When Did Clowns Turn From Funny to Terrifying?

Image: New Line Cinema
Image: New Line Cinema

Clowns are theoretically supposed to be fun and whimsical, but somewhere along the way, they also became scary as hell—just like Pennywise from It. Where did it all go wrong? As it turns out, they’ve been kind of freaky from the very beginning. io9's latest video takes a look at the history of real-life creepy (and killer) clowns, from ancient Rome to today. Check it out!

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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Tommáso della Servo

While they may have been “fun” at one point in my history, I don’t think I’d ever say they were funny. But I grew up on Ronald McDonald and thinking he was pretty amusing... until one June day, in 1982, when our family went to see Poltergeist. There is no happy ending here. Clowns are dead to me now. Or worse... undead.