WASHINGTON, March 30, 2017 — The Internet is abuzz with coulrophobia. That’s the debilitating psychological condition affecting those who suffer from an abnormal fear of clowns.
Warner Brothers released its trailer for director Andrés Muchietti’s film remake of Stephen King’s “IT,” scheduled for worldwide release September 8.
It was actor Tim Curry who brilliantly portrayed the demonic Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the ABC TV miniseries of 1990. In the upcoming remake, Bill Skarsgård will play the menacing merrymaker in this modern interpretation of King’s spine-chilling, coming-of-age story.
Producer Dan Lin told the entertainment website Collider that the film’s violence and language, not to mention its special-effects heightened horror, assures the offering will garner an “R” rating.
He also said the film, like the King novel, will come in two parts: the first focusing on the battle between Pennywise and members of the “Loser’s Club,” a gang of adolescent misfits; and a sequel concentrating on the conflict’s continuation after the gang from Derry, Maine, comes of age.
Many blame King for fanning the flames of irrational clown fear.
Last August, South Carolina’s Greenville County Sheriffs Department stepped up patrols after citizens reported creepy clowns had attempted to entice children into a wooded area near an apartment complex.
According to ABC News, one officer reported that a child told him, “The clowns stay in a house located near a pond at the end of a man-made trail in the woods,” but found “no signs of suspicious activity or characters dressed in clown attire.”
But the kids were not alone. Adults also reported similar sightings to authorities. And that’s when clown hysteria began to spread across America, with many a horrifying harlequin captured on film.
Author Benjamin Radford insists his book “Bad Clowns” is not an “attempt to exorcise demons or resolve some latent childhood phobia,” but to explore the “contradictory juxtaposition of the bad clown,” which he suggests can be chalked up to the “appeal of the suave bad boy.”
For his part, Stephen King took to Twitter in hopes of quelling the national panic:
“Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria – most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”
The operative word in that sentence is “most.”