American Horror Story: Freakshow has already managed to anger the Clowns of America International and now, the FX television series has also angered the World Clown Association. It is not like American Horror Story: Freakshow invented the notion that clowns are creepy; they have been considered to be creepy for quite some time, even before John Wayne Gacy cemented that legacy through his serial killing spree and Stephen King wrote about a frightening clown in his novel, It.
Perhaps the clowns are angry because, as an article at the Uproxx site points out, clowns like Twisty make “real clowns look bad,” and throws “them on the offensive.” It is true that the majority of clowns are humorous and sometimes can be very entertaining at circuses, carnivals and at children’s birthday parties. While there are always a few bad eggs in any profession, organizations such as Clowns of America International and the World Clown association just would like to let people around the world know that most clowns are not like those depicted in scary novels like It or in American Horror Story: Freakshow.
According to the president of the World Clown Association, Randy Christenson, aka Oxford P. Nuts, in a recent interview with reporter David Marchese of Vulture, clowns are just good family fun. He wants to inform the world about the legitimacy of “clown culture” and it is true that clowns have a long history of entertaining millions of people.
Oxford P. Nuts mentioned in the interview that other beloved characters, like even Santa Claus, have sometimes been associated with being scary to children. Kids often scream and cry the first time, or times, they sit upon Santa’s lap, and the first season of American Horror Story, there was, as Nuts stated, someone who dressed up as “Santa Claus with an ax.” He does not consider “scary clowns” to even be clowns at all, but rather “horror characters.”
Of course, the clowns presented in a TV series like American Horror Story: Freakshow and in the book and movie adaptation of Stephen King’s It are fictional ones, though both depictions are likely somewhat influenced by the murderous activities of real-life serial killer, John Wayne Gacy. But, by their very nature, clowns are not really presenting to the world however they are as people in real life, as they are basically actors. The characters that most of them depict to their audiences are funny, and their main purpose is to entertain; however, beneath their greasepaint, make-up and red noses, they are humans like all of us.
There are also some people, like the relatively recent example of “Wasco the Clown,” who just like to see what will happen if they do something as seemingly innocuous as dressing up like a clown and sitting on benches. That is what he did in Bakersfield, California, as what was, he claims, a photography project he was working on. It might have been just that, but it can be very disconcerting and creepy to passersby to see one or more clowns on park benches.
Actor Finn Wittrock, who portrays the high society momma’s boy character, Dandy Mott, in American Horror Story: Freakshow, mentioned in an interview that Twisty the Clown was, at least in part, inspired by The Phanton of the Opera. He considers the acting job of John Carroll Lynch, 51, who plays Twisty the Clown, to have a degree of “emotional depth.” Also, he stated in the interview that viewers will learn more about Twisty in upcoming episodes, “more about Twisty’s humanity.”
Lynch has, himself, said in an interview that he knew that Twisty “was going to be primarily silent and that was a challenge.” It must be a challenge, as he said; but, it does make Twisty possibly that much more creepy that he is, in general, silent, like Michael Myers in the Halloween franchise. He added that “it’s really fun to be a bad guy.”
Not all clowns, by any means, are evil. Still, the very idea that clown have organized themselves into organizations is a bit disquieting. Why should clowns think they have the need to promote the idea that clowns are good, wholesome family fun, when probably the majority of people still believe that they are, despite how some clowns are depicted in horror movies and TV shows, and how John Wayne Gacy was, in real life?
Sometimes, when a group of people or an individual protests about an apparent image, like when the clown organizations protested the way Hollywood portrays clowns, the very notion that there must be a reason behind the scary depictions grows even stronger in the public’s mind. Clowns might have a dim view of how they are depicted in American Horror Story: Freakshow, but this season has certainly touched a nerve in the collective consciousness of the show’s fans, making it the highest-rated season so far of American Horror Story.
Written By Douglas Cobb