Clowns are scary. From childhood, clowns have a way of scaring us to tears. In the middle of the night, our younger selves were interrupted by the dreaded thought: ‘what if something evil, something smiling – and very hungry – is under the bed waiting for us?’

For many, it’s the face of a clown that the Boogeyman wears. In anticipation of next month’s IT I have compiled a list of my favorite evil clowns. So sit back and enjoy some cotton candy as your good buddy welcomes you back to the macabre theater’s countdown of the Top 8 Evil Clowns

And don’t forget to purchase your very own iHorror scary clown shirt right here!

Number 8: Clown DollPoltergeist (directed by Tobe Hooper, Steven Spielberg)

This is the earliest memory I have of actual fear. I was a toddler at the very least, no older than four years old, and this scene from Poltergeist did one hell of a number on my little brain. Yeah, my parents let me watch horror movies at a very young age, and I’m pretty sure that led me to become what I am today.

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As a kid, there were two things that could scare the ever-living crap out of me. Clowns being one, and dolls that came to life being the other. This damn movie just had to combine both of my terrors together. I was so shaken by this one scene that if I walked into a toy store and saw a clown doll I would be reduced to screaming hysterics. There was no face of Satan more traumatizing to me than that of a painted clown grin.

Number 7: Clown Phenomena

In the last few years we’ve seen the rise of menacing clowns appearing in parks, along secluded roads after sunset, and – more heinously – on the front porches of unsuspecting suburbia. Many called it the clown epidemic and others named these strange apparitions the disciples of Pennywise.

Image via The Daily Haze

What motivated these individuals to don the colorful costumes and paint their faces up – or wear creepy masks – and scare people witless? That’s part of the wonder of the weird phenomena: there was never any motivation.

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These clowns have been caught on video and there are dozens of stories of clown encounters, whether they are all true or not remains debatable. But you can’t deny how frightening it would be to hear that dreaded thump in the middle of the night only to get up and explore to discover it’s a clown outside your front door, and it’s holding a – club, or hatchet, or ball bat, or tire iron, or a knife, or even just a rubber chicken. This stuff is beyond freaky.

Image via The Ghost Diaries

Number 6: Twisty the Clown – American Horror Story: Freak Show

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If looks could kill our good pal Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) would be the local county blue-ribbon winner of all things deadly. From the very offset of season four American Horror Story: Freak Show won us all over by revealing the decayed face of Twisty who quickly became a fan favorite. That face will haunt our dreams for years to come.

Image via Vulture

Number 5: Kent McCoy – Clown (directed by Jon Watts)

We all know clowns are demonic and this movie just decided to come out and prove us all right. A loving father (Andy Powers) puts on an old clown costume to make sure his little boy’s birthday party isn’t spoiled when the hired entertainer flakes. However, later on Kent McCoy runs into a bit of trouble. The damn costume will not come off, but that’s only the prelude of his woes.

Image via ComingSoon

The costume, the hair, even the nose itself are all symbiotic and will not be separated from their new host. We learn that what poor Kent innocently thought was nothing more than a clown suit is in all actuality a demonic entity. A living thing needing a human host to possess in order to feed its dire hunger for children’s flesh.

Image via acedmagazine

It’s a movie about a killer clown that eats kids. You might think it doesn’t get much better than that, but oh wait, ladies and gents! We have more bleak wonders to show you in this morbid carnival.

Number 4: Clown/Violator – Spawn (Image Comics by Todd McFarlane)

Originally spawned (couldn’t help it, don’t judge too harshly) from the imagination of artist Todd McFarlane, Clown is woefully an underrated hellion these days. Clown is a pure-blooded demon. Born in the putrid wastes of Hell’s deepest pits, he is sent to earth to manipulate the political affairs of mankind and guide the world towards the inescapable shadow of Armageddon.

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Part of Clown’s vile purpose is to harass the Hellspawn, antagonize him, break his will, and mold him into the ultimate warrior for Hell’s insidious purposes. Should Clown be successful, the Spawn of Hell will lead the Devil’s damned armies to the gates of Heaven and burn them down.

