Although a brief spin around the Internet might indicate otherwise, the actual clinical fear of clowns is not only extremely uncommon, it’s apparently a largely self-generated phenomenon that has only been around since the 1980s. So people aren’t afraid of clowns because clowns are scary, clowns are scary because people say they are afraid of them. (John Wayne Gacy and It probably also had something to do with it.) Either way, coulrophobia is basically the bacon of fears.
And Ryan Murphy, a man who never met a cliché he didn’t like, was quick to exploit this cultural trope for the upcoming fourth season of American Horror Story. Taking a page from Rob Zombie, Freak Show includes a character named Twisty The Clown who, according to Murphy, makes all those other killer clowns look like a bunch of bullshit. As he told Buzzfeed:
“I’m worried about people being too afraid of our clown. It’s heart-stopping what he does. I’m worried. I’m worried that people are going to have cardiac arrests… The clown’s intro in the first episode is … even I was terrified of it. It’s brutal. Two crew members told me they have had nightmares about this clown since we started shooting and they’re not even scared of clowns.”
They’re not even scared of clowns, man. Think about that. So while Twisty The Clown might sound like the mascot for a brand of soft-serve ice cream, rest assured he’s totally hardcore.