19 Sep 2017

Scary clowns no laughing matter

11:35 am on 19 September 2017

Clowns who make a living entertaining youngsters are unamused by the hit horror movie It.

No caption

The clown community is worried the new film - based on the Stephen King novel of the same name - will scare customers off. Photo: 123rf

Based on the novel by Stephen King about a child-killing clown, the latest adaptation has prompted the World Clown Association to warn that the film could cause its members to lose work.

The clown community was already struggling to counter negative perceptions after the 2016 "killer clown" craze.

In New Zealand, those who clown professionally at birthday parties have not noticed any effect on their business yet.

But they worry they may end up frightening their audience, rather than making them laugh.

"The choice of my costume is deliberately cuter and more friendlier," said Andy Nicholson, who has been performing as TomTom the Clown since 1998.

"If it's way crazier, there's no way I'd use it for kids, because it's too bright, too colourful, too crazy."

Rick Sahar, also known as Tricky the Clown, from Newtown, has been performing for over 30 years.

He said people who dressed up as a clown and terrorised children were no laughing matter.

"[They] should be prosecuted for that. It's abusive."

Victoria University senior lecturer in film Tim Groves said evil clowns were not new.

Dr Groves said the 1990s miniseries of Mr King's novel had also caused a stir, though it did not generate the same type of frenzy as the latest movie.

"The miniseries created quite a reaction, but it didn't have quite the same shared experience."

"You don't have the internet, so people couldn't go online in 1990 as they can now," Dr Groves said.

"While people might have gone to school the next day and talked about it with their friends, you don't have a comparable experience in terms of being able to share your reactions now."

Last year, the killer clown craze prompted police to rebuke those dressing up.

While they do not have a particular code for clowns causing alarm, police are encouraging people to celebrate Halloween safely, and respect those who do not wish to be spooked.

That may be wishful thinking.

The costume supply store Pete's Emporium said sales of white face paint, red balloons and wigs had soared since the movie release of It.

  • Dan Slevin on film adaptions of Stephen King novels
  • Clowning around
  • The Donald trumps clowns for Halloween
  • Police investigate Hamilton clown assault