Not for, you know, being super creepy all on their own.
The World Clown Association is bracing itself for yet another blow to business as the release date for the Stephen King book-inspired movie remake “It” draws near.
The film slashes its way into movie theaters Friday, Sept. 8, and if it’s anything like what the trailers are promising, “It” should be absolutely terrifying. And that’s what has real-life clowns’ — who make their livings performing at birthday parties and fairs — oversized patterned pants in a bunch.
“They are taking something innocent and wholesome and perverting it to create fear in their audience,” WCA president Pam Moody told The Hollywood Reporter. “It all started with the original ‘It.’ That introduced the concept of this character. It’s a science-fiction character. It’s not a clown and has nothing to do with pro clowning.”
The demented Pennywise the clown was originally the bloody star of Stephen King’s massive 1986 book. He was played by Tim Curry in a two-part TV miniseries that won an Emmy in 1990 and now, the fang-faced clown is taking audiences back down the sewer hole. Last April when the new movie was first announced, King started receiving immediate backlash from pro clowns.
“The clowns are pissed at me,” King tweeted. “Sorry, most are great BUT…kids have always been scared of clowns. Don’t kill the messengers for the message.”
But Moody begs to differ. She believes that clowns do not have an inherently negative connotation among children and, rather, blames people’s coulrophobia (fear of clowns) on incidents like last year’s news reports of forest-lurking, red-nosed pranksters.
“Last year we were really blindsided,” Moody said. And that, coupled with the new film, has hurt the industry as a whole.
“People had school shows and library shows that were canceled,” she said. “That’s very unfortunate. The very public we’re trying to deliver positive messages to aren’t getting them.”
Moody recalled a recent incident when a clown showed up early for a birthday party and decided to wait in her car until her set began.
“She looks up and there are four police officers surrounding her,” Moody said. “Someone in the neighborhood called in a clown sighting.”
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