The ‘killer clowns’ craze is probably nothing more than a PR stunt – but that doesn’t make it any less frightening

The charity Childline says it has been inundated with calls from distressed children, and some police forces say they are receiving up to 15 calls a day 

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The Independent Online

More than two weeks to Halloween, and “killer” clowns are popping up and causing havoc in towns and rural areas, according to local news agencies. From Durham to York, Thames Valley to Canterbury, there’s been a spate of menacing clown sightings which are anything but amusing.

These chalk-faced men with orange fright hair and baggy costumes are threatening passers-by and terrifying children – but why? Scary clowns started appearing in the US in late summer, and now the craze has gone global. Videos featuring “killer” clowns are regularly posted online and images of clowns wielding knives, baseball bats, and even a chainsaw have appeared on Twitter and Snapchat.

The charity Childline says it has been inundated with calls from distressed children and some police forces say they are receiving up to 15 calls a day complaining about killers clowns causing havoc – lurking in parks and supermarket precincts, following kids to school and banging on restaurant windows. In Cumbria, one bloke has even dressed up as Batman and posted a video on Facebook, claiming he is fighting the killer clowns and protecting children.

More sightings as killer clown craze grips UK

Some schools are banning clown costumes from Halloween parties. Call me a cynic, but this craze smacks of a clever PR stunt driven by social media – these copycat clowns are inadvertently promoting an expensive new horror movie. New Line Cinema is filming a remake of It – based on the 1986 bestseller by Stephen King. The book was originally dramatised as a TV series in 1990, and shooting has just completed on a feature film, starring Bill Skasgard as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a bonkers mishmash of Ronald McDonald and Bozo, said to be the “embodiment of evil”, who awakens every 30 years to terrorise children.

Perhaps images from the set in Canada were leaked online – who knows? But the spate of “killer” clowns is great publicity for Stephen King and New Line, and there’s a whole year to go before we can see the Dancing Clown in the cinema. In the meantime, I’d quite like to hire some “killer clowns” – perhaps they could “persuade” Sir Philip Green to hand back his honour.

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