I’m sorry to do this to you, but do you remember the fall of 2016?
If not, here is a refresher. In October 2016, a month that took place approximately 900 million years ago, there was a rash of “killer clown” or “crazed clown” sightings across the United States. Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Alabama — the clowns were everywhere. If you actually stepped back and looked at the big picture, there were not so many clowns. 100 sightings across 50 states isn’t really an epidemic. But because the clown is such a singularly horrifying trope in popular culture and urban legend, these 100 sightings led to thousands of viral news posts, the brief benching of Ronald McDonald, some misguided college campus vigilante groups, and at least one Batman.
On October 13th of last year, Vulture published a list entitled “11 Killer Clown Movies to Watch This Month — If You Dare,” in case people weren’t already riled up enough. It was a whole thing: the fall of the weird clowns wandering around.
do you remember the clowns?
I understand if you don’t remember. I’ve taken to wiping my hard drive, dumping the contents of my purse into the fireplace, and sticking my tongue in an electrical socket at the end of each day on the internet just to keep breathing.
But, as is the general theme of Stephen King’s It, a famous 1986 novel about an immortal killer clown named Pennywise, horror never really goes away. It’s for this reason that the fall of 2017 is poised to be the fall of killer clown fictions — on big screens and small. The clowns never left, they were just “in development.” I’ll let you have a moment to think about all the Hollywood pitch meetings that went something like this:
Hollywood guy: Clowns are huge right now
Second Hollywood guy: ... Yes
Hollywood guy: Should we do a clown thing?
Second Hollywood guy: Mmhmm
Hollywood guy: Any chance people will have forgotten about clowns in a year?
Second Hollywood guy: [Laughs for 72 hours] Oh, sorry, that was just my impression of Gary Johnson, who I voted for. No. No chance.
And here we are! For starters, the seventh season of Ryan Murphy and FX’s American Horror Story is called American Horror Story: Cult, yet all of its promotional materials so far have featured killer clowns. In fact, there are multiple types of AHS killer clown. There’s these guys:
And there’s this guy:
Plus this girl clown:
Oddly, Ryan Murphy has insisted for months that the season will have some kind of allegorical relationship to the 2016 presidential election. Huh. He posted this image on his Instagram, of another type of clown:
It’s just a photo of Ryan Murphy with some bad Photoshop.
The new season of American Horror Story premieres on September 5th, and the much-hyped new film adaptation of Stephen King’s It opens in wide-release on September 8th. As you likely know, that clown looks like this:
But there are other clowns in the movie, as we saw in the first official trailer (released today). Here’s those guys:
And the same day that It is due in theaters, the world will also witness the straight-to-VOD release of Circus Kane. I assume the title is a play on Citizen Kane, though the plot seems wholly unrelated. It’s about a clown who invites social media influencers to his house, offering them $250,000 if they can survive a night of horrors. It stars Jonathan Lipnicki, who you might know as the kid from Jerry Maguire, and it was directed by Christopher Ray, whose other credits include 2-Headed Shark Attack and 3-Headed Shark Attack.
The clown in Circus Kane looks like this:
But in a later scene he looks like this?
It’s pretty safe to say that we collectively caused this Killer Clown Season by freaking out about the clowns so much last year. But it’s not the worst thing we did!
Please let me know if I missed any upcoming clown content.