Monster Clown

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"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."

Captain SpauldingThe Devil's Rejects

Clowns are supposed to be funny. They're supposed to make everyone laugh, especially children. This is the entire point of their existence. 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, and 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. You don't want your kids around the Monster Clown, but the character's parents seem oblivious to their kid's fears.

It's somewhat uncommon to find clown characters who are genuinely good - 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. But writers are just as likely to tap into the fear: the Monster Clown is a classic villain who parodies 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.

Monster Clowns are often Affably Evil or Faux Affably Evil - if they work in a circus, it'll be a Circus of Fear. Likewise, many of these clowns may or may not be completely insane and act in a very similar manner to an overgrown child; they tend to commit their crimes while laughing crazily and frequently, cracking fittingly dark jokes (if you can call them that).

Note that 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 "Weary Willie" - by contrast have very muted designs, and can be difficult to identify by the TV audience; as such, that are rarely seen anymore.

The point is that real-world clowns clown: while clowning is intended to be funny, it can be received as ritualised (self-)humiliation, and may make modern audiences quite sick to the stomach - now imagine what the Monster Clown's sick twists on their gags will do to 'em. Somtimes, a Monster Clown won't even do that much... they just look like a clown, without any of the jokes or working in a circus or going to kids' parties. On the flipside of it, John Wayne Gacy, one of the most famous serial killers in the United States, worked part-time as a clown - the AP once used a stock photo of Gacy for National Clown day.

A subtrope of this is Enemy Mime, while a villainous clown Played for Laughs instead of fear is a Villainous Harlequin. A related and overlapping trope is the Depraved Kids' Show Host related. Clowns' ghastly white makeup may put them into White Mask of Doom territory. Contrast the Non-Ironic Clown. Supertrope to Juggalo.

Examples of Monster Clown include:


Anime and Manga

  • Hisoka from Hunter X Hunter.
  • In Akira there are two rival biker gangs. One gang, called the Clowns, dresses in clown-like outfits and acts very much like evil clowns.
  • One appears in the circus scene in the beginning half of the animated movie Paprika.
  • Piemon from Digimon Adventure.
  • Tongpu, alias Mad Pierrot from Cowboy Bebop.
  • Mayuri Kurotsuchi, 12th division Captain from Bleach.
  • Although he's not actually a clown, the Millennium Earl from D.Gray-man is a Monster Clown. He even refers to himself as the Auguste clown once.
    • Also, the lvl 2 akuma that could imitate shapes, Pierrot.
    • Inverted with Allen himself, who uses the Innocence Crowned Clown. But his adoptive father, Mana, may have been a straight example...
    • And Allen was beaten up by clowns until he got adopted.
  • Alan Gabriel from The Big O has a clownish appearance to go along with his...less than sane personality.
  • The Clown in the Soul Eater manga claims to be the Anthropomorphic Personification of Insanity itself.
    • And now there are several of them...
    • 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 the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, 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 cards with 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.
  • GaoGaiGar 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.
      • Pagliaccio actually means "clown" in Italian.
  • 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 entire 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 parasyte, 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 is his idea of a hilarious prank.
  • Hell Teacher Nube: Pierrot in the second movie. Made worse by being voiced by Ryusei Nakao, the same voice actor as Freeza and Mayuri Kurotsuchi.
  • Tommyrod from Toriko is yet another example. With heavy emphasis on the "monster" part. Bonus point for the fact, that his entire face - including eyes - often seems to be painted on.
  • 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.

