The new terror
October 29, 2014 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Speaking of global memes... it started first in California, where a man dressed as a clown has been threatening people with an axe. And then it spread to France, where armed clowns have been assaulting people all over the country. Where will this horror strike next? (Me, I think they're space aliens.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle (50 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Actually, it's all about ethics in clowning...
SOMEBODY was going to say it, thought I'd get it out of the way.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:25 PM on October 29, 2014 [19 favorites]


Joe Davola never sleeps.
posted by davebush at 1:26 PM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


<img src="batsignal.jpg">
posted by zamboni at 1:29 PM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Last year there was a clown doing something similar in Northampton, England, too.
posted by msbrauer at 1:33 PM on October 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


(previously, and slightly previouslier)
posted by msbrauer at 1:35 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This can only be stopped by a gangbang in the sewers.
posted by benzenedream at 1:39 PM on October 29, 2014 [24 favorites]


Colin the Clown has been clowning around for more than 20 years, and even performed for the Queen of England. He is not down with the clowns battering people with rods.

That's a marvelous collection of words.
posted by Iridic at 1:42 PM on October 29, 2014 [16 favorites]


Holy Shit, Clown Attack!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:45 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, what happens if someone with a concealed carry permit is threatened by a clown with an ax and shoots them? Or hell, someone clown-phobic just beats the shit out of them? I feel like this is a tragic and inevitable conclusion to jumping out and intentionally scaring people.
posted by chatongriffes at 1:47 PM on October 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


This season of American Horror Story involves a murderous clown.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:51 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, professional clowns aren't taking this (greasepaint) stain on their reputation falling down! Clowns of America International, the nation's largest clown club*, is protesting the murderous clowns of American Horror Story: Freak Show.
"We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or 'clown fear'," [the organization says] ...
No word yet on what these clowns will do if FX fails to heed their protests, but there ain't too much sadder than the tears of a clown when there's no one around.

*I'll bet you thought the US Congress was larger.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:53 PM on October 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have actually watched the whole of Killer Klowns from Outer Space. It is truly dire, 1980s dire. Bad Film Fans will love it.
posted by marienbad at 1:58 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Holy shit could I not care less about any cause than the one being taken on here by Clowns of America. What a bunch of...nevermind.
posted by Hoopo at 2:05 PM on October 29, 2014


Joe Davola never sleeps.

He did say he would kibosh again
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:21 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also in the news recently: Portsmouth mystery clown ‘disturbing’ people in streets.
posted by misteraitch at 2:23 PM on October 29, 2014


The whole 'clowns are scary' trope is so tired and stale. It's a cliché on American Horror Story, it was a cliché when ICP used it, it was a cliché when Stephen King did it. The only time it might not have been a cliché was when John Wayne Gacy made use of it.
posted by item at 2:25 PM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Killer Klowns from Outer Space, bad? I oughta knock your block off.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:31 PM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


it was a cliché when ICP used it

I would argue that ICP complicated and elaborated on coulrophobia in interesting ways by highlighting its absurdity at the same time that they situated clowns as part of the larger Dark Carnival mythos. Far from resting on a lazy cliché, they expanded the boundaries of what we mean when we talk about clowns.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:33 PM on October 29, 2014 [16 favorites]


Its ClownGate. They are actually protesting questionable practices in rodeo scoring, it just sometimes displays itself as butcherous mayhem against all humankind.
posted by rtimmel at 2:40 PM on October 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


Tired trope in media or not, clowns are fucking creepy in real life to a lot of people (myself included) and this is some nightmare shit right here.
posted by unknownmosquito at 2:46 PM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've thought clowns and most anyone dressed up in some way were scary since before I was old enough to watch scary clown movies. I got over Santa Claus as I grew older but clowns really do freak me out, and I haven't watched or read any media where clowns are the perpetrators of horror.

If I saw someone walking around in a clown suit in the dark I would stay extremely far away from them. If they were to jump out and scare me I legitimately think I would have a heart attack or would possibly react violently on impulse. Ugh, clowns.

Don't even get me started on the greys.
posted by gucci mane at 2:47 PM on October 29, 2014


Also, does this count as stand alone complex?

