The scary clown trope in pop culture has turned the perception of clowns from comic entertainers to sinister monsters. With the plethora of clown scary movies that exist, the symbols of joy and laughter, once upon a time, now appear as harbingers of fear and dread. The scary clowns from movies offer an uncanny, eerie, and unsettling experience.

We have compiled a list of 25+ popular clown scary movies of all time. You can glance through the table below for a quick summary. To learn more details about a specific movie, you can click on its title in the table, and you will be directed to the relevant section.

Sr.noMovie Name & YearIMDb Rating
1. It (2017)7.3
2.Poltergeist (1982)7.3
3. Joker (2019)8.4
4.It Chapter Two (2019)6.5
5.Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)6.2
6.Jigsaw (2017)5.7
7.100 Tears (2007)4.1
8.Stitches (2012)5.7
9.Gacy (2003)4.7
10.Amusement (2008)4.9
11.Terrifier (2016)5.6
12.All Hallows’ Eve (2013)5.1
`13.Clown (2014)5.7
14.The Clown Murders (1976)3.7
15.The Last Circus (2010)6.5
16.The Clown at Midnight (1999)4.3
17.ClownTown (2016)3.7
18.Clowntergeist (2017)3.0
19.Killjoy (2000)2.7
20.The Jokesters (2015)3.5
21.Circus Kane (2017)4.5
22.Clownface (2019)2.7
23.Dead Clowns (2003)2.3
24.Carnage Park (2016)4.9
25.Drive Thru (2007)4.4
26.House of 1000 Corpses (2003)6.0

For more details, read below:

1. It (2017)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors:  Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård
  • Supporting Artist:  Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott
  • Director: Andy Muschietti
  • Release date: 8 September 2017
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 7.3
  • Revenue: $701.8 million
  • Language: English
  • Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

It is among the most popular clown horror movies. It revolved around a group of seven vulnerable and tormented kids who confront their deepest fears as Pennywise, a shape-shifting clown and ancient malevolent force, resurfaces. The sinister clown preys on children, exploiting their fears before consuming them for sustenance.

2. Poltergeist (1982)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Beatrice Straight
  • Supporting Artist: Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, Heather O’Rourke 
  • Director: Tobe Hooper
  • Release date: 4 June 1982 
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 7.3
  • Revenue: $121.7 million
  • Language: English
  • Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

The idyllic house that a family envisions as their dream home transforms into a nightmarish ordeal as malevolent spirits awaken to torment them, seeking to take possession of their innocent daughter’s soul.

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3. Joker (2019)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro
  • Supporting Artists: Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Hannah Gross 
  • Director: Todd Phillips
  • Release date: 2 October 2019
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.4
  • Revenue: $1.074 billion
  • Language: English
  • Streaming on: Jio Cinema

Arthur Fleck, a struggling party clown, navigates a life of poverty alongside his ailing mother. Yet, when society rejects him, labeling him an outcast, he opts to embrace a path of criminality and anarchy.

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4. It Chapter Two (2019)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors:  Jessica Chastain, Bill Skarsgård James McAvoy, Bill Hader, 
  • Supporting Artists: Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean
  • Director: Andy Muschietti
  • Release date: 6 September 2019
  • Run Time: 169 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 6.5
  • Revenue: $473.1 million
  • Language: English
  • Streaming on: YouTube

It Chapter Two is the sequel to the 2017 It, one among the most popular clown scary movies. Following a span of 27 years, the Losers Club is contacted by their companion Mike Hanlon, who alerts them to Pennywise’s resurgence. In fulfillment of their pledge, they opt to revisit their hometown, uniting to finally vanquish the malevolent clown once and for all.

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5. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors:  Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon
  • Supporting Artists: John Vernon, Michael S. Siegel, Peter Licassi, Royal Dano
  • Director: Stephen Chiodo
  • Release date: 27 May 1988
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 6.2
  • Revenue: $43 million
  • Language: English
  • Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

Upon witnessing a comet’s crash on the outskirts of their tranquil small town, teenagers Mike and Debbie embark on an investigation that unveils a malevolent group of extraterrestrial beings resembling circus clowns. Despite their efforts to alert the local authorities, their account is dismissed as a jest. Concurrently, the clowns initiate a macabre spree of capturing and devouring unsuspecting victims. The situation escalates when Debbie is abducted, compelling Mike to take it upon himself to halt the clowns’ gruesome onslaught.

