I’ve been checking out some local “haunted attractions,” and should have videos to post soon. One thing I’ve noticed is the prevalence of scary clowns at these things.
Now, I’d be the first to admit that few word combinations evoke quite the same visceral reaction as “clown with a chainsaw.” But I began wondering how it got to this point. Sure, I found clowns unnerving when I was a kid. But not in a run-in-terror kind of way. On the creepiness spectrum, I would have rated them somewhere below ventriloquist dummies, and above guys who wink after telling a joke.
Suddenly, though, clowns are a staple of Halloween-style scariness. Why? Probably Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s “It” has been a factor. The Insane Clown Posse is probably a factor as well, though I don’t find the ICP and their juggalo devotees terrifying in an H.P.-Lovecraft-kind-of-way, so much as the way I frequently find Denny’s breakfast entrees terrifying.
Maybe it’s a process of elimination. What are you going to scare kids with these days? Jason and Freddy Kruger? Yeah, I’ll call Mom over from the SUV. Maybe that’ll scare her. Vampires? Not likely, now that “Twilight” and its ilk have made vampires replace unicorns as the mythical creatures 12-year-old girls doodle on their notebooks with spangly markers.
And let’s face it. You take anybody. Any profession. Any walk of life, from soccer mom to international insurance claims adjuster. If this individual picks up a chainsaw and starts chasing you, he or she is going to suddenly become scary. If that’s not one of Newton’s laws, it should be.