It’s Halloween, and that means boys and girls of all ages turn their thoughts to the creepiest, scariest, ickiest creatures and embrace them for costumes, decorations and entertainment on screens big and small.
In honor of the season, we put together our annual E-Score list of America’s creepiest characters, which this year is headed by not one but two creepy clowns. We also look at what it is about creepy characters that holds our attention so strongly in our “want to see more” list. And since clowns are ruling the zeitgeist right now, we took a look at the most prominent clowns in popular culture. From Harley Quinn to Ronald McDonald, these are the clowns that have made us laugh, cringe and want to eat hamburgers.
- America’s creepiest character is Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s It. Pennywise added box office superstar to his resume this year, as Warner Brothers’ theatrical release became the top grossing horror film of all time. This is the third consecutive year Pennywise has topped this list.
- Another psycho clown takes the second spot. Twisty, from American Horror Story has a 79% Creepy score, although he is not as well known. It’s enough to give you coulrophobia!
- One more new addition to this year’s list, joining such classic creeps as Freddy Krueger, Hannibal Lecter and Jigsaw, is Count Olaf from Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Can’t Get Enough Creepy
The success of It shows that creepiness and revulsion do not always drive viewers away. To find out what it is about these characters that attracts viewers, we looked at E-Score Character’s list of the creepiest characters that people Want to See More.
- A number of attributes help explain why consumers Want to See More of a creepy character: Just plain Scary – 70% are freaked out by Demogorgon; Cool factor – 51% say Spawn is Cool; Love to Hate – 27% feel this way about The Night King.
- Of the top 50 Creepiest Characters, 38% described Spawn as Creepy (ranked 42), but 55% Want to See More of the superhero, the highest among the top 50 creepy characters – compared to 28% for Pennywise and Twisty.
- Star Wars and Game of Thrones franchises may want to expand on their creepy characters. 49% Would Like to See More of Supreme Leader Snoke (Star Wars) and 47% for The Night King.
Send in the Clowns
While creepy clowns are having a moment right now, clowns have long appeared in various entertainment and marketing properties. Like all things pop culture, E-Score is measuring consumer attitudes towards these characters.
- Harley Quinn, from Suicide Squad is the most Appealing clown, at 71%.
- The funniest clowns are classic characters The Three Stooges (74% Funny), and Charlie Chaplin’s The Little Tramp (66%). Krusty the Clown from The Simpsons is also comedy gold at 57% Funny.
- Perhaps hurt by association with the scary clowns, two fast-food mascots are the least Appealing of all clowns measured. Jack (from Jack in the Box) at 38% Appeal and Ronald McDonald at 20% lag even their creepier clown cousins.
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