"While originally intended to "underscore the dilemmas and concerns that people would face if they relied too heavily on the new communications infrastructure,"[1] Stand Alone Complex (スタンド・アローン・コンプレックス Sutando Arōn Konpurekkusu?) eventually came to represent a phenomenon where unrelated, yet very similar actions of individuals create a seemingly concerted effort.

A Stand Alone Complex can be compared to the emergent copycat behavior that often occurs after incidents such as serial murders or terrorist attacks. An incident catches the public's attention and certain types of people "get on the bandwagon", so to speak. It is particularly apparent when the incident appears to be the result of well-known political or religious beliefs, but it can also occur in response to intense media attention. For example, a mere fire, no matter the number of deaths, is just a garden variety tragedy. However, if the right kind of people begin to believe it was arson, caused by deliberate action, the threat that more arsons will be committed increases dramatically."
posted by gucci mane at 2:49 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


At one point in a haunted attraction I recently visited, the path splits into two doorways. One is decorated with multicolored lights and a big sign reading "CLOWNS". The other is unadorned and has a sign that says "NO CLOWNS".

Both doorways lead into the same chamber full of clowns.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:59 PM on October 29, 2014 [33 favorites]


Far from resting on a lazy cliché, they expanded the boundaries of what we mean when we talk about clowns.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Clowns.
posted by emjaybee at 3:01 PM on October 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Don't talk about our clown, Martha.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:04 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Whenever I feel frightened of clowns I just mime a protective glass box around myself.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:05 PM on October 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


Let me know when there is a sharknado of clowns.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:24 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Funniest Guys in the Gloom.
posted by Chitownfats at 3:37 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


When I was young, my parents took me to the ringling clown college to see a cousin or something graduate. Hundreds of clowns. All two feet taller than me. Big flappy feet and greasepaint everywhere. I tried to escape in a clown car. Hilarity ensued.
posted by dejah420 at 3:39 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh. Is this Clowning gone awry?

I liked hip hop clowns, it seemed like fun. [ICP maybe not so much].
posted by vapidave at 4:00 PM on October 29, 2014


maybe clowns have all read that dream in Invisible Manwith the grandfather and the clowns, and have achieved a kind of social consciousness.

also, and I feel this is related, and I've told this before, but a friend found herself to be kind of a romantic clown bait. She kept falling in love with clowns. Then she met this wall street trader, and she was relieved, and then after a couple of dates they went up to his place, and were about to have sex when she saw pictures of the dude in clown garb on the wall. The guy was a clown on the DL
posted by angrycat at 4:02 PM on October 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


I was fine with clowns right up until HBO started playing Poltergeist 3,765 times a week.

Then the next thing I know my Aunt Verna decides I should start collecting something. SHE DECIDED FOR ME THAT I SHOULD COLLECT CLOWN STUFF. Every xmas and birthday for years...here comes the clown crap. That went on until I was 18 because nobody would tell her to knock that shit off.

NO CLOWNS. CLOWNS SUCK.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:09 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


When we travelled to England from Australia with our 21-month-old a few months ago, we were worried about many aspects of the plane flight. None of them caused a problem... except for our layover in Hong Kong where my son saw a clown.

He was very, very scared of the clown.

For weeks after returning he would randomly start crying, asking "Clown? Coming?" and we would have to reassure him that no, the clown was not coming, the clown lived happily in Hong Kong, and actually clowns are nice anyway. He eventually learned to reassure himself, saying "Hong Kong" quietly and repeatedly to himself after saying "clown?"

I am nervous to ever go to Hong Kong again, because of the enormous panic that I am sure will follow.

The worst of the fear seems to have passed but even now, months later, if something else frightening happens -- say, a big bouncy dog comes over to slobber on him -- instead of commenting on that, he will instead say "clown?" It is as if clowns are the Archetype of Scariness in his mind.

If he were a bit older I would show him this thread and say "You're not alone!"
posted by forza at 4:28 PM on October 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Clowns of America International, the nation's largest clown club*, is protesting the murderous clowns of American Horror Story: Freak Show.

My favourite part of that is that the guy literally criticises American Horror Story for not being reflective of 'normal clown behaviour'.

