WHERE THIS EVIL HAILS FROM: The made-for-TV-movie It, based on the novel by Stephen King
WHY THIS EVIL MADE ME FILLE THE FEAR: Okay, seriously. Nothing is scarier than a clown. It is a motto that I’ve held for many years now, since way before I made the terrible mistake of watching the terrible It.
Pennywise, played by Tim Curry, is a manifestation of “It,” a terrible being with the ability to travel the space-time continuum and take the form of whatever thing a person feared the most (a lot like the Boggart from the Harry Potter series book, The Prisoner of Azkaban). Pennywise is creepy to the max. There’s nothing scarier than something meant for children, something meant to be fun and light and playful, being turned into something sinister. Especially when he has twisty, nasty, sharp, pointed teeth and creepy hands with long claw nails.
Really, though, Tim Curry did a great job of creeping me the hell out. His clown was truly terrifying.
HOW THIS EVIL STILL DOES: Well, Pennywise no longer shows up in my nightmares on the regular, and since the two-part made-for-tv miniseries ended, he hasn’t been seen in the flesh. But, his spectre lives on in popular culture. Case in point: Puddles the Sad Clown with the Golden Voice shows up from time to time with haunting yet creepy cover versions of hit songs. And the most recent season of American Horror Story features a killer clown named Twisty.
More disturbing, however, is the insane dude who dressed up as a psycho clown recently and started doing “pranks” on innocent passers-by, at one point sledgehammering a fake corpse and chasing down another guy with an active chainsaw. The psycho killer clown is now an accepted cultural trope, thanks in no small part to Pennywise. As for me, I still get the chills every time the ice cream truck goes down my street playing its creepy little carnival song.