The first trailer for the remake of Stephen King’s It has been slammed as “disgusting” by the professional clown community.
The supernatural horror movie is based on King’s 1986 novel of the same name and follows the tale of a group of children who are terrorised by a violent being who takes the form of creepy clown Pennywise.
Professional clowns have reacted with dismay at the trailer, which reportedly became the most watched ever in its first 24 hours with 197 million views, and claimed it would affect their businesses.
Glasgow-based Celine Harland, who has performed as Tickles for 17 years, said the industry had just recovered from the spate of clown attacks that swept across the US and UK last year and led to a deluge of calls to Childline from terrified youngsters as well as dozens of reports to police.
She said: “It’s a horror movie and it affects people’s thoughts and opinions on what a clown is.
“Unfortunately, it’s not like Jaws which is unrealistic, we do have clowns in society, and yes it will affect business, of course it will.
“I have parents and teachers phoning me … they’re scared to hire you for 35 kids in case they’ve got one child who will be upset.”
Matthew “Mattie the clown” Faint, director and curator of the clown museum in Hackney, east London, called the idea behind the film “disgusting”.
Speaking from a national clown convention in Bognor Regis, he said: “It’s a horrible movie and we’d like to distance ourselves from the subject of scary clowns.
“We fight our corner as proper clowns because it’s basically a scary character in a clown face which we don’t think much of.
There’s just so many horrible movies out there … clowns that eat people or whatever. It takes people’s minds in the wrong direction. We don’t need it, it’s bad, it’s disgusting.”
He urged parents to prevent their children from watching the movie, adding: “It’s sensational rubbish. I don’t know why people want to see these horrible things, what’s the point? I don’t understand people’s mentalities.”
King’s It was made into a TV miniseries in 1990 with Tim Curry in the role as the supernatural villain, instilling a fear of clowns among many who saw it.
This new version – which stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise – arrives in cinemas in September.