It looks like there’s a couple of sad clowns upset over their portrayal in ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show.’ This season of the horror anthology features a character named Twisty the Clown played by John Carroll Lynch. Twisty happens to be a serial killer, stalking his prey with scissors and holding them captive on a school bus.
However, Glenn Kohlberger, the president of Clowns of America International, believes ‘AHS’’s depiction is a real disservice to the profession.
“Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm,” Kohlberger states. “They can take any situation to matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare.”
Kohlberger, who performs as his alter-ego Clyde D. Scope, is firmly against the entertainment industry’s propagation of the “killer clown” character.
“We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or ‘clown fear’.”
Many people exhibit a natural aversion to clowns whether it be from a fear of the unfamiliar or a general discomfort with beings that have human features that don’t act entirely human (known as the uncanny valley effect). However, mainstream media’s depiction of the evil clown plays an important part in society’s fear, despite the profession having relatively benign origins in pantomime and commedia dell’arte performances as early as the 16th century.
Evil clowns have appeared in arts and entertainment in a variety of ways from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story ‘Hop-Frog’ to operas to episodes of ‘The Simpsons.’ In his many incarnations, The Joker continues to put Batman fans at unease. Finally, I don’t believe I’m the only millenial who recalls a traumatizing moment in her life in 1990 when she thought she was tuning in to see Tim Curry play a happy clown in a TV miniseries only to find out too late it was an adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It’.
Certainly real life instances of evil clowns play an integral part in our society’s coulrophobia. The arrest of serial killer John Wayne Gacy a.k.a. Pogo the Clown first introduced the term “killer clown” to a widespread audience in 1978. This past week, the California towns of Bakersfield, Wasco and Delano made the news for random appearances of clowns. The Twitter and Instagram user “Wasco Clown” claims to be culprit behind the sightings and also happens to be a fan of ‘American Horror Story.’
Despite Kohlberger’s objections and an upcoming FX series starring Zach Galifianakis as a budding non-evil clown, it doesn’t seem as if the killer clown motif is going away any time soon. ‘AHS: Freak Show’ already has record-breaking viewership. Plus, Cary Fukunaga (‘True Detective’) has signed on to direct a film adaptation of ‘It.’
Source: Hollywood Reporter