Clowns in current media have not been portrayed very nicely. In fact, the majority of clowns in movies and television have been down right terrifying. Why? Because it’s easy. It’s easy to take something perceived as innocent and friendly and turn it into a raging psychopathic killer.
“Coulrophobia” is the fear of clowns. Thanks to Merriam-Webster, we have a standardized definition for the red-nosed nemeses. And there’s a reason for why Merriam-Webster created a definition for this specific phobia. That reason being: too many scary clowns. Big Hollywood studios have spent decades defaming clowns and creating clown monsters for their own personal agenda. One could even argue that the big studios are conspiring against clowns, viewing them as a competitor of entertainment, and trying to manipulate the masses into fearing them (if one were insane).
But here’s a short list of clowns portrayed in media:
Let’s start with the obvious.
We have Pennywise the Clown from IT. One can argue that Pennywise started the clown terror. But we cannot blame the studios for creating the horrid Pennywise. Prolific writer Stephan King is responsible for this powdered-face monster. It wasn’t until King’s novel IT was adapted into a film did the masses learn the terror of Pennywise. Through his menacing, clawed and fanged Pennywise the clown (played by Tim Curry), King created a truly frightening character. Pennywise shows up everywhere: sewer drains, showers, daydreams and nightmares.
Then we go on to other scary clowns.
The clown-zombie in Zombieland (2009). (Where the main character played by Jesse Eisenberg is already afraid of clowns prior to confronting the scary clown-zombie. Wonder why?)
Everything From Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988).
Captain Spaulding from House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Twisty from American Horror Story (2009)
All of these clowns are fucking terrifying. No doubt about that.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Okay, Jake, where are you going with this?” Well, I’m creating a character that is a clown in my film. And my film is by no means a horror film. It’s about a clown that is tired, washed up, and done with life. It’s a comedy set in the real world where the main character, Flex the Clown, must deal with real-life everyday problems.
But to really develop this character, and to get to the root of his consciousness, I need to understand that he is not be dealing with problems that a normal person would be dealing with. He lives in a world where clowns have an awful reputation – where people generally hate clowns. And living in a world where you’re generally hated and feared cannot be easy.
So, with this into consideration, I need to really understand my character. Why does he continue to be a clown? Why does he get up in the morning and continue to put on the clown suit? Even in a world where he doesn’t fit in? What really drives him and his passions? Thinking about these questions will add an entirely knew level to Flex – making him a complex human being but also extremely relatable. Because, it doesn’t matter who you are, everybody has felt the pain of being hated, excluded, and ostracized.