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Clowns are not actually that scary, despite current hype

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Everyone loves a good horror movie every once in a while, right? Something to get the heart pumping and the old nightmare juices flowing. I’m not sure why people like to scare themselves, but the movie industry sure gets a lot of money out of this need we seem to have.

The year isn’t even over and there have already been approximately 86.4 million total tickets sold just for horror movies according to movie revenue website, The Numbers. Not surprisingly, Andy Muschietti’s remake of Stephen King’s “It” has made around $151.2 million, and it’s only been in theaters for about a week.

For those who have been living under a rock, “It” is a story about a group of teenagers who need to band together in order to defeat an evil clown that is tormenting their town. That in and of itself is terrifying and seeing it in theaters could probably traumatize you, as if clowns weren’t traumatizing enough already. Phobia of clowns, or Coulrophobia, is specifically defined as the “persistent, abnormal and irrational fear of clowns” by the Phobia Clinic. But is it irrational?

Members of the World Clown Association would probably consider it so. The president of the organization, Pam Moody, told Vulture that clowns were losing work because of movies like “It.” Clown shows scheduled for schools and libraries have been canceled recently, understandably upsetting the clowning community. A clown’s target audience is children, after all, and they don’t want their work used as a gimmick to scare people.

This got me thinking, when did clowns become a prop used by directors to scare their audiences in the first place? Well interestingly enough, there were a few records of “evil clowns” as early as the 19th century. There was even a murderer labeled the “Killer Clown” in 1978 and, although he never killed anyone while wearing his clown outfit, he did make money working as a clown. But what I’ve found is that evil clowns can be traced back to…you guessed it, Stephen King’s novel “It.”

I for one was terrified of clowns when I was younger, let’s be honest, I still am in a way.  Though I never read “It” or saw either film rendition, they just scared me. A circus would be ruined for me if a clown got too close, and I’m sure that this is the case for many people. Just imagining their painted faces approaching me from the shadows of the circus tent left me thoroughly spooked as a kid.

Granted, a clown has never did anything to me, and I believe most of the animosity toward clowns is groundless. In fact, I met a clown this past year at a Walgreens and although I cannot remember his name, he left a lasting impression on me. He was quite friendly just down on his luck, homeless and out of work. He told me that he loved his job as a clown; making children laugh was what made him love living.

So are clowns scary? Well, I think clowns are terrifying. A human figure with non-human features: creepy. Moody found a great alternative to this. She says that people shouldn’t consider the creature from “It” a clown. Easy, right?

Honestly, I wonder if the movie would be half as scary without all the jump scares.

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Clowns are not actually that scary, despite current hype