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Monster Clown
Monster Clown
Background
Purpose To various purposes
Country Worldwide

Clowns are supposed to be funny. They're supposed to make everyone laugh, especially children. This is the entire point of their existence. Sometimes they succeed. But for some people, clowns awaken some primal fear. There are children who won't go near a clown without screaming.

Their face is... fake, corpse-like, most often the makeup they use does NOT help, the emotions aren't real, the smile is just painted on. The outfit and big shoes are downright grotesque. There's something seriously wrong with a clown to some people, and this resonates deep within the part of us that still believes that there is a monster in the closet, that will get out if you don't keep the door closed.

It's uncommon to find clown characters who are genuinely good. More commonly, writers tap into the fear: the Monster Clown is a classic villain. Expect the Monster Clown to parody humor, with classic jokes becoming deadly; acid in the plastic flowers pinned to their lapels and joy buzzers with fatal amounts of voltage, among other things. If they work in a circus, it'll be a Circus of Fear. Likewise, also expect them to crack dark jokes while killing them and laugh maniacally.

Sometimes, a Monster Clown just LOOKS like a clown, and doesn't do what clowns normally do, like tell jokes or work in a circus or go to kids' parties. If there is a clown in a work that just looks like one, it's almost guaranteed that it is a Monster Clown. Because, you know, you just don't go about dressing like a clown without doing anything clowny.

Sooner or later, our heroes will have to put these clowns to the sword. And sometimes not even that stops them. Also take note that many of these clowns may or may not be completely insane and also commit their crimes laughing crazily and frequently. Also, sometimes you can also expect them to, while committing various horrific crimes, also act in a very similar manner to an overgrown child.

Note there are specific kinds of clowns in the real world. People may fear the auguste, the stereotypical clown who acts and dress the most wildly. Whiteface clowns are unsettling because they are unexpectedly intelligent, even scheming. Character clowns - like Weary Willie - by contrast have very muted designs, and can be difficult to identify by the TV audience. You rarely see them anymore.

Real world clowns clown: while clowning is intended to be funny, it can be received as ritualised (self) humiliation, and make modern audiences quite sick to the stomach.

That John Wayne Gacy, one of the most famous serial killers in the United States, worked part-time as a clown doesn't really help their case. You don't want your kids around the Monster Clown, but the character's parents seem oblivious to their kid's fears. The AP once used a stock photo of Gacy for National Clown day.

A 2007 University of Sheffield study found that both young and older children universally fear or dislike clown images. Now a lot of hospital wings for child patients will have to be repainted. (Quote from the BBC article: Researcher Dr Penny Curtis said: "As adults we make assumptions about what works for children. We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable.")

Sympathetic clowns are generally a little more muted, whether or not this is faithful to the job. Surly clowns who tiredly work with ungrateful children are more common, probably because they speak to the average overworked audience; they may be an example of Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight.

Enemy Mime is a sub-trope of Monster Clown. A villainous clown that is Played for Laughs instead of fear is a Villainous Harlequin. The Depraved Kids' Show Host seems to be related. Clowns' ghastly white makeup puts them into White Mask of Doom territory. The Monster Clown is often Affably Evil or Faux Affably Evil. You can find them at the Circus of Fear, although that isn't the only place you'll find them.

The opposite of this trope is the (perhaps sadly) rarely seen any more Non-Ironic Clown.

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