The early hype surrounding the upcoming film adaptation of It makes the movie sound like it’s going to be an absolutely terrifying experience. This is good news for audiences, as well as the box office, but there’s one group that is less than thrilled with the film’s popularity. Apparently, professional clowns are upset with It because it’s causing a resurgence in coulrophobia (the irrational fear of clowns) which is having a noticeable negative impact on business. According to President of the World Clown Association (which is somehow actually a thing) Pam Moody…
People had school shows and library shows that were canceled. That’s very unfortunate. The very public we’re trying to deliver positive and important messages to aren’t getting them.
It’s completely understandable that people might be less likely to hire a clown for a school show or a kids’ birthday party right now. Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise the clown in the new big screen version of It looks absolutely terrifying. While many of the kids who might otherwise enjoy seeing a clown are probably a bit too young to see It, they’ve probably seen the trailers, and that’s really enough.
This is hardly the first time that clowns have had to deal with bad press. There’s an entire generation of children who became scared of clown thanks to Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise from the It TV miniseries in the 1990s and so we expect similar things will happen this time around with the big screen version. Since then, scary clowns in American Horror Story, as well as real life, have caused problems for professional clowns.
The loss of business due to fear of clowns is so great that the World Clown Association has issued a pamphlet entitled WCA Stand on Scary Clowns, which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, tries to draw a line between actual clowns and the horror movie version of the characters, which are not “real” clowns in their opinion. It compares being scared of actual clowns to being scared of hockey players because Jason wears a hockey mask in the Friday the 13th films. To be fair, some hockey players are also scary.
Whether or not clown fear is justified, it seems like it’s going to be something the professional clown is going to have to deal with. It is projecting to have a very strong box office which means a lot of people will get themselves exposed to a clown that will very likely scare the hell out of them. People who weren’t scared of clowns going into the movie may very well be afraid of them when they leave.