Image via Comic Vine

He is the Clown of the Apocalypse and a harbinger of miserable death who wants nothing more than to see you and your children burn for eternity.

Number 3: Captain Spalding – House of 1,000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects (directed by Rob Zombie)

Let’s all hop in the car and go down to Captain Spalding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen, folks! Feast your eyes on the local attractions. Hell, if you don’t watch your step you may very well end up as one yourself.

Captain Spalding (Sid Haig) is known not only for his infamous museum of suffering, but he makes a mean fried chicken that’s finger lickin’ good. Spalding’s charm is so irresistible – and it’s largely due to the brilliance of Haig’s masterful performance – that we easily forget that we’re dealing with a violant psychopath.

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He is crass. He is brutal and will beat or kill anyone who gets in his way. He is violent and you can’t trust him for a moment. But we still love him.

Number 2: Pennywise the Dancing Clown – IT (written by Stephen King)

Originally brought to life by the exuberant performance of Tim Curry, Pennywise has become the most well-beloved killer clown around the world. On September 8th this year – just a month away – we will see the demonic return of the Dead Light.

Image via ScreenRant

Derry, Maine is locked prisoner within the living shadow of a very real evil power. Something older than the world, something primordial, something that lives off of our fears. Taking the common shape of a Clown, the Dead Light haunts the private reaches of the mind’s most secret taboos.

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The evil of Pennywise has corroded the townspeople of Derry. Much like how black mold grows in the hidden places of a home, ruining each room it touches until all is consumed in its wet rot, so also does the power of Pennywise influence an entire population. Causing them to ignore many of the atrocities that happen right under their noses on a near daily basis.

Image via HypeBeast

Only the untainted minds – primarily those of children – can withstand his dark will and hope to stop him.

Number 1: The Joker – DC Comics, Batman (created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane)

If anyone could top the evil of Pennywise, it’s the Clown Prince of Crime. No one is safe from this smiling madman. He is one of the oldest popular villains around and is immediately recognized around the globe.

Image via TopTenz

He is society’s cancer, the black rot in the soul of Gotham, and he is the ultimate answer to the Batman’s heroic crusade. He reveals the worst side of all of us as he marches along in his one-man parade of chaos and death in order to prove the pointlessness of all life.

Image via NeoGaf

Although The Joker does not star in what we would consider horror comics, his origins have very deep roots in horror history. He was heavily inspired by the nightmarish performance of Conrad Veidt in the chilling silent film – The Man Who Laughs (1928). The movie was very influential in the look for The Joker, as was the Joker playing card, which – let’s face it – is pretty unnerving anyway.

Image via Need To Consume

Even though The Joker is mostly identified with comic books rather than horror, there is absolutely no other comic book figure (good or evil) who has a more violent past or blood-stained legacy. There are some truly hideous things The Joker has done in DC that not even Chucky or Leatherface can brag about.

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The Joker has skinned a man alive in the graphic novel The Joker (Brian Azzarello), and once knocked on Commissioner Gordon’s front door only to shoot his daughter (Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl) point blank and crippling her – to only then force James Gordon to look at pictures of his naked and crippled child lying helplessly in her own blood. This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of the mayhem The Joker is capable of, my friends.

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More recently in DC’s dark history The Joker had his face cut off – willingly! He then returned to Gotham one year later and wore his old pealed-off face like a disgusting Halloween mask as he released a brave new onslaught of insanity upon the entire Bat family in one of my absolute favorite comic stories, Death of the Family.

Image via Movie Pilot

Honestly there could be a whole other list dedicated primarily to the insidious crimes committed by The Joker. Yes, his evil is worthy of a place on our esteemed horror site, and sounds like a possible future endeavor. So stay tuned, dear readers.

Image via Comic Book

So there you have it, friends. My personal favorite scary or evil clowns. Which ones are yours? Please let us know in the comments below!

So the show’s over. The curtain closes. And as you walk away from this insidious spectacle be sure to keep an eye on the shadows around you. You never know what’s smiling out in the dark.