One of the world's foremost authorities on the entertainment of horror is begging to differ with how the recent spate of clown sightings around the U.S. are being characterized as creepy. On the contrary, clowns, for the most part, are meant to be kid friendly and put smiles on people's faces, not expressions of fright, according to celebrated author Stephen King.
The writer of celebrated fictional classics that straddle the literary worlds of horror and the supernatural took to Twitter this week to chime in on the ongoing national conversation surrounding the reported nefarious behavior of people dressed as clowns. "Most of em are good," he tweeted in part.
The tweet garnered more than 2,800 retweets and nearly 7,000 likes.
Calling the collective reaction from citizens "hysteria," King, the best-selling author who has written more than 50 novels and sold 350 million copies worldwide, may just have a valid point. While threats from people dressed as clowns have been reported for months now — many of them include accounts of clowns appearing in the woods and just staring at people — the worst that have come from them are arrests for false police reports.
Most of the reports have originated from the south but they have begun to spread to areas in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Schools have been put on alert because of social media threats from accounts associated with clowns, but there have been no reports of the sorts of injury — or even deaths — which King has made a name for himself writing about.
However, King may just have another reason to pipe up on the topic: a major film studio just finished production in the cinematic adaptation of his 1986 novel, "IT," which is about — you guessed it — a killer clown. The studio dismissed the claim as mere coincidence of timing, according to the Hollywood Reporter. A promotional image associated with the movie and displayed on imdb.com show a sinister-looking clown's face with angry eyebrows arched up and cracked makeup along a furrowed brow.
The Maine resident responsible for such horror-thriller classics as "The Shining," "Misery," "Carrie" and "Cujo" spoke with his local newspaper about the clown sightings and down played its significance as phenomenon that will likely be short-lived — for now.
"I suspect it’s a kind of low-level hysteria, like Slender Man, or the so-called Bunny Man, who purportedly lurked in Fairfax County, Virginia, wearing a white hood with long ears and attacking people with a hatchet or an axe," King told the Bangor Daily News. "The clown furor will pass, as these things do, but it will come back, because under the right circumstances, clowns really can be terrifying.”