Top 10: Scary Clowns of All Time

Sven August 30, 2010 5

Red nose, face painted white, a crazy colored Tuck and a twisted grimace. An unpredictable, asocial borderline individual who squirts water in your face and makes fun at the expense of others. Pop culture is full of frightening clowns creating all kinds of anxiety among grown-ups as well as children.

It’s said that as much as one in seven nurtures a phobia of clowns, here’s list of 10 scary clowns. To end things off here’s words Johnny Depp himself used in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle when explaining his own fear of clowns:

Something about the painted face, the fake smile, There always seemed to be a darkness lurking just under the surface, a potential for real evil.

Pennywise (It)

Scary Clown from Books & Television

That Stephen is the king of horror has never been more obvious than after reading his 1986 novel “It”. When this masterpiece later went on the become a TV miniseries in 1990, director Tommy Lee Wallace casted british actor Tim Curry to play the child slaughtering clown Pennywise. An odd choice on paper perhaps, but Curry successfully managed to scar a whole generation of kids, including myself. Pennywise is definitely the world’s scariest clown.

The Poltergeist Clown (Poltergeist)

Scary Clown from Movies

Peter Hartlaub said it best for The San Francisco Chronicle. Even at the age of 39, with a mortgage, two sick kids and a leaking pipe in the laundry room, the clown in the movie Poltergeist still gives him the creeps. For the following three reasons he explains:

  1. It doesn’t talk
  2. It keeps showing up in different places
  3. It’s a f***ing clown

The last reason pretty much sums up this whole list.

Violator (Spawn)

Scary Clown from Comics

The oldest hell-born brother of three, The Violator is a demon sent to Earth in disguise as an overweight, balding clown with a menacing face paint. Building Hell’s army on Earth in Todd MacFarlane’s comic book creation Spawn, The Violator is the true comic book villain, making it to 97th place in IGN’s ranking of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time.

Ronald McDonald

Scary Fastfood Clown

As the prominent figure of a certain fast food franchise, Ronald McDonald is the only non-fictive clown on this list. But while the other clowns are limited to comic books and movies, Ronald is causing true mayhem in the real world. No other clown has as many lives on his conscience as McDonald’s own Ronald McDonald – successfully clogging arteries and feeding the overweight since 1963.

Zombie clown (Zombieland)

In the 2009 horror comedy Zombieland, main character Columbus is forced to face his fear of clowns when crossing a blood-thirsty zombiefied carnival clown. Red nosed, with a dark hungry stare and an over sized bow tie this zombie clown is by far the movies’ scariest undead.

The Joker (Batman)

Jack Nicholson brought the art of clownmanship to new heights in his portrait of The Joker in the 1989 Batman. Less than 20 years later Heath Ledger made life hell for coulrophobians worldwide when interpreting the same Batman character. It is said that he locked himself in his hotel room for two whole weeks in efforts to nail The Joker’s distinctive laughter. Speculators claim it was this last attempt in portraying a cold-blooded, sociopathic clown that finally cost Ledger his life.

The Klowns (Killer Klowns From Outer Space)

One Friday night the sleepy town Cove Crescent get’s a visit from outer space. It’s the Killer Klowns on the hunt for human blood. As the night progresses local police are overrun with distressed phone calls from people being zapped into candy floss cocoons and emptied of blood through striped curly straws. Being rolled into a cocoon and suck on blood with straws is manageable, but what’s really scary is the idea of being chased by an alien clown mobb with oddly shaped heads.

Krusty (The Simpsons)

Krusty the Clown in the animated series The Simpsons is based on the real clown entertainer Bozo the Clown. Neither of the two are particularly scary, at least not the obvious kind of scary that clowns like Pennywise or the Poltergeist clown are. Krusty is more unpleasant than intimidating, with his cynical view of life, his failing moral and never ending thirst for money and liquor. He represents the stereotype clown with something very dark resting under the surface.

Captain Spaulding (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects)

Appearing in two Rob Zombie movies, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, Captain Spaulding is a serial killing clown and the leader of the Firefly clan. Taking his role as a clown quite seriously Captain Spaulding will tolerate no ridiculing. Here’s a scene from The Devil’s Rejects that showcases just how proud Captain Spaulding is of being a scary clown.

Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal series)

Sweet Tooth is the ice-cream truck driving scary killer clown of the video game Twisted Metal. Being featured on every game cover to date, Needless Kane has become the game’s mascot and a perfect example of the evil clown as depicted by modern Western pop culture. Needless Kane has had three major looks, the first depicting the true clown look, the second introducing the trademark flaming hair and the third going for a Chainsaw massacre look with a mask bolted onto his face. All three different, all three scary as hell.


  1. Anthony October 29, 2010 at 11:37 am -

    None of the Clown Commandos made this list because THEY only strike fear into the hearts of bad guys!

  2. Juggalo head December 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm -

    WTF? were are the original clownsters, the wicked clowns, the insane clown posse, Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope

    • Christin :) June 23, 2011 at 11:20 am -

      OMG!!!! Terrified of clowns…. but the clowns on this… didn’t scare me…. :/ u culd do better

  3. Alice June 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm -

    I think the clown in the Brave Little Toaster is Scarier than most of those clowns other than IT. It always appears on my mind every night.