet in the shape of Kaiba, who claimed that he had put Kaiba's soul into the doll.
In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Chibodee Crocket developed a pathological fear of clowns after an incident in his childhood when he was kidnapped by a Monster Clown, which lead to the loss of his mother.
Cranked Up to Eleven by Romano, the Gundam Fighter for Neo-Portugal, who not only dresses up as a clown but has a mecha that looks like one. Naturally, he becomes Chibs's next opponent...
Remote has a clown that sings an old folk song whenever someone sees him. In his wake he always leaves a corpse. Or a bomb.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the 3rd season treats us to three matches at the same time — three of the newest heroes against three emotionally-themed Monster Clowns. The Masked Knight of Impassivity used doll-themed cards to push Jesse Anderson to the edge, the Masked Knight of Anger uses an anchor-themed knight to push around fossil-slinging Jim Cook... and the Masked Knight of Laughter hams it up with one-liners against military man Axel Brodie with an appropriate Monster Clown deck featuring Fool Clown and Laugh Exploder.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds there was Jeagar, a former circus clown who became a member of Yliaster and a top-ranking henchman to Rex Godwin, the Big Bad of season one. Calling him evil may be a stretch, however (selfish and arrogant, sure, but probably not evil) and he made a Heel Face Turn eventually.
Gao Gai Gar had the demonic and sleep-disturbing Penchinon. THIS is the clown that eats you. Or turns you into a rampaging monster. BREEEEEE! *shudders*
Penchinon is a pirate. Pagliaccio, the robo speaking Zonder doll that can fold herself into a sphere, is probably a better example.
One Piece has Buggy The Clown, though this is somewhat subverted as he's relatively harmless.
Lafitte, on the other hand, is an extremely soft-spoken, seemingly polite fellow with white face paint and a massive grin that was run out of his home territory for being too brutal in his role as a peace officer, and that's by the standards of an organization that is willing to burn an island and its inhabitants to deal with some snoopy archaeologists.
That's practically the job description of Orgel from Violinist of Hameln. His title is Hell Clown, and making humans suffer and break for fun and profit, by exploiting their fears, weaknesses and insecurities, is not only his personal hobby, but also what his employers might see as a merry performance. Also, he is a demonic parasite, whose true form is his clown mask and whose bodies are dead and reanimated, but still retaining their consciousness, humans. He once takes over a little girl in this way, just because she was nice to Hamel. Then lets Hamel know that he did it, and why he did it.That's actually his idea of a hilarious prank.
Near the end of the anime Skull Man, a team of cyborg soldiers wearing body armor with deranged clown helmets is brought in to take out the titular character, including one insane, shell-shocked cyborg (who, unfortunately, is in charge of artillery and ends up shooting at friend and foe alike.)
Subverted in Yu Yu Hakusho. Suzuki, a contestant in the Dark World Tournament, desperately wants to fit this trope, and it seems like he does after killing some laughing spectators...but then Genkai kicks his ass all over the place. Afterwards, he ditches the makeup and becomes an ally.
From Dragon Quest: Legend of Dai, we have Kill=Vearn. For one, he seems to resemble a medieval court jester, but has an extremely disturbing personality revolving around destroying people all the way past when they cannot fight back, and grinding them to dust. Just to add another freaky clown to it, he has a small helper named Piroro who, it turns out, is the real Monster Clown, being a different kind as well, a demonic ventriloquist who controls his more human sized body like a puppet.
The Akanbes from Smile Pretty Cure take this trope to a previously unseen level. They are the Monsters of the Day employed by the Bad End Kingdom, created by fusing a clown nose containing a Cure Decor with an every day object, meaning that anything can be turned into a literal Monster Clown: from houses, trees to mirrors and even billboards depicting a famous Manzai duo that guess-starred in the show. Then we have Pierrot himself: the emperor of the Bad End Kingdom and a colossal demonic clown bent on bringing the worst ending of the history to the whole world.
Subverted by a short-lived superhero called Funnyman whose schtick was... you guessed it...
Also, the weird-but-superheroic Jack-In-The-Box, from Astro City.
Tim Burton's Batman Returns gives the Penguin a bunch of clowns as henchmen, despite the fact that clowns are more the territory of the Joker. One of them is a young Doug Jones (A.K.A. Abe Sapien A.K.A. The Faun and The Pale Man). According to the production notes, Burton's vision of the Penguin was inspired by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, so a Circus of Fear is a necessity. And in the briefly-mentioned backstory, the Penguin in that version also was a sideshow freak in his childhood, implying that's where his gang comes from.
Death Of The Family: The Joker once again acts as this trope. But he seems to be emphasizing the "Monster" part of the trope this time around.
DC also has the Ragdoll dynasty. The father was a golden age villain with contortionist abilities, who would eventually become a Mansonesque cult leader and eventually regained his youth via a Deal with the Devil. The son lacked his father's natural flexibility, so he remedied it with a series of operations that's left him severely deformed, but with greater flexibility than even his father.
And don't ask about the sister.
NightHawk from Supreme Power, being an Alternate Company Equivalent of Batman, naturally faces off against a homicidal maniac who kills and disguises himself as a party entertainer who was visiting the prison, and then goes on a rampage. But let's just say that NightHawk isn't Batman and hasn't heard of Joker Immunity...
Frenchy from the National Lampoon's Evil Clown Comics feature which ran intermittently in the magazine in the late 80's and early 90's. He was the brainchild of Nick Bakay and Alan Kupperberg, and was not only bitter and diabolical but had... ahem, a way with the ladies as well. Sometimes he was too much even for the proudly non-PC Lampoon, which refused to publish one panel of a particular story.
Pagliacci features Pinkie Pie as a Jokeresque character. You'll never look at that little pink pony the same way again.
Beetlejuice: The title character from the movie. He's actually more of an undead Jerkass than a clown per se, but he does use some carnival-inspired weaponry to dispatch two of his victims.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space suggests that the very presence of clowns and circuses in Earth culture is a warped memory of an ancient visitation by inimical aliens.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown from the 1990 adaptation of Stephen King's book IT, portrayed by Tim Curry. Even the on-set cast and crew were terrified. Even scarier when you realize he's actually an Eldritch Abomination disguised as a clown. Ironically, he chose the clown form to trick children into trusting him.
In Poltergeist, towards the end a toy clown is possessed by evil spirits and ends up attacking the older brother. This was foreshadowed earlier in the movie when the boy covered up the clown with his jacket, because it was staring at him when he went to bed.
The Greatest Show On Earth features a gentle, altruistic, medically-inclined clown who never removes his makeup, even off-duty... because he's on the run for the murder of his wife.
Subverted in The Chase: Charlie Sheen's character Jack Hammond is pegged for a felony because he works part-time as a clown, despite the fact that he was innocent. (He's convicted, however, because a crucial piece of evidence was deemed inadmissible, which led to the events of the titular car chase.)
John Candy starred in a drama/horror film in the '70s titled The Clown Murders which was about a Halloween prank gone wrong. The main enemy was a guy in a clown mask but he only appears for a few seconds in the movie.
And in Day of the Dead, too. It makes you wonder just how quickly the Zombie Apocalypse struck that the poor bastards didn't even have time to change into something more dignified for their trip to the hereafter.
''Quick Change''.Bill Murray's character dresses up as a clown to rob a bank. He's not really evil, though he did endanger the customers and bank personnel (who could have been wounded or killed during the robbery if someone had gotten heroic or the police had charged in guns a' blazing).
Gacy, To Catch a Killer and Dear Mr. Gacy, all about John Wayne Gacy.
An original plan for Halloween 1978 was to have The Shape wear a Weary Willie mask instead of the tweaked William Shatner one they ended up using. He does wear the clown mask for the film's opening scene.
"The master and I are going to have words. He knows I hate clowns. God, I hate them. I hate them all. I hate Bozo, Ronald, Chuckles with their freakin' dumb noses and their lousy party hats!" - Violator from the movie, Spawn, though his hatred comes from the fact that he has to look like a clown.
The first segment of Amusement features a room filled with scary clown dolls and toys. Except one of them isn't...
In Night of the Demon (1957), Crowley-esque cult leader Julian Karswell, who will blithely send critics to a horrible doom, holds children's parties at his estate, playing a magician/clown...pretty benign for this trope, but capable of bad stuff (and in the original story, quick to scare the daylights out of the kids).
The second dream sequence in Pee-wee's Big Adventure is loaded with them. The scariest one (in my opinion) being the surgeon, who is only revealed to be a monster clown after he pulls down his surgical mask showing his eerily painted mouth. Definitely a case of less is more.
Then there's that motorized clown dummy Pee-Wee chained his bike to...when he comes back and the bike's gone the clown has an evil grin and laughs mockingly!