Oh, it's not normal for clowns to stab picnickers and lock people up in cages and wear actual human scalps as a costume? Thanks, Clowns of America. I had no idea!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:33 PM on October 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Let me know when there is a sharknado of clowns.

Clownado! A never-ending maelstrom that reaches into your bedroom at night and hurls you into spinning abyss punctuated only by laughing, leering clowns! They get closer and closer as the wind hurls you around and around... also the floor is now hot lava.

Don't even get me started on the greys.

I NO RITE?????? Had a 6th grade science teacher try to stir up interest in astronomy by covering popular UFO theories of the time and tie them into real science. In a dark planetarium. With a surround-experience multimedia slide show. Featuring abduction accounts he read in an ominous matter of fact way. I couldn't sleep until highschool.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:52 PM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think when I go crazy, I'll just smear on a big blood colored smile, and let the world decide if I was going for clown or cannibal.

Only a few here will know that I was aiming for both.
posted by quin at 5:11 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Its ClownGate. They are actually protesting questionable practices in rodeo scoring,

Aack no, you're so wrong. In fact ClownGate is actually protesting the deep philosophical ramifications of biased media coverage of clown involvement in protests of questionable practices in rodeo scoring.

A very different thing indeed--as anyone who has done their basic homework by spending a mere few hours/days perusing /r/rodeoclownmediaphilosophycabal should have known immediately . . .
posted by flug at 6:10 PM on October 29, 2014


Always Coming Home had a sub-cult of creepy clowns that would sometimes harass people.
posted by ovvl at 6:22 PM on October 29, 2014


Recommended reading: The Last Feast of Harlequin, by Thomas Ligotti
posted by Renoroc at 6:35 PM on October 29, 2014


Holy shit! Clown attack!
posted by ob1quixote at 6:37 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hope there are always clowns, if only so I can do my favorite bit: Catch sight of a clown that your companion hasn't seen yet, gesture and say "Who's this fuckin' clown?"
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:13 PM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidents and things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. Give you an example, show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, 'plate,' or 'shrimp,' or 'plate of shrimp' out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness." - Miller, Repo Man.
posted by Marmaduke Hammerhead at 8:13 PM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Clowns...are...funny." Except when they are not.
posted by davidmsc at 12:01 AM on October 30, 2014


I was fine with clowns right up until HBO started playing Poltergeist 3,765 times a week.

I had (emphasis on HAD) a clown doll similar to the one in Poltergeist when I was young. I also had a bedroom with a tree branch that would tap and scrape against the window on windy nights.

Let's just say, Poltergeist completely fucked up 14-year-old me for many many years.

(I love it. It's a great movie. But fucking shit fuck fuck damn, it's like someone reached straight into my life to find things to totally FUCK WITH ME.)
posted by hippybear at 1:29 AM on October 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


The guy was a clown on the DL

I'm pretty sure you mean the CL: the clownlow.

And while "coulrophobia" is the proper term, I say, damn prescriptivism: Clownstrophobia!
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:55 AM on October 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Few months back, having a perfectly normal and rational chat with a friend's brother. Long way into it, I said "So what do you do?" He said "I'm a clown". Killed the conversation. Dead.
posted by Ahab at 5:55 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


. . . Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull
ass will not mend his pace with beating; and, when
you are asked this question next, say 'a
grave-maker: 'the houses that he makes last till
doomsday. . . .

Here's a skull now; this skull has lain in the earth
three and twenty years.

A whoreson mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?

A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! a' poured a
flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull,
sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen. . . .

posted by Herodios at 8:16 AM on October 30, 2014


Sweet, no Simpsons "Can't sleep, clowns will eat me" references yet. A classic episode.
posted by aydeejones at 9:23 PM on October 30, 2014


It makes me sort of sad. We consciously wrap entertainers in horror and then wonder why the world seems so scary.

It seems that we don't want to accept that sometimes people just want to make you laugh without brick walls, excrement and f-bombs.

"Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from."

---- Agent Smith, The Matrix
posted by lon_star at 3:24 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


The mayor of Vendargues has now banned all clown costumes!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:23 AM on October 31, 2014


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