Creepy clowns have held a spot in pop culture for decades, and with the new It reboot making waves in theaters, the disturbing birthday party performers have never been more popular. But out of all the terrifying movie clowns over the years, who was the scariest? Take a look below at our countdown of the 11 spookiest movie clowns of all time, and see which one makes you the most afraid to go to the circus.
11. Everybody in Killer Klowns from Outer Space
These aliens are too campy to truly be scary, but little kids may still find them frightening.
10. Jack in Demonic Toys
Another somewhat campy ’80s clown from a cult favorite, this Jack-in-the-box at least has a pretty menacing design.
9. The Clown Doll in Poltergeist
One of the scariest scenes in one of the scariest films ever.
8. Der Clown in Krampus
This demonic toy was far scarier than the titular villain of this Christmas horror flick.
7. Captain Spaulding in House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects
The first non-supernatural clown on the list, this Rob Zombie creation is one guy you don’t want to ever meet.
6. The Joker in The Dark Knight
One of the greatest performances in movie history just happens to be a clown, and a deeply unnerving one at that.
5. John Wayne Gacy in Gacy
The fact that he was based on real life child murderer/clown John Wayne Gacy makes him that much scarier.
4. Pennywise in It (2017)
Bill Skarsgård puts his own spin on the classic clown, and he’s sure to traumatize a whole new generation of kids.
3. Art the Clown in All Hallow’s Eve
One of the newer additions to the pantheon, the antagonist of this 2013 film is pure nightmare fuel.
2. Cloyne in Clown
Just when you thought nothing new could be done in the creepy clown genre comes this 2014 indie flick about a dad who becomes a possessed killer thanks to demonic clown makeup that won’t come off.
1. Pennywise in It (1990)
Was there ever any doubt? Tim Curry’s performance in this Stephen King classic is solely responsible for an entire generation being terrified of clowns, and he’ll forever be the first thing people think of when they hear the words “scary clown.”