While the new adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It’ is being hailed as a triumph by critics, there’s one group who are less happy about the whole business.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the World Clown Association has produced materials to help clowns to combat recent bad press and public perceptions ahead of movie coming out next month.
It finds Bill Skarsgård playing the shape-shifting creature, who takes on various appearances to terrorise a group of outcast teenagers, but the main and most memorable being that of Pennywise the Clown.
The document, called ‘WCA Stand On Scary Clowns’, outlines the clowning body’s stance on the matter.
“Please understand, just because someone wears a rubber Halloween mask, that does not make one a clown!,” it reads.
“The horror movie character Jason wears a hockey goalie mask. But, people would be mistaken if they actually thought he was a hockey player! We disavow any relationship with these ‘horror characters.’
“It is true that various horror clown portrayals work against our goal. We hope our audience realizes that there are different categories in entertainment. We stay on the positive side of things providing fun, grated, child-friendly entertainment. We also recommend that young children not be exposed to horror movies which are intended for mature audiences.”
Pam Moody, president of the WCA, has railed against both the image of clowns in the movie, and also the rash of ‘killer clown’ sightings which hit headlines last year.
“It all started with the original It,” Moody told THR, referring to the mini-series adaptation from 1990, starring Tim Curry in that memorably terrifying clown make-up.
“That introduced the concept of this character. It’s a science-fiction character. It’s not a clown and has nothing to do with pro clowning.”
Moody says that it’s now starting to hit clowns in their wallets.
“People had school shows and library shows that were canceled. That’s very unfortunate,” she goes on.
“The very public we’re trying to deliver positive and important messages to aren’t getting them.”
Moody, who works as Sparky The Firefighter Clown, educating kids specifically on fire safety, also described one incident of a WCA member who was waiting in her car ahead of a children’s birthday party recently.
“She looks up and there are four police officers surrounding her. Someone in the neighborhood called in a clown sighting,” said Moody.
“They’re different from regular people — they’re costumed characters. But no one is picking on the Santa Clauses, because that would ruin the retail business,” she went on. “It would ruin Christmas for everybody.”
For his part, Stephen King doesn’t think he holds any responsibility for creating widespread coulrophobia.
The clowns are pissed at me. Sorry, most are great. BUT…kids have always been scared of clowns. Don't kill the messengers for the message.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 10, 2017
The movie arrives at cinemas in the UK on September 8.