Comic Books

  • Subverted by a short-lived superhero called Funnyman whose schtick was... you guessed it....
  • The Joker from Batman. The Trope Codifier.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Violator from Spawn.
  • The Comedian from Watchmen arguably qualifies. In his original costume as one of the Minutemen anyway. When he gets his second costume and becomes one of the Crimebusters, not so much.
    • Like the Joker's Glasgow smile in The Dark Knight Saga, the scar the Comedian gets in Vietnam is eerily reminiscent of a clown's painted smile.
  • Protoclown from The Tick (animation)
    • And then the subversion: Protoclown was genetically engineered to be the perfect Non-Ironic Clown, and deep down he's not such a bad guy. He just really hates being laughed at.
  • Deadpool sees all clowns as Monster Clowns.
  • Blade once fought vampire clowns. Really.
  • Even The Creeper has shown dislike of clowns.
  • Bali Lali from Bizenghast is a Giant Spider woman in a jester outfit. She is closer to Good, being a hero but she certainly is creepy.
  • Clown, who was featured in Super Mystery Comics and Four Favorites, was so evil he worked for Adolf Hitler.
  • Eliot Franklin, from the Marvel Universe, worked as a clown and wore his clown costume to commit crimes. He eventually became a professional hitman.
  • The Clown Cenobite (aka "Winky Dink") from the Hellraiser comic story "Dead Things Rot".
  • A recent[when?] issue of the revamped CREEPY comic featured a murderous clown who killed "demons" wherever he saw them. He saw them everywhere.
  • The Painted Doll, a Joker-expy from Promethea.
  • 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 totally 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.
  • Naturally, the Circus of Crime (usually foes of The Avengers) has lots of them. One particular member is Eliot "Crafty" Franklin, usually just called the Clown, who is The Dragon to the Ringmaster, and sometimes the leader when his boss is in jail.


  • Beetlejuice: The title character from the movie.
  • 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 more scary 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.
  • A startling jack-in-the-box (that weeps, apparently) turns up in the very first shot of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane
  • In Diary of the Dead (the Romero Zombie movie) there's a Zombie-Clown at a birthday party and he bites the birthday child's dad's ear off. It's hilarious and absolutely terrifying.
    • It's telling that the child is shown to be instinctively afraid of the clown.
    • One also pops up in Land of the Dead to eat one of the side characters.
      • 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 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.
  • Near the end of Zombieland, a zombie clown appears at Pacific Playland. Even though Columbus is afraid of clowns, he kills it in two hits.
  • Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) in House of 1000 Corpses. Especially the first scene. He's more of a monster in The Devil's Rejects but ditches the clown makeup early in the film.
  • 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 Wees 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 Saga'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 Saga, after the Joker flips the semi over and starts making goofy noises with his lips, the riffers say this:

Mike: Daffy Duck and John Wayne Gacy's bastard son.
Bill: I thought that was Jim Carrey...

  • 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 (Film) 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.
  • Angelique of Hellraiser Bloodline was supposed to be served by a troupe of these. Sadly the movie went through it's own Development Hell, and they were one of the many casualties.
  • 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 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 film Amusement. While not a monster clown, the clown wearing psychopath still proves that sometimes you don't have to be supernatural to be scary, especially in this scene.
  • 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 killer in Slaughter High wears a jester costume. Fitting, since the film takes place on April Fools' Day.
  • 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.
  • Referenced (and possibly subverted) in Star Trek: Generations; a joke told by Geordi has the punchline, "The clown can stay, but the Ferengi in the gorilla suit has to go."


  • 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.
    • Pennywise isn't confined simply to "IT"; 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."
    • Ironically, 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. As such, It gives adults a new reason to fear clowns: they lure children in with balloons and dancing, only to then do unthinkable things to them...
  • 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:

They are tragic, and we laugh at their tragedy as we laugh at our own. The painted grin leers out at us from the darkness, mocking our insane belief in order, logic, status, the reality of reality. The mask knows that we are born on the banana skin that leads only to the open manhole cover of doom, and all we can hope for are the cheers of the crowd.

    • 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.
  • Horrabin from The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers.
  • In Use of Weapons, Cheradenineactually 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.
  • While technically a jester rather than a clown, the murdering rapist mercenary Shagwell from A Song of Ice and Fire probably qualifies.
  • 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 of course 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 Wars New 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.
  • Arguably, the jester from Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra can be seen as a Trope Maker (with Rigoletto, or possibly some Victor Hugo work, as an Ur Example).
  • 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 RL 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.

Live-Action TV

Xander: (runs into Willow while fleeing, panicked) Remember my sixth birthday party?
Willow: Oh yeah! When the clown chased you, and you got so scared you went... oh.