As mentioned under Comic Books above, the various film incarnations of The Joker are classic examples.
The Dark Knight's Joker, complete with a Glasgow Smile; small children will no doubt be quietly wetting themselves in theaters around the world.
Interestingly, on the Riff Trax for The Dark Knight, after the Joker flips the semi over and starts making goofy noises with his lips, the riffers say this:
The 2007 movie Drive-Thru features a serial killing clown named Horny.
In Let's Visit The World of the Future, the future is ruled by evil clowns.
The movie Torment features the evil Dissecto the Clown.
In Clownhouse, three mental patients dress as clowns and go on a killing spree.
In the 1998 film The Clown at Midnight, a murderous clown attacks several teenagers.
Uncle Buck had "Pooter the Clown", who showed up to entertain children at a young Macaulay Culkin's birthday party, while drunk, but ends up trying to pick a fight with John Candy instead.
Shakes The Clown is a comedy that treats clowns as a minority. Most of the characters have foul mouths and substance abuse problems, but one clown in particular, played by Tom Kenny, loses it at the end, and holds a woman hostage.
Another monstrous clown makes an appearence in Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, juggling with its own eyes.
The Family Jewels is a vanity-piece movie for Jerry Lewis, starring in seven roles, including a professional clown who, off the clock, has only contempt for the "squealing brats" he entertains.
His never-released film The Day The Clown Cried is about a clown whose job is to entertain children... on their way to the Nazi gas chambers.
The short Québécois film, Le Queloune, rather subverts this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG8wsae-6tU. The clown in question happens to be a confused zombie in a clown costume just rising from the grave, and you can't help but root for the poor fellow when it takes him two days to get himself out of his gravesite. Then he wanders into a couple's home and scares the wife into accidentally killing herself by falling down the stairs (and when he accidentally himself falls on her corpse, his zombie cravings awaken when he tastes human flesh for the first time). After killing the husband with a shovel (and serving their flesh on a skillet for his first breakfast), he removes his old clown clothes and makeup, dresses himself up in a new pair, and walks out of the house ready to begin a new day as a flesh-eating zombie (unaware that everyone around him outside apparently has thought the same thing, what being zombies themselves and all).
People from Quebec have a fondness for the trope, it seems; not only were Le Queloune and Happy Meal (the vampire Ronald McDonald short above) made there, there's also Pogo et ses amis (Pogo and friends), a stopmotion short about the darkly funny day-to-day life of Pogo the clown (see the Real Life section below) and his friends Ed, Albert and Mr. Z. Even funnier/more disturbing because Ed and Albert are voiced by the same voice actors who do Ned Flanders and Mister Burns, respectively, in the Quebec-made French translation of The Simpsons.
And Pogo is Homer himself.
The 2008 Slasher MovieAmusement. While not a monster clown, the clown wearing psychopath still proves that sometimes you don't have to be supernatural to be scary.
Killjoy and its sequels feature a killer spirit in the form of a clown who attacks campers who disturb his resting place.
S.I.C.K. Serial Insane Clown Killer features a killer who dresses in a clown suit.
Out of the Dark features a killer who targets sex-line workers while wearing a clown mask.
The Spanish film The Last Circus has two insane, grotesquely disfigured clowns battling each other.
The Camp Blood trilogy.
Mr. Jingles and its sequel, Jingles the Clown.
Shivers the Clown from the Fear of Clowns duology.
Blue Velvet: Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" or "CANDY COLORED CLOWN!!!" is a Monster Clown in the form of a song. Interestingly enough, Dean Stockwell, who lip-synchs the song while wearing white make up and exotic clothing, comes across as a Monster Clown Pimp.
Klown Kamp Massacre and 100 Tears both feature killers dressed as Monster Clowns.
La Casa 3 has the clown doll that Henriette carries around. On few occasions it turns into sharptoothed version of itself.
In the Problem Child series, it's a Running Gag that Junior really hates clowns - although whether this is from fear or intense dislike is never made clear.
Dumbo is a very early example - the clowns may not be evil, but they're a pretty unpleasant bunch, humiliating Dumbo (and having a clown play his mother is pretty cruel, considering what happened to her) and not worrying about hurting him, or worse. One of the clowns does get a Pet the Dog moment, but that's about it.
The killer zombie clown played by Ross Noble from Stitches.
The killer in the slasher/porno hybrid Camp Cuddly Pines Powertool Massacre is a rather badass looking example of this. He was set on fire while wearing a clown mask, and it melted to his face.
Pennywise from IT by Stephen King. In the TV miniseries based on the same, Tim Curry's portrayal of the role was so creepy, the other actors avoided him even off-camera. He is responsible for a hell of a lot of people's coulrophobia. And Pennywise isn't confined simply to "IT", you know. He appears in several other Stephen King novels, and plays no direct role. He simply sits in the background, possibly waiting for something. Perhaps the most disturbing is in Dreamcatcher, where it's mentioned that the monument erected honoring the Losers Club for defeating "It" is defaced by graffiti saying "Pennywise lives." The ironic part is that while It often used its shape-shifting ability to take the form of nightmarish imagery, one of its primary uses for the Pennywise form was to attract kids.
The Ankh-Morpork Fool's Guild in the Discworld series realizes that clowns scare and disgust some people. Thus, they prepare their charges through exceedingly harsh conditions to endure a lot of abuse. Terry Pratchett, creator of the series, has described the guild as "the stricter sort of medieval monastery without [the monastery's] non-stop boffo laughs." He also introduces the idea that whiteface clowns are scary even to other clowns because their humor often comes from bullying others. Doctor Whiteface is described as having, under his painted grin, features "cold and proud as a prince of Hell".
In Making Money, Lord Vetinari proposes that some people hate clowns because clowns aren't really funny, but instead tragic:
In the Fools' Guild edition of the Discworld Diary series, the Guild's clowns, mimes and jesters are revealed to be agents of a widespread and ruthless spy ring operated purely for its own profit and power.
In Life Expectancy, by Dean Koontz, we meet a man with the unfortunate name of Konrad Beezo. He is a clown, he has a pistol and apparent mental problems, and he insists on telling everyone he meets that he hates aerialists.
In Douglas Coupland's jPod, a group of video game company employees are forced by their boss to make a really inane kids' game with a skateboarding turtle, so as a way of getting back at him, they put in an Easter Egg which unlocks a gameplay mode where Ronald McDonald goes on a bloody killing spree.
Speaking of Ronald McDonald crossed with monstrousness, John Dies At The End features a deliberately inflicted hallucination of said clown prince of lard being helplessly compelled to eat his own entrails.
In Use Of Weapons, Cheradenine (actually Elethiomel) Zakalwe wears a clown disguise when assassinating Ethnarch Kerian.
Australian novel The Pilo Family Circus is all about this: the extradimensional Pilo Family Circus's clown division is populated by some of the most depraved and insane individuals in existence, acting as the management's henchmen in Our World. Worse still, it's very clear that none of them started this way: the magical facepaint they wear creates a split personality that takes over every time they "paint up" until the original is reduced to nothing. Since it also grants superhuman abilities, most recruits have no choice but to wear it just to survive the first few months in the Circus, and by then, it's already too late.
Shagwell from A Song of Ice and Fire is a sellsword who dresses like a jester. He's part of a particularly brutal mercenary company called the Bloody Mummers and makes jokes about their various atrocities. In battle he wields a three-headed morningstar, a lethal version of a jester's flail.
In John Connolly's short story Some Children Wander By Mistake, the clowns of the Circus Caliban are revealed to be monstrous creatures that remove their makeup for a performance. They despise children, particularly the ones that still find them funny, and go out of their way to kill and eat them whenever they can do so without being caught- except for the unlucky few that are selected to become Clowns themselves. These are culled from children that were still unborn at the time of the Circus Caliban's last performance in a particular town, but were conscious enough at the time to kick when the Clowns appeared. Once the circus returns, the child is kidnapped and slowly transformed into a Clown. This is the sad fate of the story's protagonist, William:
His teeth fell out and were replaced by sharp, white hooks that were kept hidden behind shields of plastic; and his nails decayed to hard yellow stumps at the end of soft, pale fingers. He grew tall and strong, until at last he forgot his name, and became only "Clown", and a great clown he was. His tongue grew like a snake's, and he tasted children with it as they laughed, for clowns are hungry and sad and envious of humanity. They travel from town to town, looking for those that they can steal away, always marking the child that kicks in the womb, and always finding him upon their return.
For clowns are not made. Clowns are born.
