‘Real-life Pennywise’ – the killer clown who slaughtered 33 teenagers
Remember a few years back when the killer clown epidemic swept across America? One of those at the centre of the saga was Wrinkles the Clown, a character created by an unidentified performance artist living in Naples, Florida.
Depending on how much of a horror junkie you are, you may or may not be pleased to know that a documentary on the elusive figure has just been released in the US, although it is still awaiting a UK release date. And let’s just say, it makes IT Chapter Two look like My Little Pony. You’ve probably already heard of Wrinkles, having first made online fame after a grainy black-and-white video showing him emerge from underneath a child’s bed went viral. The video itself is pure nightmare fuel, and only went on to creep out locals in Naples even more when they started spotting Wrinkles IRL across the city. Meanwhile, hundreds of posters and stickers with his ghoulish face and phone number were posted around, with the documentary proving that you can still hire him to freak out your kids if they are misbehaving.
Wrinkles doesn’t just get requests to scare children though, as he’s been inundated with messages from women and goths. The anonymous performer behind Wrinkles told NBC 2: “I’ve got women calling me all the time. Young ones, too, like weird goths with chains and stuff. “I’ve had enough psycho women in my life already. That’s why I’m divorced. I just want to have fun… Have a good time, make a little extra money on the side. Have a little fun before I die.”
Pennywise has nothing on his get-up, which consists of a red polkadot onesie and a mask with blacked-out eyes and rough red lips. As is shown in the documentary trailer – and as you’d expect from someone who spends their free time scaring the living daylights out of kids – not all of the feedback is positive. “You’re scaring little people that can’t defend themselves,” shouts one man down the phone, while another says, “I’ll take this baseball bat and beat your brains in.” Yikes. Nonetheless, it would appear Wrinkles is keeping his gig up, and has somehow managed to maintain anonymity – although the film sets to uncover some of the mysteries about the man behind the clown mask. Wrinkles the Clown was released on 4 October 2019 in the US, with filmmaker Michael Beach Nichols insisting that the main character isn’t a work of fiction. He said: “I think that a big part of the primal fear of clowns comes from their traditional access to our children. Here’s a stranger, usually a man, wearing brightly coloured face paint to conceal his identity. “We don’t truly know who this person is or what his motivations are. In terms of Hollywood, I feel like there’s something incredibly intriguing and rich about the light/dark duality that exists or that might exist in every clown.”