So, clowns are all the rage right now. A ‘killer clown’ craze has swept the world, beginning in the US and now reaching our own streets. There have been countless sightings of people dressed up as scary clowns, sometimes brandishing weapons and threatening passers-by.
The craze coincides with the release of images of Pennywise the clown from the new adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror novel It, but the movie’s studio, New Line Cinema, has denied any involvement in the developments.
The sightings first began in the US a few weeks ago. A woman in California reported that a clown attempted to steal her one-year-old daughter from her arms (she told reporters: “I pulled back and I kicked the shit out of him”). A man in Texas awoke to find to his garden gate was open and, upon consulting his CCTV, saw that a clown wielding a knife had attempted to break into his home. “I’m sure we would all be dead today if he was able to get in,” the man said.
And, yes, it’s happening in the UK too. In North Wales there was a clown sighting near a children’s play area. A woman in Manchester has reported that clowns with machetes climbed on her car bonnet and threatened her children. A victim in Loughborough has said: “I was approached by what can only be described as a clown with an axe. I have never been so terrified in my life.”
Yesterday, there were 14 sightings in the UK in just 24 hours, while there have also been reports of killer clowns in Australia, Canada and France. Even Stephen King himself has been moved to ask everyone to cool it a bit. And he bloody loves killer clowns!
But you know who we feel for in all this? Well, yeah, the victims, obviously. But beyond that, there’s the Northampton Clown to think of. Who? You know, the creepy clown who was spotted kicking it in Northampton in 2013 (see below). He kept popping up on social media as frightened residents snapped the less-than-jovial entertainer hanging about around town. He was ‘unmasked’ as Alex Powell, a student of Media Production and Moving Image at the University of Northampton. The aspiring filmmaker admitted to being the clown in question, then retracted his confession.
At the time, Powell had recently made a short film called The Local Clown, which features a character who wears the very clown costume that would later find online infamy. After his retraction, Powell told The Torquay Herald Express: “After I made the film I gave the costume to the British Heart Foundation charity shop.”
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He reckoned another person – whose identity he claimed to know but refused to share – then bought the costume and became the Northampton Clown. So why did Powell admit to it in the first place? Perhaps for publicity: the news coverage increased YouTube views of The Local Clown, which have now topped 118,000.
Still, for Powell, watching the killer clown craze must be like watching your favourite band blowing up big time. Part of him may feel fondness for the development. Yet his inner hipster may seethe that he was into creepy clowns before they were cool.
A photo posted by Alex Powell (@alex_powell13) on
And so it is…
As you can see above, it seems Powell has now taken to Instagram (his first post) to share a snap of his old costume with the caption: “Time to dust off this old thing and show these foreign clowns who the real clown is.” Is Alex Powell the Northampton Clown after all? Is that the real Alex Powell? And if so, is he planning a new reign of terror?
More on this story as we get it.