In the Star WarsNew Jedi Order novels, Onimi is the disfigured jester of Supreme Overlord Shimmra of the Vong. He's a creepy little guy who always has an annoying comment for the situation on hand. He's also The Man Behind the Man, using Mind Control on Shimmra. Onimi's the only Force user among the Vong, thanks to the event that crippled him. The Final Battle of the series is against him; he puts up a hell of a fight, and would have won if Jacen Solo hadn't taken another level of God Mode Sue at the last minute. Onimi's Wookiepedia entry actually compares him to Kefka. With good reason.
Subverted in Captain Krokus by F. Knorre, where Clown CoCo is The Hero, and his scarecrow becomes the Big Bad.
The Dreamclown, a short story by Nancy A. Collins. The titular clown, rather than being a garish and grotesque creature, is portrayed as a graceful mime-acrobat, in the style of the French Pierrot. It spends evenings on the street outside the house of two boys (the narrator and his brother), entertaining them with its enchanting, almost seductive performance. The narrator's brother is drawn in by the Clown's act, and loses his soul.
"Scary Clowns" is the name of the psychological warfare division of the Organization in Bad Monkeys and indeed all its agents dress as clowns.
The Harlequin is the covert enforcement division of the Vampire Council in Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake books. Even to say their name brings a death sentence.
In Andrew Vachss's Burke book Strega, one of the villains dresses as a clown while conducting his child sex offences.
A short story in some R.L. Stine collection featured a tale called "Why I'm Afraid of Clowns" that explained that all clowns are actually sick people who enjoy tormenting kids and always single out the most frightened of them to pick on. As if we didn't know this already.
Oh, yes, and they actually kidnap those kids and force them into a life as a clown. Who takes his pain and hatred out on the next frightened kid. Who gets kidnapped and made into a clown. And the cycle of clownery goes on.
One of the secretaries at the Peoria REC in The Pale King resembles one.
Invoked in Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street, in the chapter "Red Clowns." The Author Avatar Esperanza and her friend Sally go to a carnival one night, and at one point Sally disappears. (Unbeknownst to Esperanza, Sally has set each of them up with a boy.) Esperanza waits beside a diorama of some "wacky" red-costumed clowns with their tongues hanging out until another young man comes up to her. He tries to kiss her, and Esperanza resists until he physically overpowers her and rapes her, constantly murmuring, "I love you, I love you, Spanish girl." As Esperanza is flat on her back, she looks up at the clowns depicted on the diorama and imagines they are laughing at her.
The second book of Darren Shan's latest series, "Zom-B: Underground", features Mr Dowling. He wears the flayed face of a man on one shoulder and that of a woman on the other, has human entrails wrapped around his arms, his clown nose is a human eyeball, he can create spiders out of nothing, and he appears to have some manner of control over zombies.
Live Action TV
Are You Afraid Of The Dark had two: Zeebo the Clown, the ghost of a criminal who haunted a haunted house (go figure); and the Crimson Clown, something of a cross between a Monster Clown and a Demonic Dummy.
The show had a demon (a rakshasa, to be precise) that took the shape of a clown so children would trust it. (Yeah, 'cause nothing inspires trust like... oh, never mind.)
Demonic clowns also served as enforcers for a Suck E. Cheese's where "bad" parents were being knocked off.
In "Sylvia," a bizarre two-part episode from the seventh season of Little House on the Prairie a man disguised as a clown rapes and impregnates Albert's girlfriend. The clown, his victim, and the unborn child all die in the end.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: In "No Clowning Around," the Yellow Ranger's cousin is harassed by an evil clown that turns out to be Rita's Pineoctopus monster.
Power Rangers generally has at least one clown-based monster per season.
One notable example was Puppet Man, who started out as an honest clown (or more accurately, a Robot Buddy who was a clown's sidekick) but whom was corrupted and turned evil by King Mondo's magic. Fortunately, after the Rangers defeated him, Alpha 5 managed to rebuild him (installing new software to prevent it from happening again).
The David Bowie-esque Pierrot in Ashes to Ashes which evokes the one from the song of the same name's Music Video. Which turns out to be representative of Alex's father, who killed himself and his wife.
Mentioned half-jokingly by Colonel Sheppard in Stargate Atlantis, when one of the natives asks him if he's afraid of the Wraith. He says no, what he's really afraid of is clowns, eventually adding he's at war with them too. They try to fight them off, he says, but there's hundreds of them, pouring out of Volkswagens.
And brought out for real when Rodney McKay and Sheppard are being attacked by an entity that feeds on their worst nightmares: rowing a boat through a stormy whale-infested sea... with a clown sitting behind them.
Hysterically funny subversion from 80s SitcomThe Hogan Family: David is dragooned into playing a clown at a birthday party, and the girl he's been chasing walks in on him, stares and says "David?" He stares at her in shock, then pulls the clown suit up to cover his head and says in a squeaky voice "No, it's just me, Bobo the headless clown!" Cue the children screaming in fear and the audience howling with laughter for about a solid minute.
Joey: Okay, heads is ducks, because...ducks have heads. Chandler:What kind of scary-ass clowns came to your birthday??
Subverted with Flabber in Beetleborgs. He's clownish but he's more friendly than monstrous.
Agent Seeley Booth has a problem with clowns. He shot one once. It was on top of an ice cream truck. He had to be psychoanalyzed.
In a later Halloween episode Booth and Bones investigate a serial killer who terrifies victims to death. When Booth confronts the killer, said killer is dressed as a clown. Presumably because clowns terrify everyone.
For a more clownish but less monstrous example, look no further than Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's new show Psychoville, and Mr. Jelly, a one-handed clown who makes balloon animals with his hook, who performs at kids parties and gives us "Mr. Jelly's Hundred Hands" act (although there's only 16, really.) Jelly is a grouchy, dysfunctional weirdo with a bad temper and the tendency to accidentally scare children, but he's really not that bad a guy.
Jack Handey had the right idea: "To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kind of scary. I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus and a clown killed my Dad."
Seinfeld had a schizophrenic character at one point who was rather unstable, and was shown playing the role of Canio in Pagliaci, a clown. While wandering the city in his clown makeup, he encounters a gang of toughs who should know better than to hassle a clown.
An episode of Charmed had the girls being terrorized by their worst nightmares. Paige's was a scary clown.
Joel can't turn off the holo-clown sequencer and after three weeks it gets really tense and scary. "Hey little girl, would you like a salted nut roll?"
One Step Beyond had an episode where a clown haunted a man, appearing in reflections reaching for his throat - trope averted as the clown was the good guy, avenging the man's murdered wife.
Carrie Bradshaw from Sex And The City was scared of the clown Brady's grandmother hired for his 1st birthday: "Nothing is scarier than a clown."
ThisRomper Room opening. Pop goes the weasel, and the jack in the box comes out of his house...and he looks INSANE.
Kreegan, from the short-lived series Cleopatra 2525 is murderous, sadistic, and for no readily apparent reason, resembles a clown crossed with Gene Simmons of KISS.
Googler from Ace Lightning. More of a Monster Jester really, but still close enough.
Subverted in the Criminal Minds episode "Damaged". The killer turned out to be a clown... who was severely mentally retarded, and committed the double homicide during a tantrum.
In the Halloween Episode of iCarly, when the iCarly trio is in a darkened apartment, they take cover in a closet and encounter a disembodied clown head, which leaves them terrified... but eventually we find out that it was just a phone that is hardly ever used anymore. Plus, Nathan Kress, the actor who plays Freddie, has stated that he is afraid of clowns himself.
In the Masters Of Horror episode "We All Scream For Icecream", the ghost of an ice cream-truck-driving clown who the main character and his Jerk Ass friend accidentally murdered when they were kids comes back for revenge with his disturbingly happy attitude. And because he drove an ice cream truck, everything around suddenly gets immeasurably cold. (by the way, the Jerk Ass friend inexplicably and gruesomely melted. It was a really weird episode.)
Although not evil per se, Homey D. Clown is still one big jerk. The reason for his Jerkassery? He's actually an ex-convict working as a clown, which is part of his prison release work program, and his lifelong enemy is The Man.
In episode "18-5-4" of The Mentalist, the victim's fear of clowns was used to give him a particularly traumatic death.
Played for laughs with Doctor Blake Downs in Childrens Hospital, a Patch Adams expy who believes he can cure anything with laughter despite being utterly unfunny, caustic and permanently soaked in blood.
Averted in The Haunting Hour: The Series episode "Afraid of Clowns." Clowns are apparently a race of creepy humanoid creatures but are relatively friendly and supportive of the coulrophobic main character, who is horrified when he becomes a clown himself at puberty.
Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy features a screeching purple clown named "The Audience" who lives on a cloud and produces mashed potato sculptures from his hollow abdomen. He shows no particular signs of being evil, but he's still terrifying and bizarre in the extreme.