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6. Jigsaw (2017)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett, Hannah Emily Anderson, Tobin Bell
  • Supporting Artists: Laura Vandervoort, Paul Braunstein, Mandela Van Peebles
  • Director: The Spierig Brothers
  • Release date: 27 October 2017
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 5.7
  • Revenue: $103 million
  • Language: English
  • Streaming on: English

The police face an impasse while probing a series of gruesome city murders that bear a striking resemblance to the methods of a supposed deceased serial killer from a decade ago.

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7. 100 Tears (2007)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Georgia Chris, Joe Davison, Jack Amos, Raine Brown
  • Supporting Artists: Becca Wheel, Pauline Schaffer, Jenn Lee as Claire, Kibwe Dorsey
  • Director: Marcus Koch
  • Release date: 23 June 2007
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 4.1
  • Revenue: $75,000
  • Language: English

Mark and Jennifer are investigative reporters hot on the trail of a deranged serial killer whose proximity might be more immediate than they realize.

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8. Stitches (2012)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Gemma-Leah Devereux
  • Supporting Artists: Shane Murray Corcoran, Thomas Kane Byrne, Eoghan McQuinn, Roisin Barron, Hugh Mulhern, John McDonnell, Tommy Cullen, Lorna Dempsey, Jemma Curran, Ryan Burke
  • Director: Conor McMahon 
  • Release date: 26 October 2012
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 5.7
  • Revenue: $63,555
  • Language: English

Following a fatal accident during a party, a clown is resurrected and embarks on a mission of vengeance against those accountable for his demise.

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9. Gacy (2003)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Mark Holton, Charlie Weber, Glenn Morshower, Allison Lange
  • Supporting Artists:  Allison Lange, Edith Jefferson, Joleen Lutz, Scott Allen Henry, and Kenneth Swartz
  • Director: Clive Saunders
  • Release date: 13 May 2003
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 4.7
  • Language: English

If you’re searching for clown scary horror movies based on true stories, Gacy may actually be the one. This unsettling biographical drama centers around actual serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Despite his public image as a family man and esteemed entrepreneur, Gacy conceals a sinister double life. Known to the community as a jovial clown, he grapples with a harrowing childhood marked by an abusive father. Luring young men to their tragic fates, he conceals their remains beneath his home. As Gacy’s chilling spree persists, law enforcement edges closer to uncovering the truth.

10. Amusement (2008)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Keir O’Donnell, Katheryn Winnick, Laura Breckenridge, Jessica Lucas
  • Director: John Simpson
  • Release date: 
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 4.9
  • Revenue: $170,255
  • Language: English

Confronted by a vengeful psychopathic stalker nursing a long-held resentment from their youth, three women find themselves in a dire predicament. Stripped of their agency, they must either battle for survival or succumb to a grim fate that looms ominously over them.

11. Terrifier (2016)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Jenna Kanell, Samantha Scaffidi, David Howard Thornton, Catherine Corcoran
  • Supporting Artists: Pooya Mohseni, Matt McAllister, Katie Maguire
  • Director: Damien Leone 
  • Release date: In October 2016
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 5.6
  • Revenue: $416,322
  • Language: English

Art, the sinister clown, makes a menacing comeback, harboring murderous plans to abduct three young women and eliminate anyone who dares to cross his path.

12. All Hallows’ Eve (2013)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Katie Maguire, Catherine Callahan, Marie Maser, and Kayla Lian, Mike Giannelli
  • Supporting Artists: Sydney Freihofer, Cole Mathewson, Brandon deSpain
  • Director: Damien Leone
  • Release date: 29 October 2013
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 5.1
  • Language: English

Throughout generations, the ancestral amulet and the mystical abilities of a witch have been handed down to a young woman from her maternal lineage as she reaches her 18th birthday. Now, the responsibility falls upon her.