  • A special fear of Sam's on Supernatural
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • As the title suggests, The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Day of the Clown". "Odd Bob" is really the Pied Piper and some sort of Anthropomorphic Personification of childhood fear.
  • Hysterically funny subversion from 80s Sitcom The 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.
  • The League of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou, a demonic, polygamist blackface minstrel who runs a Circus of Fear. Season 3 reveals that he doesn't actually wear any makeup. That's his actual skin.
  • 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.
  • The guys at MST3K had the clowns' number, riffing on the short "Here Comes The Circus" (aka "Here Comes The DEVIL!")
    • 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."
  • This Romper 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.
  • A show called Masters of Horror, the ghost of an ice cream-truck-driving clown who the main character and his Jerkass 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 Jerkass 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.


  • 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 made of Nightmare Fuel. Seriously, don't go to sleep after watching that.
  • Shawn "Clown" Crahan of Slipknot, and his mask.
  • 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").
  • 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 Axe 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.
  • Alice Cooper's Can't Sleep, the Clowns Will Eat Me.
  • Ogden Edsl's "Kinko the Clown" is equal parts novelty song and Nightmare Fuel.

But that was in Indianapolis, and thanks to the liberal reciprocity laws, Kinko can be with you boys and girls today or anytime.

  • The label of some of Capitol and Wonderland Records' children's 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.
  • Deadbolt have several songs that feature not only Patches, the murderous clown, but also a clown mafia and Mike Dugan, the Sociopathic Hero who dresses as a clown to battle them.
  • 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.


  • MAD Magazine had "The FBI's 6 Most Wanted Renegade Clowns", wanted for a variety of silly crimes. For instance, Lotta Fun (aka "Inky", "Dinky", and "Raoul") who was wanted for shampooing a traffic cop with rubber cement, and was last seen driving a tiny getaway car for the 112 clowns who robbed the Big Red Balloon Co. in New York; answers to "Hey you clown!"

Professional Wrestling

  • Doink the Clown in the WWF, until his face turn. Then it went downhill fast. Matt Osborne, who portrayed him, claims he took quite a lot of inspiration from The Joker while doing so. Doink also gets point for the coolest entrance theme ever, which started with the first few bars of "Entrance of the Gladiators" (aka the Standard Snippet for clowns) before turning into a very bass-heavy, very evil piece dotted with Evil Laughter. Have a listen.
  • Subverted by Sting in TNA during his 2011 war against the Immortal faction. Slathering over his trademark black lipstick with a grotesquely smeared red Glasgow Grin, playing pranks, and laughing and carrying on maniacally, he seemed to be a Monster Clown but was actually more of a Loveable Rogue playing mind games with the villains. Definitely a case of Love It or Hate It, especially for longtime Sting fans.
  • An episode of SmackDown in April 2000 had the Mean Street Posse posing as a trio of circus clowns during a hardcore title match when they ambushed Crash Holly.
  • Insane Clown Posse.

Reality TV

Tabletop Games

  • Mortasheen combines this with Mons and has an entire 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 the hell 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' - an entire society of Monster Clowns. Literally in some most cases.
  • 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 40,000 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, of course.
    • 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.
      • Of course, 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 basically 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 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.
  • Let it not be said that Magic the Gathering doesn't know the monster potential in clowns. Say hello to the Chaos Harlequin.
    • 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 (tabletop game) 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! LOVES this trope.
  • In Cyberpunk 2020, 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.
  • 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.