One of the board games that Lily's father invents on How I Met Your Mother is titled "There's a Clown Demon Under the Bed". Not the best way to comfort your daughter after a nightmare.
On The Huntress, Dottie and Brandi go after a skip who's entertaining at a kid's birthday party—as a clown. Just so the children aren't traumatized after seeing bounty hunters wrestle him to the ground and drag him off into custody, Dottie tells them that it's okay because there are good clowns and bad clowns. The clown swears at her; Dottie says, "See? Bad clown!"
Vocaloid: Len Kagamine, playing Lemy/Remy Abelard, in the Mothy song The Fifth: Pierrot/Gobanme no Piero, is a very unique example of this. First, he's just an assassin who has the nickname "Pierrot" and wears a clown outfit. Second, he's not really a monster. He's just been raised wrong by Santa/Julia Abelard, his adoptive mother and leader of the organization he belongs to, Pere Noel.
The appropriately titled song "Clown" by the band Korn.
Insane Clown Posse obviously takes their image from this and have built a mythology around themselves called "The Dark Carnival." In the band's mythology, they're actually AntiHeroes or Sociopathic Heroes hunting their various villainous enemies. The afterlife story features an evil clown, Jack Jeckel and his good twin Jake Jeckel. Jack throws slippery, blood-soaked balls at Jake, each representing a sin. If Jake fails to juggle the balls and drops one, you're condemned to "Hell's Pit." Other Psychopathic Records artists that are examples of this trope include Anybody Killa, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Boondox, and Twiztid.
Boondox' status as this is questionable. From his songs (and upbringing) it's pretty evident that he's supposed to be a scarecrow.
Blind Guardian's music video for "Mr. Sandman" includes four monster clowns.'' Seriously, don't go to sleep after watching that.
From "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" by the Eels: "The clown with the frown driving down to the sidewalk fair / Finger on the trigger and I tell you it's quite a scare"
German Power Metal band Edguy's album Mandrake has a monster clown with a Slasher Smile on the cover. Some of the lyrics in the album also mention them.
Mr Bungle's self-titled album has a monster clown on the cover. And "Carousel", a song comparing life to a Circus of Fear, contains a few references to a monster clown ("You know there's something lurking underneath the shape, with a mask over it's head and makeup on his face").
There's also some really creepy clowns in the video for Quote Un Quote; pretty par for the course considering the rest of the clip's visuals.
In the video for P!nk's song Please Don't Leave Me, the boyfriend tries to leave and the girl character goes Stephen King on him, starting with Misery and ending with an Ax Crazy bit from The Shining. The more psycho the girl goes, the more her make-up goes Monster Clown, until she looks horribly like Pennywise from It. * brrr*
There's also a quick shot of one at :04.
More Pink: from the same album, the song Funhouse:
This used to be a funhouse But now it's full of evil clowns It's time to start the countdown We're gonna burn it down, down, we're gonna burn it down.
And seriously, what more can you do with evil clowns, except Kill It with Fire? The video's pretty freaky too.
While the clowns in the video for the Arctic Monkeys' "Fluorescent Adolescent" aren't demonic monsters, given that the video is centered around a fight between two gangs of those wacky circus comedians, they're not exactly nice, either.
The label of some of Capitol and Wonderland Records' childrens' albums had two very odd looking jester heads blowing horns on top.
Check out Blotto the Clown◊ from the cover of White Courtesy Telephone's (one and only) CD, "Everything is Fun".
Oingo Boingo recorded a song called "Clowns of Death" and performed under that name on a few occasions. Auxiliary band members would sometimes dress in clown costumes, billed as the Sad Klown Orkestra.
Esham, as "Homey The Clown" on Homey Don't Play and I Ain't Cha Homey.
Poets Of The Fall's Twilight Theater album cover features a rather creepy looking jester.
The cover and promotional campaign for David Bowie's album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), and the video for its lead-off single "Ashes to Ashes", featured Bowie as a mysterious Pierrot. Look at the Live Action TV folder above for what Ashes to Ashes did with this one...
Dog Fashion Disco has a song called "Pogo the Clown", which is about John Wayne Gacy.
The video for Storytime by Nightwish has a group of these harassing a small boy.
Somewhat inevitably crops up in Sufjan Stevens song "John Wayne Gacy Jr.", though not played entirely straight as it centers on the communities Fridge Horror over the Values Dissonance in his two identities. Somehow made even creepier by making it sound kind of erotic though.
"He dressed up like a clown for them, with his face paint white and red. And on his best behaviour in a dark room on the bed, he kissed them all"
The music video for Sublime's "Wrong Way" depicts Annie's abusive father as a clown.
One word: Canio, from Pagliacci. Seriously, people. Brush up on your classics.
The slimy and lecherous Tonio definitely qualifies.
Rigoletto, kinda. Although he's portrayed in a sympathetic light at parts, he's still a crazy, bitter, grotesque jester who indirectly kills his daughter and Morality Pet, Gilda.
Mike Nelson: But she failed! She summoned something far scarier, from the depths of Hell itself!
Fear of clowns is a Running Gag for Rifftrax, right behind their fear of monkeys. Check out the riffed shorts "The Creeps Machine" and "Story-Telling: Can You Tell It In Order?" for some good examples. This is a natural continuation from a similar fear on MST3K.
Mortasheen combines this with Mons and has a classification of creatures (Specifically the Joker class) based on this concept.
And some of them are very weird. Like the eye-chicken-ventriloquist Opticaper, the straitjacket-snake-clown Insanititter and whatever Madcap is.
The Dungeons & Dragons supplement Heroes Of Horror is about infusing your games with anything from a touch to an overdose of the macabre, the frightening, and the unnerving. One of the monsters introduced? The "gray jester". One of the scenarios provided? A gray jester and a hag enslaving and eating children.
The Dungeons & Dragons third party world 'Scarred Lands'(by Sword & Sorcery Studios) features the 'Carnival Krewes' - a society of Monster Clowns.
Also on the Dungeons & Dragons front is House Phiarlan of Eberron, an espionage-based clan/organization. One of their fronts is the Carnival of Shadows. The description claims they've enthralled Khorvaire for decades, but looking at the picture provided (Everyone has angry faces and the animal act includes an always Neutral Evil monster), I'm going to have to assume the description is literal and there's some Mass Charm Person going on there.
The Dilisnyas, one of the most treacherous and murderous of Ravenloft's great noble houses, trace their bloodline back to a fellow by the unlikely name of Pidlwik. In the original adventure module I6: Ravenloft, which inspired the campaign setting, Pidlwik's crypt identifies him as the court jester.
The Skurra, of the Travelling Carnival, are one part this, one part Enemy Mime, and all subversion; while extremely creepy (even the mutated Carnies are somewhat afraid of them, and there is a belief amongst them that some or even all of the Skurra are actually ghosts), they are not malevolent in the slightest.
They may not be malevolent, but they're INCREDIBLY protective of themselves and the carnival. One of them, The Crimson Rose, has no reservations about maiming or killing a carnival-goer that pays her a bit too much of the wrong kind of attention.
The Eldar Harlequins of Warhammer 40000 are space elf ninja killer clowns, taking the scary clown to the kind of demented levels only 40k can. They wear holographic multicoloured harlequin costumes which can scatter their images into thousands of confusing fragments, and death masks which psychically amplify the fears of their victims, form nightmare faces and project the death-screams of previous victims into the current victim's mind. Their weapons are horrifyingly nasty even by 40k standards; as an example, their usual squad support weapon fires molecule-edged crystal discs covered in toxins that make the target's blood explode and they often use a weapon that shoots a monomolecular fiber through the target and spins it around, reducing the victim's innards into mush. They worship the "Laughing God", and are the Eldar equivalent of a roving carnival, visiting the various Craftworlds and acting out tales from Eldar mythology with holographic, psychically-enhanced interpretive dance. When they're not killing people in unspeakably horrible ways.
Which makes it all the more surprising that the Harlequins are, if probably not exactly good, at least firmly opposed to Chaos and will join forces (temporarily) with anyone fighting it they come across. They also protect the Black Library from violators who would almost certainly use its powers for evil.
Added scary can be brought in by, if not the certainty, then at least the very possible implication that the "Laughing God" may in fact be the C'tan entity "The Deceiver", a being so much of a Magnificent Bastard that he first persuaded his original worshippers to convert themselves into a soulless mechanical army, and then persuaded his own race of godlike beings to turn on and in some cases eat one another until only four were left. Suffice it to say that if this is true, really horrible things lie not just in the Harlequin's future, but probably the whole Eldar race's.
Word Of God says that Cegorach the Laughing God, and the C'tan Deceiver are not the same being; although there's a certain amount of "professional respect" between the two.
