5 Real Life Killer Clowns That Are Even Scarier Than Pennywise… – Top5s

5 Real Life Killer Clowns That Are Even Scarier Than Pennywise…

06 Nov 2017

With the release of 2017’s ‘IT’ one of horror movies most terrifying characters has been given free rein to terrify a whole new generation of moviegoers.

But, it’s not Pennywise that you should be worried about, as it turns out there are some real-life clowns who make him seem tame by comparison. This list is a rundown of the top 5 real life creepiest clowns to ever have existed.

5Sheila Warren

It was a normal morning for 22-year-old Marlene Warren in May of 1990, when, as she was preparing breakfast for her two young children, there was a knock at the door.
Marlene was confronted by a person dressed as a clown standing in her doorway, holding two balloons and a bouquet of flowers. The clown then pulled a gun, and calmly shot Marlene in the face in front of her family, before driving off.

The identity and motive of Marlene’s killer went unsolved and unknown for 27 years; when in 2017, investigators found DNA evidence and eyewitness testimony that led to the arrest of 54-year-old Sheila Warren.

Even more startling was that Sheila had married Marlene’s widowed husband 12 years after the murder took place, and the two owned a restaurant together. Warren now faces the death penalty in Florida.


While Pennywise is considered one of the most well-known “killer clowns” today, he and most likely all other evil clown representations likely owe their origin to Gwynplaine, the main character in the 1928 German expressionist film, “The man who laughs”.
The film, based on a novel by Victor Hugo, stars renowned German actor Conrad Veidt, as Gwynplaine, the main attraction of a travelling freak show whose face was disfigured as a child, leaving him with a permanent, twisted grin.

While the film’s director intended it to be a romantic adventure, the sheer visual horror of Veidt’s character and his demented smile has led to it being classed as a horror film today, and it caused an uproar when it was first released, with audiences terrified of Veidt’s ghoulish makeup.

So frightening was “the man who laughs”that he was the inspiration for another infamous clown, none other than Batman’s arch nemesis, the Joker himself.

3The Bunnyman

On the night of October 19th, 1970, Robert Bennet and his fiancé were driving along a lonely forest road in Fairfax County, Virginia, when they pulled over to get their bearings.

As the two sat in their car, a hatchet was suddenly and violently swung through their windscreen, smashing it to bits. Before speeding away, the young couple reported that they saw their attacker briefly; a man dressed up as a children’s entertainer, wearing a bunny suit who was shouting at them to “get off his property”.

Exactly ten nights later, security guard Paul Phillips was doing his rounds when he reported seeing a man dressed as a rabbit sitting on the steps of an unfinished house, upon seeing him- the strange man leapt up, and showed himself to be brandishing an axe. He then began to swing the axe in the air and chop at the foundations of the house, screaming that if he caught anyone else trespassing, he’d “bust them on the head”.

Police never found the bunnyman, despite several more sightings around the area. The only piece of evidence he left behind was the hatchet he threw through Robert Bennet’s windscreen, which is now on display to the public.

2The “Clown-Pocalypse”

Colorphobia is the term for anyone with a phobia of clowns, and 2016 was a bad year for anyone who suffered from this affliction.
It was the year we saw a worldwide surge of clown sightings, with millions of people in over nine different countries reporting encounters with individuals dressed as clowns.

The phenomenon was mostly harmless, if not a little bit disconcerting, with most of the clowns simply playing a few pranks or just lurking but minding their own business.
None the less the trend became popular on social media and spread across the world.

However, there were some more serious incidents that took place. Such as in South Carolina when a young boy reported two men dressed as clowns tried to lure him off into the woods; similarly in Australia, a man dressed as a clown attacked two 12-year-old girls, stealing one of their phones.

In other instances, arrests took place following threats made towards public schools in London and Canada by people disguised as clowns.

1John Wayne Gacy

One of the most notorious serial killers in American history, John Wayne Gacy murdered and tortured 33 teenage boys before he was eventually arrested in 1980, and sentenced to death by lethal injection. When police raided his home, they found 29 bodies buried and hidden on the property.

Gacy posed as the loveable Pogo the clown, a character he devised for his work as a children’s entertainer, appearing at birthday parties and charity events. Nobody knew that behind Gacy’s fun-loving façade there lay the mind of an unhinged psychopath.

Stephen King himself has stated that Gacy’s story was an inspiration for the monstrous Pennywise.

Submitted by Kristian Harrison