Video Games

  • 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.
  • Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI, complete with a creepy and weird, cackling laugh, comical outfit, and whiteface makeup during battles... Not to mention his very quotable one-liners. In Dissidia, they also apparently gave him a Glasgow Grin that was eerily similar to Heath Ledger's Joker incarnation from The Dark Knight, and, in the English version at least, a voice similar to that of Mark Hamill's Joker voice.
  • 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.
  • ColorMan/WackoMan from Mega Man Battle Network 1 and Mega Man NT Warrior. He looks and acts silly and harmless, but he's A-OK with trying to kill an entire bus full of people, and even tortures Roll before MegaMan deletes him. He's a lot less vile in Network Transmission, but he's also the ony Net Navi causing trouble independently of the Zero Virus or the Professor's orders.
    • 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.
        • Don't forget about 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, not to mention having MegaMan kidnapped as well.
    • Clown Man from 8.
    • Mash, the clown robot boss from 7.
  • Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow and subsequent games have the Killer Clown enemy, who juggles playing cards and throws them at you. (Get their ability and you can do that too! It's surprisingly awesome.)
  • Zorn and Thorn from Final Fantasy IX.
  • 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 Zombie) 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"
  • 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...
    • His brother, Evan, appears in Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, though he's not evil or even really insane, just pissed off that Frank killed his brother back in Willamette.
  • Dhoulmagus, one of the main villains of Dragon Quest VIII, is a murderous and psychopathic jester. For once, the character's villainy is totally 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.
  • Jester from Devil May Cry 3 is pretty creepy, even before you find out that he is The Man Behind the Man.
  • 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 of course 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 Jerkass 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.
  • In the first chapter of Dark Cloud 2 (aka Dark Chronicle), the Big Bad (before we find out about The Man Behind the Man) is Flotsam, creepy leader of a troupe of killer clowns.
    • 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 literally 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.
  • Booster, Knife Guy, and Grate Guy from Super Mario RPG.
  • 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 totally 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.
  • The Deathjester from Seiken Densetsu 3, Dragon to one of the game's three potential Big Bads.
  • 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.
  • Downplayed with Moe, a witness from the second Ace Attorney game. He's trying to be a regular fun-loving circus clown, but isn't very good at it, seeing as his jokes are terrible and his costume (with grinning mouths all over it) is terrifying. Of course, oddball witnesses are nothing new in this series; Phoenix also has to interview a ventriloquist's dummy in the same case.
  • The final stage of the game Carn Evil is the Big Top, which is absolutely crawling with midget clowns, overly beefed up jokers, and even 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.
    • Tokkentakker, the end boss. Though he's relatively mild compared to the rest of the game.
    • 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!