For an idea of what their performances are like, they would make Cirque Du Soleil look like a bunch of overweight drunken fools who don't know how to work the stage lights.
When acting out a particular one, The Fall (the story of how the original Eldar empire came crashing down when they accidentally created a new Chaos God), the role of Slaanesh (the aforementioned Chaos God) can only be played by the strongest willed of the Harlequins, as even playing the part causes any lesser being attempting it to go completely insane. These Harlequins, called "Solitaires" and shunned for their fanatical (even by Harlequin standards) devotion to their art, are doomed to eternal torment upon death, as being so close in spirit to Slaanesh means he/she/it gets their souls as playthings when they die.
In past editions the Solitaire was only able to do this because they didn't have a soul any more.
For bonus points said monomolecular wire weapon is called the Harlequin's Kiss.
Their training also means they're the only Eldar who don't need a soulstone to keep them out of the hands of Slaneesh when they die. Yep, even the god of Squick is scared of clowns.
Similarly: the Dark Eldar, who would cheerfully torture you in a variety of horrible ways even if they didn't need to, crap their pants when the Harlequins show up. Even if they're just there to put on a show.
In the Warhammer fantasy universe isolated villages are sometimes visited by the Carnival of Chaos, what appears to be an innocuous troop of performers turn out to be the hideous daemonic servants of the god of despair, who hypnotise the simple village folk during the performance whilst they quite rapidly decompose. Models are brilliant though, complete with nurglings dressed up as circus animals.
And then there's the Cult of Rakdos, from the Ravnica block. If the land Rakdos Carnarium doesn't make your blood freeze, you need to get your head examined. A cult of slash-happy killers who consider their parties a "flop" if someone survives to tell about it - and they have a circus component to them, too? (And with a circus comes...) Thanks, Wizards, I may never sleep again.
Naturally, there's at least one Call Of Cthulhu scenario (set in 1920s Germany) featuring a carnival jester who's really an Eldritch Abomination that's been traveling with the show incognito for years and causing various tragedies and disasters wherever they went.
In Cyberpunk2020, one street gang you can run into on the streets of Night City is the Bozos. They are described as the sort of people who get plastic surgery to look like clowns permanently, who stay up all night watching horror flicks. And committing gruesome crimes. Advice for dealing with them is "Run!"
Essentially averted by Cirque Du Soleil in their specific clown acts. Traditional whitefaces and augustes are less intimidating than the popular conception, and some character-based clown acts largely eschew garish makeup and costuming. Indeed some clowns are downright ordinary-looking compared to the other characters. But there are villainous/mysterious characters who, intentionally or not, have appearances akin to this trope: Boum-Boum in Quidam, Le Titan in La Nouba, etc. Closest to the trope is the bizarre emcee Fleur in Alegria: According to the All There in the Manual material, he was the court jester to the now-gone ruler of the kingdom, and now he wants to be king.
In the "Beyond Belief" segments of Thrilling Adventure Hour, Frank Doyle has repeatedly battled Nightmares the Clown (a parody of Pennywise from Stephen King's IT). Doyle first encountered Nightmares when he was a child and he and his friends investigated several dead and missing children:
Peter: Looks like we solved the mystery at least.
Nighmares: That's right boys, you did it! You really did it! You solved the mystery and found me! You young boys went and tracked down the fellow who's been murdering young boys all these years! Do you young boys have a sense of irony yet? Probably not, you're from Maine. But my, how'd you be laughing if you did!
Joker-sama in Persona 2. Unusual if only for his distinctive elegance... and the fact he's the plaything of Nyarlathotep.
In League Of Legends, there is a playable monster clown named Shaco. He can set invisible jack in the boxes that cause terror and fire laser beams, poof into invisibility with an evil laugh, backstab people with venomed knives, and make duplicates of himself.
It's more like this in the old Ted's script, in the original Japanese version he's more of an idiot, even after he kills Leo, destroys the world, etc. When brought to America, he became The Joker of video games.
Left 4 Dead 2: Two words: zombie clowns. It makes honking noises where it goes, which in turn attracted the other infected to it and thus to the player. Meaning you have to make him your top priority lest you want more zombies to deal with.
For an even worse example from the same series, CircusMan.EXE from EXE Beast and Battle Network 6.
Something perhaps creepier than his appearance is that one of his attacks involves transforming his body into a circular cage draped up like a circus tent, falling down on top of your character to entrap them, then several bulges appear rapidly all over the drapes implying being pummeled (dear god hopefully) all over.
Oh God, CircusMan. The first time you see him, you witness him doing some kind of creepy dance that drains the energy of everyone around him in that cutscene. He sucks up the energy, and then he soon uses the energy to revive Gregar and Falzar. He then opens up his chest to reveal a powerful vacuum which he uses to absorb one of the two beasts! Oh wait, but he's not done with being a Monster Clown yet!He later successfully uses the vacuum to capture Mega Man too, starting a rather long Rescue Arc.
CircusMan's operator, Yuika. Yuika wears an outlandish outfit, has heart-like makeup on her cheeks, and overall acts like a stereotypical clown. She also lured several Navi Operators into Central City 3's area and thus arranged for CircusMan to steal their energy to unleash the Cybeasts in the first place, and having MegaMan kidnapped as well.
Zorn and Thorn from Final Fantasy IX. It gets better, later we find out they're actually two halves to the same being, known as Meltigemini. The lack of any explanation makes it all the stranger.
One zone in Kingdom Of Loathing is The "Fun" House, which is infested with evil clowns and reigned by the Evil Boss Clown Beelzebozo. There's also a "Spooky Clown" Valentine's Day Card which contains the following poem: "There is such a fine line/Between love and fear/Your love makes me float/But we all float down here".
And there was also the Bad Future event where players could see a destroyed Seaside Town full of some of the monsters turned into zombies (ex: Zombie Hippy, Zombie Frat Boy, Zombie Zmobie) And then the Zombie Clown. His in game description? "AIEEE! Ah! Gah! Sweet merciful God, no! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
Inverted with the wacky pirate: "You'd think a clown with an eyepatch and a hook hand would be even more terrifying than a normal clown, but somehow, the combination is pretty charming. There's something kind of awesome about a pirate with a rubber chicken on his shoulder."
There's also the clown minions encountered in the GameInformPowerDailyPro Dungeon. Not as scary as the clowns in the "Fun" House, but even more dangerous because they scale to the player's stats.
One of the bosses in the Capcom game Dead Rising is Adam, a deranged mall clown who attacks you with fire breath, exploding balloons, and chainsaws. Oh, and he's in the middle of a shopping mall hit by a Zombie Apocalypse. Apparently he went mad when they ate his audience, and now he runs a killer ride to keep the zombies at bay.
Made worse by the fact that, according to him, they were all laughing at him...
Dhoulmagus, one of the main villains of Dragon Quest VIII, is a murderous and psychopathic jester. For once, the character's villainy is unrelated to clowning - taking a job as a jester was just a convenient way to get in position to steal a MacGuffin. But he still wears the costume constantly.
Needles "Sweet Tooth" Kane from Twisted Metal, who wears a flaming clown mask and stores the bodies of murdered children in his ice cream truck. The entirety of Twisted Metal: Black is actually a psychotic delusion taking place inside his mind.
Malcolm the jester in the Kyrandia adventure game series. Suffers a reluctant flipflop in the third and final game which does ...absolutely nothing at all. He retains the same personality. He still says incredibly evil and nasty things. He just stopped killing people. (which nobody believes, so it's up to you as Malcolm to clear your name in the third.) Most unconvincing HFT ever, most unrepentant villain ever too. Even with his personality set to "nice" and with him talking to the sorceress Zanthia, whom he has a bit of a crush on, everything he says still makes him sound like a spiteful misanthropic Jerk Ass just one dagger away from a multiple homicide. He's not so much an Anti-Hero as he is the same Magnificent Bastard he was before, just without the murderous streak. He claims.
Inexplicably, one of the outfits that Max (the main protagonist of the game) can trade for Medals is a complete clown outfit, with shoes and hat... and a whiteface makeup that is far more unnerving and disturbing than even Flotsam's most threatening appearance.
Chrono Cross features an interesting exception in from of Skelly: while he is both a monster due to being an animated skeleton as well as a clown, he's presented in a wholly sympathetic light, all except one of his body parts you need to collect to assemble him have complimenting item descriptions and he has a loving grandmother to boot.
Harle (short for "harlequin") also counts, technically, as she's revealed to be the Seventh Dragon.
