5. Killer Clowns

The most obvious killer movie clown is Pennywise from It (itself based on Stephen King’s book of the same name), but the idea of clowns as villains was initially popularized by DC Comics’ character the Joker in the 1940s. However, there’s also older instances, with the opera Pagliacci also featuring a murderous clown.

Sometimes, though, life imitates art.

John Wayne Gacy is a name that will be familiar to many – and one that also springs to mind whenever someone mentions killer clowns. During his life, Gacy would regularly perform as Pogo the Clown at hospitals and charity events, but he also assaulted and murdered at least 33 young men and boys. Gacy buried the remains of 29 of his victims in his own home (the other four he dumped in the Des Plaines River).

Gacy was arrested in 1978, and was sentenced to death in 1980. He was eventually executed by lethal injection in 1994. He’s one of history’s real-life monsters, and his crimes put a major dent in the clowning industry.