  • Marx in the "Milky Way Wishes" portion of Kirby Super Star giving Kirby access to a Forgotten Superweapon. He then sprouts wings and turns outright creepy.
  • Rudy the Clown in the Wario Land series, who's both a demon that transformed an entire world to monsters and steals life saving medicines from Doctor Mario (Although in the latter case he did have somewhat of an excuse for why he stole it, as he did need it for his cold).
    • There is also a Monster Clown called Clown-A-Round in the Wonky Circus level in Wario World and a robot monster clown called Chortlebot in Wario Land: Shake It!
      • 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 literally 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".
  • Spike, the cover star of Toonstruck.
  • 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."
    • And note that this stage is almost definitely inspired by House of the Dead's fellow arcade rail shooter classic Carnevil.
  • The Joker from the Monster Rancher series combines this with The Grim Reaper.
  • 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.
  • Gore Screaming Show, the Eldritch Abomination from the visual novel of the same name by Black Cyc. Yes, it does include lots of gore and screaming.
  • Mad Jack, a jack-in-the-box boss from Donkey Kong 64 who also has a magnificent Evil Laugh.
  • The sixth boss of the unlicensed piece of garbage Silent Assault is a giant scary clown head.
  • In the online flash game The Last Stand, on one of the final levels there is a single zombie clown. This is the only pre-rendered zombie in the whole game.
  • Jack from the Sega Dreamcast fighting game Power Stone combines this with Jack the Ripper.
  • Barry Dejay from Backyard Sports has a fear of clowns, so he must have had an encounter with one.
  • Sebastian the masochist from Rumble Roses.
  • The Wolverine levels in Spider-Man and X-Men: Arcade's Revenge are practically made of this trope.
  • 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.
  • Spore: Galactic Adventures has Shenanigans, a sharp-toothed monstrosity who is also the size of a tyrannosaur and can breathe fire.
  • 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. Not to mention he possesses Luigi for the final battle. My gosh, this is basically the Mario version of Kefka Palazzo.
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer has the creepy-ass Harlequin character and his twin sister the Hellequin.
  • The PC version of the game 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.
  • The Pokémon Conkeldurr and pre-evolution Gurdurr from the fifth generation games look like circus strongmen with clown noses (And in Gurdurr's case, a head that looks like a clown's wig).
  • 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.
  • In Rayman 1 the Candy Château is full of clowns doing their best to kill you.
  • The GAC clowns in Dead to Rights.
  • Splatterhouse 2010 has a level set at a theme park which is, of course, populated by demonic clowns and 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, the second boss is a bottle genie that looks and behaves in a manner similar to a clown.
  • Serious Sam II has weird looking, unicycling, manically laughing, suicide bombing clowns that attack in groups. Yeah...
  • Cicero in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an insane assassin who maintains a persona of a jester when out in public. You can also get in on the fun if you decide to wear his outfit.
  • 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.
  • Hecklar from Cardinal Syn.
  • The Joker as he appears in the Batman Arkham games is every bit as monstrous and clownish as you'd expect, but he plans on making an army of literal Monster Clowns in the first game by injecting his face-painted henchmen with Titan formula, which causes them to hulk out into Bane-like abominations. He gets in on the fun himself by shooting himself with a Titan filled dart before the final boss fight. This series also gives us one of the franchise's crueler interpretations of Harley Quinn as well.
  • As if the killer animatronics of the Five Nights at Freddy's series weren't frightening enough, there are quite a few with a clown motif as well.
    • Introduced in the second game is the Puppet, who stands out among the animatronics by looking less like an anthropomorphic Funny Animal and more like an unnaturally thin and lanky Humanoid Abomination dressed like a pierrot. She's the biggest threat you'll face because one of the game's most important gimmicks revolves around keeping her pacified. If you fail to keep her music box wound up and focus too much on fending off the other animatronics, she'll come flying at you from the darkness like a bat out of hell, and there's no way to put her back in her box. Interestingly, later games would reveal that she's an unconventional Big Good trying to help the other ghosts of murdered children like her get revenge on the man who killed them. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop her from being a menace to any and all innocent night guards who get in her way.