Raz from Psychonauts is originally from a travelling gypsy circus; his mental image of his father is a rather distressing caricature with clownish skin color, hair color, and outfit, and tends to divide his time between expressing his disdain for psychics in general and his son in particular, and attacking him with juggling clubs. Fortunately for Raz' relationship with his actual family his also-psychic father eventually manages to break into Raz' mind and turns out to be the kind, loving father he was made out explicitly NOT to be. It turns out that the behavior that led Raz to believe his father was a bigoted clown was actually intended to teach him control, discipline, and probably some physical skills so he wouldn't rely on psychic powers. It works, too-because of this misinterpreted training, Raz is able to defeat everything from a mad-scienced lungfish to a giant butcher to, yes, his incredibly dangerous clown of a mind-father.
Although the titular NiGHTS and other humanoid Nightmaren from Nights Into Dreams and its sequel are technically not clowns, their designs make them look a lot like jester/clown meldings. Especially Reala and Jackle, the two who are most capable of this trope in the games.
One of the first 2 bosses in Journey of Dreams, Donbalon, is a more literal example of this trope.
Fighters Destiny and it's sequel feature a French clown named Pierre- and to add the monster to this trope he fits there's a cheat you can use that turns him into a werewolf.
Joka from the Klonoa series, a clown-faced balloon demon who never stops smiling, even when visibly angry. He also has an odd tendency to die and come back without explanation.
The final stage of Carn Evil is the Big Top, which is absolutely crawling with midget clowns, overly beefed up jokers, and rabid dogs in clown gear. The former two being even creepier then the torture victim enemies found in the Freakshow stage. The sight of the smaller clowns popping up from the sides of the screen at point blank range while his friends close in on you even after half their faces and bodies have been blown away is shuddersome.
Umlaut, the flying Jester Skull with the SHARK TEETH. Who shows up at the beginning of EVERY LEVEL with a cryptic rhyme about the stage you're about to play on. And then you have him to fight as a miniboss before the Big Bad, there he bites and practically teleports around the arena. Nightmare Fuel if there ever was anything that could fit there.
The Jester Spirit Laughlin in the SNES and Genesis game Shadowrun.
Jester Spirit: Boys and girls come out to play! On the busy motorway!
Necrodeus from Kirby Mass Attack has a Skull for a Head that looks a lot like a clown. He qualifies for "Monster" in that he tries to kill Kirby in his sleep at the very beginning of the game.
In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Magolor's first One-Winged Angel looks like a dark jester. His second form sports a jester-like hat, juggles enemies, and has a creepy perpetual smile that's later revealed to actually be an eye.
The Wonky Circus level also has the standard mooks replaced by Monster Clown versions that lurch around like zombies and scratch with sharp claws. It's also home to a miniboss called an Electric Clown Fence.
It's also home to Clown Cannons that fire Clown Missiles. Yes, giant missiles with clown faces.
One level of Hitman: Blood Money gives the player the opportunity to play as one, where you can disguise yourself as a clown to infiltrate your target's house...and eliminate him.
Agent 47 was even awarded Clown Of The Year once.
KISS Psycho Circus wholly revolved around KISS fighting monster clowns and other monstrosities spawned from a twisted circus theme.
In a weird twist, one of the levels in Marvel Vs Capcom 2 is a circus with a large eerie clown in the background. In college, a friend's girlfriend would have to leave the room whenever this level randomly came up.
Played for laughs in the Time Splitters series. One of the characters is "Mr Giggles", a monster clown who was raised by a New England family but apparently wasn't truly happy until he "Ate them and ran away to join the circus".
In Painkiller: Battle Out of Hell one of the levels are set in a hellish carnival complete with demon clowns.
At the beginning of point-and-click adventure game Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (known as Circle of Blood in the US), an assassin dressed as a clown runs into a Parisian street cafe, places an accordion on a bar stool, then runs back out again. A small red light on the accordion flashes, and the cafe explodes.
In House of the Dead: Overkill there is a stage called "Carny" set in a carnival crawling with mutants, the most disturbing of which are waves of hideous clowns that backflip obscenely quickly towards the player(s). The first time a player dispatches one of the clowns, the character Agent G quips, "quit clowning around."
This stage is almost definitely inspired by House of the Dead's fellow arcade rail shooter classic Carnevil.
''NARC''. During the fourth level, Max Force and Hit Man encounter the knife-wielding, maiden-kidnapping, pornography-addicted clown Kinky Pinky. Or rather, several of him. In the arcade version in particular, Kinky Pinky is difficult to destroy by normal means (submachinegun fire). If he closes to stabbing range, your choices are 1) fire a rocket or 2) die.
Infectonator: World Dominator has Zombie Ronald McDonald, who can drop diseased burgers (Or is it really poop?) in the way of people to turn them into zombies. Not a pretty sight for our fast-food-loving world.
Mr. Crow of Unreal Tournament 2004 and his team. "Ever wonder why children are afraid of clowns? Now you know." is all his bio has to say about him.
Clown enemies in Star Ocean The Last Hope fit this to a tee: they fire explosive confetti, bowl you over with a balance ball and throw hoops at you that turn you into a pumpkin. They're all classed as demon types.
Early on in Red Dead Revolver you face off against an army of shotgun-wielding midget clowns.
Dimentio from Super Paper Mario certainly qualifies under this. Well, ok, he's more like a Monster Jester, but still, he intends to stab the perceived Big Bad Count Bleck in the back so he could use the Chaos Heart to destroy all worlds and remake them in his image, and then when he dies, he intends to ensure their destruction anyways. He possesses Luigi for the final battle. This is the Mario version of Kefka Palazzo.
Tippy even refers to Dimentio in a scan (sort of: It's one of his clones before fighting him at Bleck's castle) as an Evil Clown.
The PC version of Killing Time has a fairly standard "Pennywise" style mutant clown as an enemy. The Panasonic 3DO version, however, features a more normal-looking clown that squeals "It's TICKLE TIME!!" in a high-pitched voice while thrusting its hands out into the player's face, represented by two enormous hand sprites appearing in front of the clown. The second one is scarier by far.
Batman Doom has the Joker, obviously, but also rather tough mooks dressed in mime/clown attire who throw darts at you; they pop up in both the Scarecrow's and Joker's chapter.
Splatterhouse 2010 has a level set at a theme park populated by demonic clowns that spin their heads, split fire, twirl upside-down on their hands kicking you with their legs and crawl along backwards on the floor if you knock them down.
In Terraria, unlocking hard mode causes Clown monsters to appear during a Blood Moon. Silly-looking as they are, they're also fairly tough, and they throw bombs that destroy blocks and can mess up any buildings you've made.
The Nintendo 64 game Glover has one as the boss of the carnival world, fought on a spinning arena that it isn't affected by. You hurt it with a pie and a boxing glove, and finish it off by dropping a piano on it.
The Joker and his minions certainly qualify in the Batman: Arkham series. In the first game, Joker, all because he wanted a party, arranged for a revolt of Arkham Asylum, as well as the creation of Titan to cause wanton amounts of destruction in Gotham. His actions in that game caused at least 113 personnel casualties, 103 of which were security personnel, as well as an unknown amount of deaths of inmates as well. In addition, he was also implied to have killed 3 personnel when he first escaped from the start of the game, something that he not only doesn't have any regrets to killing them, he decides that he'll try to kill 100 more next time. The second game also has him killing several personnel and doctors as well, and he also has several hospitals given Batman's blood (which was at that time tainted with his poisoned blood) that would have resulted in hundreds of casualties in order to force Batman into finding him a cure. After death, he also posthumously manages to singlehandedly cause huge riots both in Gotham City and Arkham City with a single radio broadcast that was likely to result in countless casualties, and long beforehand, he also on Independence Day committed a massacre where he has several fireworks laced with toxins that resulted in, after their being set off, several hundreds of men, women, and childrens' deaths, which was heinous enough to force Batman into locking him up in an isolated part of Arkham.
One of Fallout 3's loading screens mentions a pre-war child serial killer known as the Pint-Sized Slasher, who wore a scary clown mask. In the evil solution to the Tranquility Lane quest, you don the mask and slaughter the residents of the simulation.
One of the primary bad guys in the Madness Combat Flash series is Tricky the Clown. Originally appearing in Madness Redeemer as a minor villain, he was pinned to a giant marshmallow (don't ask) by Hank in Avenger with a stop sign and turned into a zombie before being taken down by Hank again. He donned a Jason-style hockey mask for Apotheosis, but did not take part in the fighting. But in Depredation, Antipathy and Consternation, the Clown took on the power to warp reality itself, making him virtually unstoppable even after getting the top of his head sliced off and being blown full of holes at point blank range by Hank. However, we've probably seen the last of Tricky as at the end of Consternation, Jebus destroyed Tricky's portable Improbability Drive and killed him. (Spoilered not because his death is a surprise but the way it comes about is.)
