You remember Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It, don't you.
You will recall the Joker, won't you. We shouldn't need to mention, should we, Pogo the Clown, a true serial killer and rapist who used to entertain children at parties.
Who isn't afraid of clowns?
I haven't met in my whole life a single person who won't find clowns disquieting to say the least.
I used to hate clowns when I was a child, but do other children actually find clowns amusing?
A clown's face is totally covered by a thick coating of white foundation; physically, white is considered a non-color. The whiteness of the face is contrasted by the bright tints of the nose, of the hair, and of the lips (variations on the theme are frequent, of course). The mouth is, through make-up, usually enhanced into a large smile which stays on regardless of whether the person is smiling. But the most disturbing characteristic of a clown's facial traits is, to me, the eyebrows; these are usually also covered and hidden by a dense layer of make-up; a fake pair of eyebrows is drawn exaggeratedly above the original ones, practically on the person's forehead.
We never know whether the clown is actually smiling. The eyebrows, the part of a person's face that, together with the eyes, better reveals our emotional states, are hidden in a clown; his fake eyebrows are, instead, nicely twisted in grotesque arches characterized by an eerie fixity.
A damned mask!
How can anything good and pure lie behind that infernal non-color?
I don't think great directors like Stanley Kubrick, writers like Stephen King, or some among the most famous expressionist artists randomly chose clowns to portray evil, beast-like or, in the best scenario, extremely melancholic characters.
Just think of the historical and mythological beginnings of clown figures. Harlequin was probably one of the first jesters to exist, and clowns derive from him. Harlequin, modern for Hellequin (Herla Cyning, or King Herla, often identified with Woden, a Germanic god of fury and war), is originally an emissary of the Devil in French and Anglo-Saxon mythological tales, an archetype of exquisitely pagan craft.
Clowns and their devilish nature have been the object of psychological studies and a new word has been recently minted to identify the fear of clowns: coulrophobia.
Do you also have coulrophobia, or do you just adore clowns?