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13. Clown (2014)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Eli Roth, Laura Allen, Andy Powers, Peter Stormare
  • Supporting Artists: Elizabeth Whitmere, Christian Distefano, Chuck Shamata
  • Director: Jon Watts 
  • Release date: 13 November 2014 (Italy)
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 5.7
  • Revenue: $2.3 million
  • Language: English

After the clown originally hired to emcee his son Jack’s birthday celebration backs out, Kent McCoy, an unassuming father, is compelled to assume the role of a clown. Unexpectedly, he discovers that the costume becomes impossible to remove, subjecting him to ridicule from his colleagues.

14. The Clown Murders (1976)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Stephen Young, Lawrence Dane, John Candy, Cec Linder
  • Supporting Artists: Gary Reineke, John Bayliss, Al Waxman
  • Director: Martyn Burke
  • Release date: Septmber 1976
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 3.7
  • Language: English

A group of pranksters abducts the wife of their friend (Susan Keller) during a Halloween gathering, yet the situation spirals out of control.

15. The Last Circus (2010)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Carolina Bang
  • Director: Álex de la Iglesia
  • Release date: 7 September 2010 
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 6.5
  • Revenue: $3.3 million
  • Language: Spanish

An intricate romantic entanglement emerges involving a Spanish clown, his malicious adversary, and the adversary’s mistreated yet passionately desirous wife.

16. The Clown at Midnight (1999)

scary clowns from movies
  • Lead actors:  Sarah Lassez, James Duval, Tatyana Ali, Christopher Plummer, Margot Kidder.
  • Director: Jean Pellerin
  • Release date: 9 February 1999
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 4.3
  • Language: English

As the opera house where her mother was tragically killed reopens its doors, a teenager finds herself in the crosshairs of the same malevolent clown-clad murderer.

17. ClownTown (2016)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Brian Nagel, Lauren Compton, Andrew Staton
  • Director: Tom Nagel
  • Release date: 30 September 2016
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 3.7
  • Language: English

During a cross-country journey, a circle of companions experiences a predicament when they become stranded in what appears to be an abandoned town. As the sun gives way to darkness, the vulnerable travelers are relentlessly pursued by lunatics garbed in clown attire.

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18. Clowntergeist (2017)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Aaron Mirtes, Monica Baker, Brittany Belland
  • Director: Aaron Mirtes
  • Release date: 12 September 2017
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 3.0

Emma, a university student burdened by an overwhelming phobia of clowns, is forced to confront her deepest dread as a malevolent entity, inhabiting the form of a clown, unleashes terror upon her community.

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19. Killjoy (2000)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Ángel Vargas, Vera Yell, Lee Marks, D Austin
  • Supporting Artists: Jamal Grimes, Corey Hampton, Rani Goulant
  • Director: Craig Ross
  • Release date: 24 October 2000
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 2.7
  • Language: English

Enchanted through dark sorcery, a clown doll (portrayed by Angel Vargas) awakens with a murderous intent, seeking vengeance against those accountable for the death of its owner.

20. The Jokesters (2015)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Dante Spencer, Nathan Reid, Gabriel Tigerman
  • Director: AJ Wedding
  • Release date: 21 July 2015
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 3.5

A group of four friends play a prank during their friend’s honeymoon, mimicking a nightmarish scenario from a cabin in the woods. To their shock, their elaborate ruse transforms into a genuine horror tale, bringing ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ nightmare to life.

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21. Circus Kane (2017)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Jonathan Lipnicki, Tim Abell, Richard Moll
  • Director: Christopher Ray
  • Release date: 2017
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 4.5

A secluded ringmaster of a circus extends an invitation to a gathering of social media celebrities at his eerie residence. The challenge posed is to escape the frightening ordeals and claim a prize of $250,000, yet the participants quickly discover that their contest involves more than just financial gain; their very survival is at stake.

22. Clownface (2019)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Philip John Bailey, Hannah Douglas, Richard Buck
  • Director: Alex Bourne
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 2.7
  • Release Date: 18 August 2020

The disturbed serial murderer named Clownface instills fear among the inhabitants of a quaint village.