Strong Man, the Old-Timey version of Strong Mad from Homestar Runner. As his name suggests, he is actually an unintelligent circus strongman who for some reason is always facing the camera and is working for Sir Strong Bad, The Homestar Runner's archnemesis.
Riff is apparently afraid of clowns. He can deal with this to some extent, but unresistingly hands over a gun when the clown asks for it, gets all flustered when questioned why, and later, when the clown grins at him, faints.
In Nodwick, after re-lived her fifth birthday several times:
Piffany: I had to watch the clown they hired for my party. I'm going to need a few more teddy bears to get to sleep tonight!
The Highblood's pre-Scratch incarnation, Kurloz, does not look as much like a clown as the rest of the Makara family, but he's in the same cult, uses terms inspired by ICP more frequently, and is just as insane. Notably, not many other examples of this trope act quite as subtly or in as much Machiavellian style as he does.
Also, as Andrew Hussie points out in the book 2 commentary, the flash where John walks around his house after it enters the medium and everything is silent and the place is surrounded by void is made significantly more creepy by all the harlequins scattered around the house.
The Insane Clown Posse have a significant influence on the backstory of the Post-Scratch universe. In addition to their entry above, they acted as the last presidents of the US, and were responsible for innumerable deaths before being assassinated by Dave's alternate self. Also, they (along with Dave and Betty Crocker) were indirectly responsible for Gamzee's aforementioned rampage.
Girl Genius has a Jack-in-the-box in Heterodynes nursery combining the charm of Monster Clown with steel-clad brutality of an overengineered murder-bot. "It explains... so much..." We don't know yet who made this toy, though — it may well be local "young masters" themselves.
The SCP Foundation has SCP-993, the "Bobble the Clown" show. Once the program starts, everyone in the room over the age of ten passes out, while children under the age of ten report that an animated clown gives how-tos on cannibalism, arson, and a number of other horrifying things; further, the children who watch a show will regularly perform whatever actions Bobble instructed them in until the memory of the show is removed with Laser-Guided Amnesia. Worse, whoever is creating the show (and there's a certain amount of evidence that the show itself is a sapient entity that creates and broadcasts itself) appears to be aware that the SCP Foundation has found a way to intercept and block its transmission, as the two most recent episodes are Bobble Hates You
Bobble the Clown, sitting in a chair and glaring silently at the viewer for the entire episode.
and *EXPLETIVE* YOU *EXPLETIVE* YOU *EXPLETIVE* YOU
Bobble the Clown breaches classification on Foundation researchers, administrators, and SCPs, including detailed instructions on how to breach containment of a number of incredibly dangerous SCPs, with a special guest appearance by the animated version of an SCP researcher who happened to be passing by the room where the Foundation keeps the recordings they make of the show at the time shown on a clock in the episode.
That Guy With The Glasses featured a video with Doug Walker doing a pretty damn good impression of Heath Ledger's Joker practicing his origin story. An attempt to spin this off into a series called "Melvin, Brother of the Joker" was not nearly as well received, and the character became The Scrappy among fans. Walker has engaged in a fair amount of Self-Deprecation about this, and Melvin was killed by other TGWTG contributors during one of the donation drives.
Diamanda Hagan, who is a female Joker and enjoys slaying her minions when bored.
Linkara, on the other hand, is fed up with the negative portrayal of clowns in the media, and introduced Boffo the Clown (who is friendly, dignified and polite) as a deliberate subversion of this trope.
The Fear Mythos gives us the Jester, a masked psychopath who serves the Wooden Girl. He sees himself as an artist who has mastered comedy, and views comedy as being anything unexpected. So if you were, say, walking your dog on a pleasant summer day, he might pop out of a bush and blow your brains out just For the Evulz. The fact that the Jester is one of the few humans who serves the Wooden Girl willingly (as opposed to being unable to control his own body like the majority of her servants) just makes him even more horrific. This creepypasta gives a pretty clear indication of how utterly insane he is.
The Joker from Batman The Animated Series. As if being a monster clown every day isn't bad enough, the episode "Be A Clown" has him disguised as a slightly less creepy party clown to deliver a cake with an explosive as a candle to a party full of kids.
Arguably the goofy, baggy clown-outfit made him look even creepier than his normal purple tux, since it twisted his reasonably normal human proportions into the depths of Uncanny Valley.
Frankly, there are countless times (not including that stint in Treehouse of Horrors) that Krusty the Klown of The Simpsons fits neatly into the oversized shoes of this trope. Point in fact he is scary enough to provoke heart-attacks in patients with heart conditions (namely Homer).
"What's wrong? Oh right... My grotesque appearance!"
Also: "Well I got news for you, buddy: This ain't make up!"
He tried broadcasting his show in High Definition without testing it first; BIG mistake.
The haunted Krusty doll.
"Hi, I'm Krusty the Clown and I don't like you." "Hi, I'm Krusty the Clown and I'm going to kill you."
In the DVD Commentary of that episode, members of writing staff discussed this trope, coming to the conclusion that, "Adults hate clowns and children are afraid of them, so what the hell good are they?"
In the supplement book Flanders Book of Faith, one of Ned's Humble figurines has a little girl being frightened by a clown. The title: First visit to the Circus.
Sideshow Bob. Okay, he's more like a Monster Ex Clown, but still, he tries to murder multiple characters and gets involved in semi elaborate revenge schemes after Bart and such foiled his framing of Krusty for armed robbery.
This aspect of Sideshow Bob was turned Up to Eleven in "The Bob Next Door". In one of his escape attempts, Bob visibly surgically removes the face of one of his cell mates and then switches it with his own, while still being fully conscious and screaming. The worst part is when Sideshow Bob stops at a rest stop and a waitress who takes an interest in him manages to pull off a loose thread used to keep his face on, causing his entire face to flap down, exposing all of his muscles and tissue. And then moments later, it happens again with his cellmate he switched faces with.
Although Pepper Ann didn't feature any actual monster clowns, there was one episode where Pepper Ann watched a movie that revolves around this trope: Gutter Clowns. She had nightmares about that movie.
In Animaniacs, Wakko Warner had an irrational fear of clowns, which often caused him to apply his Hyperspace Mallet before he ran screaming.
Studio boss Seymour Plotz doesn't know this, so he sends a Jerry Lewis-style clown to the water tower to entertain Wakko on his birthday. Plotz doesn't like clowns, either, so when he finds out — he does nothing. True Hilarity Ensues.
Dr. Scratchnsniff: Wakko, repeat after me: "A clown is my friend. A clown will not bite me and throw me in the basement... A clown is not a big spider."
Is it just me, or does that "spider" line sound like an indirect Pennywise reference?
Ironically, the clown is a genuinely Non-Ironic Clown who only tries to entertain Wakko with song and dance. He earns a happy ending.
Dr. Rockzo, the rock n' roll clown (he does cocaine!) seriously, dude; a lot of cocaine from Metalocalypse. He's a clown that's designed to be scary (in more ways than one). Ironically, Toki loves him despite being the most childlike of Dethklok's members.
Toki was shown to have a long-time love of clowns - there was a shot of him as a child sitting on Gacy the Clown's lap (shudder). Besides, it's metal to like clowns! Apparently it all stemmed from his childhood, where a clown doll he kept hidden from his parents was the only toy he had.
Dexters Laboratory had Dexter become this in the episode "The Laughing" after being bitten by a pair of dentures belonging to a clown performing at Deedee's birthday party. Also partially subverted, in that Deedee stops Dexter by learning the ways of an order of benign mimes. Not to be confused with a Heroic Mime.
Binky The Clown from Garfield And Friends isn't really evil, but he is incredibly obnoxious and somewhat creepy, and provides a recurring source of irritation for Garfield. While annoying, Binky is for the most part a Non-Ironic Clown. In the episode of "Binky Goes Bad" he is framed for a multitude of crimes by a genuinely evil clown.
Chuckie from Rugrats is extremely coulrophobic, and in one episode he kept having nightmares about clowns, in which he would approach Tommy (who was facing away from the camera) and tap him on the shoulder, only to have Tommy turn around to reveal the most Nightmare Fuel-rific clown face and declare in the most disturbing voice ever, "I'm not Tommy!" * giggles*
The end of the episode had Mr. Finster walk out of Chuckie's room after tucking him in and noticing Stu turned away from him. He says, "Stu, I didn't know you were coming over," only to have clown faced Stu turn around and do the exact same thing that the clown faced Tommy did except he says, "I'm not Stu..." * laughs*
Another episode called "The Trial" featured a creepy clown lamp with a giant perpetual grin and an evil countenance.
Or the episode "The Mysterious Mr. Fiend" which had a talking clown doll depicted here◊.
The episode "Clown Around" had plenty of Monster Clowns for all.