    • Also introduced in the second game is Foxy's Toy counterpart, Mangle. He/she/yes has abandoned Foxy's original pirate motif in favor of a clownish one, and his bright colors, makeup, and whacky cartoon glove reflect upon her new career choice. She especially fits the monstrous criteria in a literal way, as he's been reduced to a tangled spider-like mess of broken machinery thanks to being abused by rambunctious visiting children. He's also very likely to have been the culprit behind the Bite of '87, where an animatronic attacked someone in broad daylight and tore out their frontal lobe.
      • And if you thought these clownlike animatronics weren't monstrous enough, they get Phantom and Nightmare incarnations in the the third and fourth games! Like all Phantom Animatronics, Phantom Puppet and Mangle can't kill you, but they act as Support Party Members to Springtrap, who can. Nightmare Mangle also looks every bit as monstrous as the other Nightmare Animatronics, while Nightmarrione looks like an Eldritch Abomination that only vaguely resembles a clown, complete with tentacley appendages and the ability to reset your game!
    • Speaking of Springtrap, he gets a clown-themed skin in the spinoff game Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery that makes him look like a cross between a deranged fursuiter and Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.
    • Almost every animatronic in Circus Baby's Pizza World, the titular Sister Location in Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location is a Monster Clown in some form. They're hammy, theatrical entertainers who boast bright colors, while Circus Baby herself is a cute clown girl. And not only are they as murderous as the rest, but they're designed to lure away children and kill them on behalf of William Afton, their creator.
    • The Fruit Punch and Lemonade Clowns from Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator are a parody of this. Their minigame has you jumpscare hyperactive children, but their "jumpscare" is a bunch of airhorn noises, and they're otherwise harmless and goofy-looking. The Fruit Punch Clown does have a rare voice line where he threatens to slit your throat, but even that is delivered in a heavily accented, borderline incomprehensible text-to-speech voice.
    • The Daycare Attendant from Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach has two personas that invoke this trope in different ways. His Sun persona is an aggressively friendly Non-Ironic Clown whose manic behavior, No Sense of Personal Space, and Uncanny Valley design terrify the children left in his care. But while he doesn't try to be scary, his Moon persona does, and aggressively hounds and punishes any children who stay up past their bedtime while speaking in a growly, raspy voice. When Gregory gets locked in the Pizzaplex after dark, he proves to be just as murderous as the other animatronics, and is among the most dangerous due to how hard it is to hide from him.
  • The Jester in Darkest Dungeon is a rare heroic example, insomuch as any of the classes can be called heroic. Sort of a cross between a rogue, minstrel, and this Trope, he can be an invaluable asset in some situations, his singing able to calm the rest of the party and prevent the stress from doing them in. Or it can inspire them and buff their - and his - attacks.
  • Lola Pop from ARMS was never intended to be this; producer Kosuke Yabuki intended her to just be a silly, fun-loving circus clown who just happened to a contender in a Fighting Game where every playable character was silly, but players were terrified of her regardless. Kosuke later said half-jokingly that he had "learned a weakness in Americans" due to them being scared of such a thing. So... if he ever decides to greenlight less lighthearted game, coulrophobia sufferers be warned...
  • Mad Clown from Super Punch Out doesn't stop at looking the part, he incorporates all kinds of showy acrobatic maneuvers and even juggling balls into his fighting style. His juggling balls are especially dangerous because they're a prelude to a brutal instant-knockdown attack that comes out fast. If you go into his fight expecting a mere Bear Hugger reskin, you're in for a very rude awakening.
  • Philippe, the fourth Boss of Final Fight 2, who battles the heroes with acrobatic kicks and a trick cane. According to the instruction guide, he's been using the circus as a front for a smuggling operation while working for the Mad Gear Gang.

