They’re supposed to entertain us, but they often terrify us. What happens when a clown trades the role of a fool for that of a killer? American Horror Story: Freak Show is currently exploring the creepy clown archetype. John Carroll Lynch’s portrayal of Twisty the Clown, whose clown bag you definitely don’t want to look inside of, has already secured the titles of murderer and kidnapper. Inspired by Twisty’s truly terrible ways, we decided to explore cinema’s creepiest clowns—those who hide something dark under their makeup and are in the killing business rather than the laughing business.
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Tim Burton-scripted Nightmare Before Christmas is affectionately creepy, but if you look closer at several of the characters, there’s some real dark stuff happening in the 1993 animated movie. Remember the character billed as “Clown with the Tear Away Face?” Why is the pudgy clown permanently bound to his unicycle? What does he eat with that mouth full of sharp teeth? And can he please stop giving us an existential crisis when he tears off his face, revealing a black void underneath?