To keep this list from getting longer, lets just say that Rugrats was very fond of Monster Clowns.
In a moment of Characterization Marches On, in an early season 1 episode it is actually Didi who is scared of clowns. A clown at a carnival sneaks up behind her and scares her, albeit accidentally.
The Beast Which Dares Not Speak Its Name, from the Earthworm Jim episode "Evil in Love". Far too powerful and evil for the titular hero to hope to defeat, but fortunately thwarted by bureaucracy.
Madkat from SWAT Kats. The spirit of an evil jester from medieval times that merged with a failed comedian whose hardships mirrored Madkat's own. For a one shot villain, he's pretty effective, and came damn close to winning.
Villain of the week Harry the Hypnotist used a clown getup as both a gimmick and a way to mask his identity. Throughout the episode, he's referred to simply as Ghost Clown, until he's finally caught by the gang, and identified by his boss.
Harry hypnotised Scooby into walking a tightrope and then snapped him out of the trance when he was halfway across. And then hypnotised Shaggy into being a lion tamer:
Ghost Clown: When I blow this whistle, you won't be a lion tamer. Just food for a hungry lion! (Evil Laugh)
Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated also gives us Crybaby Clown, a giant fat clown in a diaper who drives around in his huge car bombing buildings and neighborhoods with grenades shaped like milk bottles.
Clownfoot, a villainous clown from a Captain Caveman episode of The Flintstone Comedy Show probably qualifies here, complete with a Circus of Fear (which he uses as a hideout for his robberies and to lure Wilma and Betty into a saber-toothed-tiger filled trap).
A later-season episode of Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go features villains who are members of a circus possessed by Big Bad Skeleton King, which features not one, but THREE evil clowns, who end up merging into one really big, really creepy one. This is then subverted at the end when the circus is freed from evil and it turns out all the performers, including the no-longer-evil clowns are actually pretty nice people.
Peter dresses up as "Pee Pants the Inebriated Hobo Clown" in an episode of Family Guy. This being Peter, it goes horribly wrong. Considering that Peter accidentally killed the man he thought was his father (Francis, not the town drunk from Ireland) while performing as Pee Pants, nothing could have gone right.
The short-lived American adaptation of Australia's teacher sitcom Sit Down Shut Up has a Monster Clown in the form of the overly cheerful (and mentally unstable) vice principal Stuart Proszakian (voiced by Will Forte from Saturday Night Live). Before he was vice principal, Stuart was a clown entertaining at a Florida prison. The second episode (where the teachers run a schoolwide fair) even had Stuart dressed in prison stripes and clown make-up (making him look more like Beetlejuice) and singing this song (set to folksy banjo music) with the following lyrics:
Well, you were beaten mercilessly in the shower. You took an old-fashioned shiv in the crown. They fired tear gas on your ass from the tower. And when you got back up You were feelin' down. So... Someone sent you a prison clown Someone bought you Or bartered you A prison clown —
If anyone buys you or barters you a prison clown, scream as loud as you can and call the proper authorities. For me...
Will Forte also plays mentally unstable characters — including those who have been convicted of sexual offenses — on SNL so his role on Sit Down Shut Up isn't much of a stretch.
An episode of Extreme Ghostbusters had the ghostbusters hunting vampire-like monsters who feed on laughter and disguise themselves as clowns, because as this page tells us, there's nothing funnier than an ominous clown that can only speak in Evil Laughter following you by night.
Unless there's a whole pack of them looking to recruit you.
In an episode of League Of Super Evil, the team revives Doktor Frogg's first invention, Chuckles the Robotic Clown, for his birthday. Frogg later reveals that he invented Chuckles when he was a kid to ruin all the birthday parties he was never invited to and then Frogg's own birthday came.
Played with in American Dragon Jake Long, wherein Spud spends half an episode paralyzed by his fear of clowns. After finally realizing that the fear is irrational, he joyfully asks a troupe of clowns to make him laugh. Cue the clowns eating some magicked cupcakes, which transform them into hideous scorpion/clown/demon monsters. Nightmare Fuel all around!
Subverted in Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job with "Steve Mahahanan's Child Clown Rentals", which combines natural terror of clowns with the horror/pity of CHILD SLAVERY. Child Clowns are rented out as SERVANTS rather than entertainers, and besides a disturbing advertisement in the usual Tim and Eric style, there's an overly-long, creepily realistic VHS-edited "Care for Your Child Clown" video how-to in a later episode. Details include the care, cleaning and storage of your Child Clown.
Good to know: Child Clowns eat only Steve Mahahanan's Child Clown Wet Food Logs.
Re Boot has The Funhouse game with a monster clown as the User character. In the one game that's supposed to be impossible for sprites to win. Since the sprites that lose a game turn into nulls, this just adds to the creepiness of the character.
The Tick featured the villain Proto-Clown, a rampaging superpowered brute of a clown created by a genetic experiment intended to create a perfect Non-Ironic Clown. Notably, he was barely sentient and spoke only in Hulk Speak, and was only scary due to his Unstoppable Rage and ability to tear buildings asunder with his bare hands. As it turns out, he was completely harmless once calmed down, but he hated it when people laughed at him.
Adventure Time features the clown nurses from "Another Way". They aren't bad at first, but after Finn constantly objects to their touchy-feely bedside manner, his clown nurse tells him "ITS THE ONLY WAY!" in a creepy voice, complete with a red demonic face and a Scare Chord.
Tino's Mom: He said he's not coming out of his room until the city's been cleansed of its unholy clown infestation.
Tino (from behind a closed door): The hour of purification is at hand!
The Lobe in Freakazoid tried to deliberately invoke this via using a mysterious cloud to turn ordinary people into Monster Clowns to take over the world. Freakazoid shoots the idea down as stupid and makes the Lobe turn off the cloud, only to agree that it was a brilliant idea once the Lobe was out of earshot.
Urban legend: A teenage girl is babysitting, and the parents call home to check in. "Everything's fine," she says, "oh, but I covered up that clown statue in the back hall with my jacket, it was creeping me out." "Clown statue? We don't own a clown statue..."
There's a joke that's gone around about a boy and a clown walking through the woods at night. The boy says to the clown, "Man, this forest sure is scary..." to which the clown replies, "You're telling me. I have to go back through it by myself."
A charity in the Netherlands is the CliniClowns, people who dress up like clowns and visit children's hospitals in order to make them feel better. After doing this for years, psychological research shows that this backfires because too many children are afraid of clowns. Oops...
A Reuters article elaborates: "The study, reported in the Nursing Standard magazine, found all the 250 patients aged between four and 16 they quizzed disliked the use of clowns, with even the older ones finding them scary."
John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer who was convicted and later executed for the rape and murder of 33 boys and young men between 1972 and his arrest in 1978, 27 of whom he buried in a crawlspace under the floor of his house, while others were found in nearby rivers. He became notorious as the "Killer Clown" because of the many block parties he threw for his friends and neighbors, entertaining children in a clown suit and makeup, under the name of "Pogo the Clown". And he was genuinely Affably Evil, rather than Faux Affably Evil.
To make matters worse the AP once accidentally used a stock photo of Gacy for National Clown Day.
Gacy also created disturbing paintings of clowns. He sold them while he was in prison, believing that his art would live beyond the grave. The person who bought the paintings burned them all after he died so he wouldn't be remembered.
At least one of his paintings made it to the Louisiana swamp metal band Acid Bath. They had sent him a demo of their stuff, and he liked it so much he sent them a painting. When the Kite String Pops uses it as album art. It's rather fitting, really- that shit's fucked up, son. Incidentally, their second full-length actually had a painting by Dr. Jack Kevorkian who actually does violins on one of the songs.
Ouchy the Clown(NSFW!) is "your premier provider of adult clown services." That's right, sex clown for hire with S&M clown porn for sale. Tell me that's not some scary shit. His motto is "Popping up where you least expect me!"
In his book Mysterious America and elsewhere, Fortean Loren Coleman has documented numerous cases, beginning in May of 1981 but intermittently continuing up to the present day, of malevolent activity by persons unknown, dressed in clown attire, toward targets such as elementary school children. However, given that no such perpetrators have ever been apprehended, the "phantom clown" reports continue to remain unexplained.
Lon Chaney, Sr., "The Man of a Thousand Faces", and perhaps the single most iconic (as well as genuinely frightening) horror actor from the silent film era, once made the observation that "There is nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight."
You can now hire a monster clown to stalk small children a week before their birthday. He'll leave phone calls, post notes about how he's watching them and how he'll attack them and on their birthday, he'll smash a cake in their face. What kind of parents would do that to their kid?
Inverted by rodeo bullfighters, who dress like clowns to deal with situations (out-of-control bulls) which would scare the living shit out of practically anyone.