Web Animation

  • 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.)
  • Xombie, a flash animation series which takes place After the End in a Zombie Apocalypse world at one point goes trough a circus. Guess what the protagonist has to face there.

"Even undead, clowns are annoying."

  • 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.
  • Fizzarolli from Helluva Boss, Blitzo's former friend and now rival, is a clown, demon, and cyborg, plus a minion of Mammon, the Exemplar of Greed.

Web Comics

Mort: And how did you know that girl didn't like clowns?
Antimony: Nobody likes clowns.

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!

Elspeth: Wouldn't dressing as clowns put patients at ease more?
Martian 2: Ah, good idea! Like Pennywise? Or the Joker?
Elspeth: I see your point.
Martian 2: Or Pagliaccio!

Web Original

  • "Clowns: Satan's idea of what's funny" poster
  • Here's a particularly scary example of a monster clown jack-in-the-box, just scroll a bit down to see it (but be warned, it is very unnerving). Click if you dare: [1]
  • Just a fair warning: This may keep you up tonight.
  • There's a viral comment being spread on YouTube warning, "a clown will kill u at 3:00 A.M. tomorrow morning if u dont pass this 2 10 vids [sic]."
  • Behold Baby Ronald McDonald.
  • The Cheezburger Network's newest website, Clown Fails, is nothing but this.
  • Tom Foolery of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Scary makeup, spine-chilling laugh, weaponized toys, and an urge to see the whole world go down in flames. He is basically the setting's Captain Ersatz of The Joker.
  • Subject Beef certainly fits. Seanbaby speculates on the cause-effect relationship of wearing clown makeup and killing people. All we can say for sure is that it's there, one way or another.
  • "Nightmare Clown" by Richard Svensson.
  • The Jester, ringmaster of Le Cirque d'Abberations in The Tale of the Exile, is one of these. He has a magically-induced deformity that gives him a permanent Slasher Smile and a tendency to mutilate others as a form of art.
  • SCP Foundation has a few:
    • SCP-993, the "Bobble the Clown" show. Once the program starts, everyone in the room over the age of ten passes out; children under the age of ten report that an animated clown gives how-tos on cannibalism, arson, and a number of other horrifying things. 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 shown right before they start blocking his broadcasts are "Bobble Hates You" (consisting of Bobble sitting in a chair and glaring silently at the viewer for the entire episode) and an episode where Bobble 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.
    • SCP-5962; this creature is technically a cow, having been born from one at a Midwest American farm, but it resembles a large (4 meters tall) obese ( over 5 tons) monstrous version of Ronald McDonald, and it continually spits out fully-packaged McDonalds products. The owners of the farm sold it to a Chinese McDonalds franchise, where they enjoyed an incredible boost in profits for a while until the Foundation found out about it. They also found out that the food was made from human flesh - all of it. The bacon and fries are human cartilage and ligaments, chicken nuggets were made from, er, reproductive organs, the bread is made of hair, nails, and skin, and the coffee and ice cream, well… were made from various human waste products. (Yeah, a lot of folks in-story were grossed out too.) The weird part is, nobody knows who the victims are or where the stuff comes from, as SCP-5962 has never been known to attack anyone (except one time when it spewed hot coffee on a visiting Burger King manager, possibly the guy who tipped off the Foundation), and never really does anything except produce the food - it seems relatively mindless. In fact, when analyzed, the genetic material matches that of still-living humans, who seem unharmed by this process. Worst of all, SCP-5962 is not the only SCP that came from that farm; SCP-4158 is another mutated cow who came from there, and possibly more that have yet to be documented.
    • SCP-1799 ("Mr. Laugh") subverts this. While he is a clown, he is not dangerous, and is, in fact, a Tragic Monster and Sad Clown.
  • 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.
    • The Spoony Experiment featured Noah Antwiler playing "Chuckles the Fucking Jester", a character from the Ultima series. Spoony finds him creepy, screaming when he enters the room. He is also relentlessly obnoxious, making bad jokes and beating Noah with a rubber chicken for not playing "The Game" correctly. After Spoony's robot blasts him with a laser beam, Chuckles flees, and a mysterious figure points out his ability to cause great fear, giving him a Yellow Lantern ring.
    • Diamanda Hagan, who is basically 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.
  • Skippys List has examples:

65. There are no evil clowns living under my bed.

  • 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.

Western Animation

  • Can't forget Joker from The Batman. Especially "Vampire Joker" in The Batman vs. Dracula.
    • And 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 disguising 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.
    • Possibly even more terrifying was when mutagen turns him into a clown-snake hybrid in the crossover Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles versus Batman. In case anyone doesn't know, snakes eat turtles, making this a terrifying villain to all the heroes in this crossover.
  • 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.
    • Not to mention 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."

  • Bart's clown bed in "Lisa's First Word". Say it with me now. "If You Should Die Before You Wake!"
  • And, Krusto D. Clown from "Treehouse of Horror: Not It", a cross between Krusty and Pennywise.
  • Can't sleep, clown will eat me
  • 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.
    • The Nightmare Fuel 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 cell mate he switched faces with.
  • In the DVD commentary for season four, one of the writers recounts a comment overheard during a meeting: "Kids are scared of clowns, and adults think they're annoying, so what the hell good are they?"
  • Zombozo the Clown from Ben 10.
  • 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.
  • Darph Bobo, and the entire Clown Empire, from Tripping the Rift
  • 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."