23. Dead Clowns (2003)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Lucien Eisenach, Jeff Samford, Eric Spudic
  • Director: Steve Sessions
  • Release date: 2013
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 2.3

From a submerged resting place, reanimated clown figures emerge following a hurricane’s fury, instilling fear within a quaint Florida town. These circus entertainers harbor vengeful intentions, resorting not only to murder but also cannibalistic tendencies.

24. Carnage Park (2016)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Ashley Bell, Darby Stanchfield, Pat Healy, Alan Ruck 
  • Director: Mickey Keating
  • Release date: 1 July 2016
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 4.9
  • Language: English

Having abducted a young woman, two experienced criminals find themselves plunged into a life-or-death struggle for their existence as they unintentionally trespass into a desolate expanse of land belonging to the unhinged Vietnam veteran, Wyatt Moss.

25. Drive Thru (2007)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors: Leighton Meester, Nicholas D’Agosto
  • Supporting Artists: Melora Hardin, Lola Glaudini, Larry Joe Campbell
  • Directors: Brendan Cowles, Shane Kuhn
  • Release date: 29 May 2007 
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 4.4
  • Language: English

In order to rescue the townspeople, a high-school student is compelled to thwart a homicidal clown employed at a fast-food establishment.

26. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

scary clowns movies
  • Lead actors:  Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon, Karen Black, Rainn Wilson 
  • Supporting Artists: Chris Hardwick, Tom Towles, Erin Daniels, Jennifer Jostyn, Walton Goggins
  • Director: Rob Zombie
  • Release date: 11 April 2003
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 6.0
  • Revenue: $16.8 million
  • Language: English

Depleted fuel and a punctured tire steer two couples onto a harrowing path that leads to the ominous House of 1000 Corpses. At its heart, “House of 1000 Corpses” weaves a tale of kinship, showcasing a collection of distorted personalities who, with every slit throat and thrust to the chest, augment their deranged human collection.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Which movie introduced the iconic scary clown Pennywise?

The iconic scary clown Pennywise was introduced in the movie ‘It,’ which is based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name.

2. Are there any other movies apart from “It” that feature terrifying clowns?

 Other movies that feature terrifying clowns include ‘Joker‘, ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space‘, ‘Clown‘, and ‘Clownhouse‘.

3. What psychological factors make scary clowns so unsettling in movies?

Scary clowns explore the fear of the uncanny, where something familiar (a clown) becomes distorted or unsettling. Their exaggerated features, absurd behavior, and hidden intentions evoke feelings of unpredictability and danger. This contrast between humor and horror creates a sense of unease, capitalising on one’s deep-seated fears of the unknown and the potential for harm.

4. How did Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise in the 1990 miniseries compare to the recent adaptations?

Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise in the 1990 miniseries was iconic and memorable, emphasizing a more theatrical and sinister charm. His performance focused on the character’s playful yet menacing demeanor. In contrast, recent adaptations like the 2017 and 2019 films provided a more monstrous and grotesque interpretation, emphasizing the terrifying aspects of Pennywise’s nature. Both versions captured different facets of the character’s eerie presence, catering to different styles and eras of horror.

5. What’s the impact of the scary clown trope on pop culture beyond movies?

The scary clown trope has impacted different forms of media, including literature, television, video games, and even fashion. The trope’s unsettling nature has also inspired Halloween costumes, haunted attractions, and even theme park experiences. Besides, it has been referenced in comedy sketches, memes, and internet culture, often as a source of dark humor. The trope continues to shape and evolve horror-related content, leaving a lasting impression on how people perceive clowns and their potential for fear.

6. Why do some people have a fear of clowns, and how has this influenced horror cinema?

Some people have a fear of clowns due to a phenomenon called ‘coulrophobia.’ This fear can stem from the uncanny appearance of clowns, like, their exaggerated features or painted-on smiles which may appear unnatural or unsettling. Additionally, the juxtaposition of their jovial appearance with potentially sinister intentions can create cognitive dissonance and evoke a sense of unpredictability.
The scary clown trope has had a profound influence on horror cinema by providing a unique and recognizable antagonist that taps into universal fears. It has become a staple in horror storytelling, allowing filmmakers to play with the duality of innocence and malevolence, ultimately contributing to the genre’s evolution and popularity.

So, which movie are you watching?