15 Clowns of Pop Culture, Ranked From Lovable to Terrifying

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15 Clowns of Pop Culture, Ranked From Lovable to Terrifying

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15 Clowns of Pop Culture, Ranked From Lovable to Terrifying

Plenty of folks have coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — and pop culture certainly isn’t helping.

Just this week, for instance, the American Horror Story: Cult premiere subjected us to visions of maniacal clowns, while the It remake brings the murderous clown Pennywise to the big screen.

Not all clowns of film and TV are so scary, though. In this gallery, we’ve ranked some famous clowns from benevolent to malevolent. See how many slides you can get through before looking away!

15 Clowns of Pop Culture, Ranked From Lovable to Terrifying
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15. Fizbo

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15. Fizbo

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Modern Family’s Cam often startles his husband with his “weird gay clown” character, as Mitch calls him, but that’s about as scary as Fizbo gets. (Besides, Fizbo is asexual, as Cam tells Mitch.)

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14. Bozo the Clown

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14. Bozo the Clown

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If this beloved children’s character were scary, don’t you think all the audience members present at this 1966 taping would be running away? Nah, he’s harmless.

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13. Jack Box

13. Jack Box

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This fella — the mascot for fast food chain Jack in the Box — may not be the most famous burger-hawking clown in the world, but he is the least threatening.

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12. Ronald McDonald

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12. Ronald McDonald

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Meanwhile, McDonalds’s mascot is a charitable fella, but that red bouffant hairstyle is a little unnerving.

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11. Binky the Clown

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11. Binky the Clown

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As the four-legged star of Garfield and Friends will attest, Binky is more of a nuisance than a terror.

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10. Krusty the Clown

10. Krusty the Clown

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The only things scary about this character on The Simpsons — born Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofsky — are his addictions to drugs, tobacco, and pornography.

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9. Insane Clown Posse

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9. Insane Clown Posse

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This horrorcore hip-hop duo has a devoted fanbase — all hail the Juggalos — but we’re taking a hard pass.

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8. Firefighter Clown

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8. Firefighter Clown

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Firefighters are supposed to help you, not haunt you! But The Brave Little Toaster’s nightmare in the 1987 animated classic gave us nightmares for weeks.

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7. Captain Spaulding

7. Captain Spaulding

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Don’t let his jaunty hat fool you — this foul-mouthed, cocaine-snorting clown from Rob Zombie’s films House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects hits women and menaces children.

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6. ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ clowns

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6. ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ clowns

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Sarah Paulson’s case of coulrophobia is debilitating in the latest season of American Horror Story — she sees this gang of bloodthirsty clowns everywhere, and no one believes her. (We do, we do!)

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5. Jared Leto’s Joker

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5. Jared Leto’s Joker

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Jared Leto’s take on the classic Batman villain was frightening in Suicide Squad, sure, but it sounds like actor Jared Leto was the real menace on set.

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4. Heath Ledger’s Joker

4. Heath Ledger’s Joker

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Why so serious? We’ll tell you why. Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning role in The Dark Knight is a disfigured, psychopathic anarchist who just wants to see Gotham burn.

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3. Twisty the Clown

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3. Twisty the Clown

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The mask this American Horror Story: Freak Show antagonist wore hid his disfigurement — he blew off his lower jaw with a shotgun trying to kill himself. Then he started killing others.

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2. Tim Curry’s Pennywise

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2. Tim Curry’s Pennywise

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It can shapeshift and teleport, It is telepathic and telekinetic, It dwells in the sewers, and It feeds on the fear of children. Tim Curry’s clown in the 1990 miniseries It petrified a generation of TV viewers.

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1. Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise

1. Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise

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Then again, Bill Skarsgard (brother of True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard) may be upstaging his predecessor with the It remake, in theaters on September 8.

You have fun with that. We’ll be in the movie theater next door, watching the Reese Witherspoon rom-com Home Again.

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Plenty of folks have coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — and pop culture certainly isn’t helping.

Just this week, for instance, the American Horror Story: Cult premiere subjected us to visions of maniacal clowns, while the It remake brings the murderous clown Pennywise to the big screen.

Not all clowns of film and TV are so scary, though. In this gallery, we’ve ranked some famous clowns from benevolent to malevolent. See how many slides you can get through before looking away!