In 1986, a little writer named Stephen King penned a horror novel entitled It. The plot focused on a demonic clown named Pennywise the Dancing Clown, who instinctively knew how to terrorize his child victims with exactly what they feared. And whether you weren't alive yet or your parents didn't let you read the book, you probably still grew up with a mental image of the disturbing clown from It through sheer cultural saturation. This past weekend, Pennywise the Dancing Clown came back to life on the silver screen for a new generation. The R-rated psychological thriller has already grossed over $123 million at the box office, and now, scary-good clown makeup inspired by It is all over Instagram — just in time for Halloween.
Why are we all so universally afraid of clowns, flagrantly silly-looking characters hired to entertain young children at birthday parties? Maybe it's exactly that: They are actors primarily for children, the most vulnerable members of society, and their true identities are always obscured. The anonymity of clowns might be enough to make us fearful, but there's also a learned aspect at play. It's ingrained beginning at childhood that clowns aren't to be trusted, and may have psychotic tendencies.
"The idea that white makeup and a red upside-down frown can serve as mere camouflage for a killer is one that mainstream and fringe pop culture have played with for decades. The particular clown that first struck fear in your heart likely depends on your age and media consumption habits," writes Vulture. "For some, it was unquestionably Pennywise, either in It book or TV mini-series form. No matter which clown haunted you first, once it happened, the instinctive desire to recoil at first mention of Barnum and/or Bailey most likely stayed with you."
With his demented stare and hungry, open-mouthed smile, 2017's iteration of Pennywise is the picture of a raving lunatic. Nevermind that Bill Skarsgard, the actor who portrays Pennywise, is actually smoking hot IRL. His inhabitation of Pennywise is enough to prove that clown garb is so strongly horrifying, it causes even gorgeous people to become prime nightmare material. And from "pretty clowns" to clowns that make you recoil in panic, makeup artists on Instagram are interpreting Pennywise's style with panache.
Check them out, if you dare.
Some clown makeup is enchanting, beautiful, sexy, even...
I feel she would still get like four, five numbers.
Just adding sparkles takes it from terrorizing to tantalizing pretty fast.
Heart-shaped lips are both flirty and menacing.
Cirque de Soleil performers tried to copyright this look and failed.
Strategically-placed fake lashes make for one doe-eyed jester.
If yeah, you're in the circus, but you still want to low-key pull babes.
Then the clowns start to look formidable.
Sooty, blacked-up fingers supercharge the macabre effect.
It's all about the dreadful facial expression and pasty pale makeup.
Exaggerate your tears and take a Guy Fawkes mask-approach to your smile.
When your hair is so pretty a full face of stark-white clown makeup doesn't mess up your game.
I don't know what those creepy neck lines are called and I'm too petrified to find out.
A hot witch married a spooky clown and spawned this.
Some clowns are full-on, screaming-bloody-murder terrifying.
The eyebrows. The teeth. I can't move.
Just add blood spatter and a large kitchen knife for psycho-clown murder spree vibes.
This makeup artist called this neon look "the LGBTQ version of Pennywise," proof that causing trembling fear is an equal opportunity employer.
Bloody teeth and blacked-out sclera? Head for the f*cking hills.
You know what they say: Three completely white eyeballs are better than one!
Pennywise is in the building, and I'm crying.