  • HE LIES.
  • Ironically, the clown is a genuinely Non-Ironic Clown who only tries to entertain Wakko with song and dance. He earns a happy ending.
  • In the Legion of Super Heroes, episode "Fear Factory", Lightning Lad is terrified of a clownlike doll from his childhood called "Captain Howdy".
  • Mighty Max had an episode (and a micro playset) involving Freako the Clown.
  • In one episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Billy displays a fear of clowns, thinking they're out to conquer the world and "Destroy us all! Destroy us all! Destroy us all!" After much prodding from Grim and Mandy and a trip to his Happy Place, he eventually gets over his fear... by becoming homicidally angry with clowns instead of afraid. This doesn't save him from the giant clown monster Grim made earlier, which proceeded to eat them all.
    • "So, it's agreed? We all hate clowns."
  • Freakshow from Danny Phantom.
  • 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!
  • An episode of Dexter's 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 this episode, 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.
  • 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*
    • Not to mention 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 Clown's for all.
      • To keep this list from getting longer, lets just say that Rugrats was very fond of Monster Clowns.
  • 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 Madk Kat's own. For a one shot villain, he's pretty effective, and came damn close to winning.
  • The Clown With The Tearaway Face from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
    • Subverted in that he isn't that scary once you get to know him, just like the other denizens of Halloween Town.
  • The Brave Little Toaster had a nightmare about a fireman-clown trying to chase it into a filled bathtub. His only line was "Run!". Sound advice!
    • Considering it was a toaster's nightmare, and the clown was armed with a fire hose and a fork...
  • Scooby Doo has featured various such examples, among others including Zombo the "clown ghost" (from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo). What's New, Scooby-Doo? even retconned Velma into having had a fear of clowns.
    • 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 was a Complete Monster, who 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 Cry-Baby 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 and the Teen Angels 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.
  • One Man Circus from Scruff.
  • Peter dresses up as "Pee Pants the Inebriated Hobo Clown" in an episode of Family Guy. This being Peter, it goes horribly wrong.
  • 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.
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...
    • It should also be of note that 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 with an Evil Laugh following you by night.
  • Paddywack from Darkwing Duck. Beady red eyes, long grasping limbs, fangs and a bottom of the well voice. Not to mention that he was an otherworldly evil entity that fed on fear or chaos or some other kind of metaphysical claptrap and had poltergeist powers galore.
  • 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.
  • ReBoot 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.
  • Minoriteam has Halfpint, the evil gangster clown.
  • Four of these showed up in the Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "Power Squid and Spaghetti Beezy", though they weren't so much monsters as they were assholes.
    • There was also the episode where Jimmy and Beezy tried to become clowns, only to be constantly rebuffed by the selfsame jerks.
  • Sneero,the villain clown in Achille Talon.
  • Scuzzo, and his large mute brother Fuzzo, in Beetlejuice, is the Ghost with the Most's (im)mortal enemy. Debatably BJ is the lesser of two evils there.
  • This computer animation demo reel from 1984 opens with an evil juggling clown so scary, he has the power to terrify even those not normally afraid of clowns!
  • The Powerpuff Girls had Rainbow the Clown. He's somewhat of a subversion though, since he's neither scary, nor evil. His Super-Powered Evil Side on the other hand, most certainly is.
  • The Tick (animation) 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 clown nurses, which aren't bad at first, but after Finn constantly objects, his clown nurse tells him "ITS THE ONLY WAY!" with a red demonic face accompanied by one of the worst Scare Chords ever.
  • The Clown Demons who run the carnival in The Owl House episode "Really Small Problems". While this is truly a nightmarish concept, they are the Affably Evil type who do not tolerate anyone scamming customers - unless the scammers are working for them.
  • In American Dad, Roger overlaps this with Evil Teacher in his H.J. Rimmens personality, being a teacher at a clown school. Right off the bat, he admits to using mind games and emotionally abuse his students into becoming clowns, adding that 60% of them will be Driven to Suicide by the end of the semester. Of course, seeing as this is Roger we're talking about, he’s not very good at being either type of villain, and eventually loses his permit to teach clowns. A Flash Forward scene shows him as a Pennywise Expy gunning for revenge against Steve, only to get stuck in a storm drain while doing so.
  • In the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Mining the Mind's Mines", the psychic mines initially try to tempt the Lower Deckers by creating illusions of their fantasies; when the mines malfunction, however, they switch to illusions of their nightmares, which includes Klingon clowns with bat'leths for arms. While this does not specify whose nightmare this is, all of the ensigns flee in terror.
  • The Juggalos from Inside Job subvert this. They're pretty... weird, but of the six organizations who secretly rule the world, they seem the least evil. They aren't sure why they are in the overall group, but are actually very nice to their "rivals", giving Myc and Glenn pep talks after they are shunned from the festivities at the Power Struggle competition.

Other Media

Real Life

  • 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.
    • A 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.")
  • 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 Evilly Affable.
    • 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 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."
  • Look! Clowns! (This is supposed to have sold a house?)
  • 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.
    • Jesus, 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.
  • The Juggalo subculture has shades of this.
  • Buffo, the World's Strongest Clown! If clowns don't scare you enough, try one that can rip phone books in half without even trying.