It’s hard out there for a clown. After a massive panic last year was sparked by a number of suspicious clown sightings around the country, the clowning community is now preparing for a whole new backlash when the film It hits theaters next weekend.
The new adaptation of Stephen King’s famous novel stars Bill Skarsgard as an evil clown haunting the children of Derry, Maine.
Many blame the original version of It, a 1990 television miniseries, for sparking a fear of clowns (or coulrophobia) that has lasted for decades.
Tim Curry’s version of Pennywise the Clown terrified audiences, including many children who were otherwise not allowed to watch horror films.
“Parents weren’t taking their kids to see scary movies, but they let them watch It on TV because it aired in primetime,” says film critic Scott Wampler.
Earlier this year, King took to Twitter to lament how the clown community hates him for ruining their profession but argued that kids have always been afraid of clowns.
The clowns are pissed at me. Sorry, most are great. BUT…kids have always been scared of clowns. Don't kill the messengers for the message.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 10, 2017
In fact, some fans make the argument that the title monster in It is not really a clown; It also appears as a werewolf, a mummy, and even a giant spider.
Nonetheless, it’s the sinister Pennywise the Clown that sticks out in most people’s minds when they think of the novel and its adaptations.
The World Clown Association is so concerned about the upcoming It film, they’ve actually created a guide for clowns called “WCA Stand on Scary Clowns!!”
The kit recommends that children not be exposed to horror films at a young age and reminds members that clowning is an art.
The clown industry has reportedly seen a decline in recent years, with many schools and libraries canceling shows due to concerns about children’s fears. If you’re not too scared of clowns yourself, you can catch It in theaters next Friday, September 8, 2017.