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6 Things Clowns, Zombies And Ghouls Have In Common

Updated on September 26, 2017
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Kari was an operating room nurse for 25 years before she retired. Uplifting quotes are always wanted, and Kari collects them.

Coulrophobia-Fear of Clowns

I never really understood why someone would be scared of clowns. To me they are the funny guys at the circus who run around like the Keystone Kops, honking horns and falling down. I saw clowns at the circus. I watched "Bozo the Clown" on TV as a child. Then there was Ronald McDonald, and he always seemed like a pretty decent guy. Even after I read "It" by Stephen King, I wasn't worried about clowns. Though I did watch the drain while I showered.

One day I was watching a zombie show and I had an epiphany. Zombies look like clowns. "Come to think of it," I opined to myself, "Ghouls do too." The more I pondered this, the more truth I saw. Zombies, ghouls and clowns genuinely resembled each other.

Keystone Kops


Zombies are reanimated dead people. They typically lumber, stumble and stagger around. Reports of fast and agile zombies have been documented in the last decade. Initially, they came out of graves in various stages of decomposition. Later, they not only came out of graves, but also arose half eaten by other zombies.

What do zombies want? Well, mainly they want living people's brains. In their never ending quest to obtain brains, they are not adverse to nibbling off an arm or leg or two. One thing they do not like...they do not like to eat other zombies. Darn! You would think we living would have something going for us. But, no, we can't even count on a little cannibalism to keep their numbers down.


Ghouls are creatures that like to hang out in graveyards and other deserted areas. They are very similar to zombies. Ghouls arise from Arabian mythology and are diabolic and wicked creatures. Ghouls, unlike zombies, like to eat the dead but they will also eat the living when available.

Ghouls are very difficult to discern and can change form to mimic both human and animal. They are smarter than zombies and can be devious. They seem to be somewhere between the mindless zombie and the conscious vampire. They are faster and more agile than zombies and may account for the fast zombie sightings.


Then we have clowns. My children will tell you clowns are much scarier than zombies or ghouls. You can see clowns at the mall! What is it about clowns that people find so scary? I didn't realize that people were scared of clowns...until I realized my daughter was. Turns out my son is scared of clowns also.

Once I realized that zombies, ghouls and clowns have a great deal in common. I started to wonder, who exactly is under that clown makeup. Is there even a someone, or are the clowns the new zombie?

#1-White Faces with Big Red Lips

Clowns typically have white faces with big red lips. We are lead to believe these big red lips are painted on, but isn't it funny how zombies and ghouls also have these big red lips after eating. Zombies and ghouls have white faces...and so do clowns! I wonder if zombies and ghouls have red noses also?

#2-Raggedy Clothes with Bright Red Splashes of Color

Watching the video above made me realize that clowns' clothing is pretty raggedy and there are several bright red splotches on them. Hhhmmm, zombies and ghouls clothes are always tattered and covered with red splashes. Interesting...I think I am beginning to understand...I wonder what else they have in common...

Stumbling, Bumbling Clowns

#3-Bumbling, Stumbling Hordes

Have you ever seen or participated in a "zombie walk"? Hundreds of people dress up as zombies and march down the road. It is amazing how much the above video reminds me of it. Hordes of white faced, red mouthed beings lumbering along with disheveled hair.

Now that I think of it clowns, zombies and ghouls seem to fall down alot for no reason. They all have that same klutzy, ungainly gait. Clowns look happy, or is that a grimace? Look closer...but not to close, maybe they do bite!

Stumbling and Bumbling

#4-Hair All Askew

Zombies and ghouls (who have hair) always have hair that is askew. Messy and sticking out in places. Wait, who else do we know with messy hair? Clowns! Clown hair is messy and sticking out all over.

White Zombie

White Zombie
White Zombie | Source


Zombies, ghouls and clowns all have bands named after them. And all of the bands seem slightly ghoulish. Let's look at some of the names of their songs and albums.

White Zombie: "Soul-Crusher", "Make Them Die Slowly", "Le Sexocisto: Devil Music Vol 1" (Is it me or do the titles just get weirder and weirder?)

Ghouls: I went to their website and read, "Until It Bleeds: Extreme Perverse Death Metal". I stopped there, I don't need to know any more. (And I thought White Zombie had some strangely named work.)

Insane Clown Posse: "Carnival of Carnage" was their first album. They sing in a style known as "horrorcore" which incorporates "supernatural and horror themed lyrics" according to Wikipedia.

Sorry, these bands are creeping me out. Seems clowns do have a lot in common with zombies and ghouls.

The Joker

The Joker is a clown of sorts.  See that white face and big red mouth?
The Joker is a clown of sorts. See that white face and big red mouth? | Source

#6-Movies And TV

What can I say. There are several zombie movies and TV shows. I like "Fear the Walking Dead" and "Z-Nation". My favorite movies are "Zombieland" and "Shaun of the Dead".

The funny thing about ghoul movies is that although there are several, almost all of them are named "Ghoul". The newest one is actually named "Tokoyo Ghoul". The last ghoul movie I watched was "Ghoulies" made in 1984.

The list of evil clown movies is much greater than I thought. For me it began with "Killer Clowns From Outer Space". A classic hilarious B movie from 1988. How about the Joker in "The Dark Knight". I must admit he is pretty scary. The most recent is "It", a remake of the mini-series "It" from 1990. Pennywise (the clown) is a terrifying character, even for those of us without coulrophobia. There is even a zombie clown movie, "Dead Clowns" from 2004.

There exist reports of nice zombies, such as the movie "Fido" (another of my favorites). However, I can't remember ever seeing a movie with good clowns in it. Funny how I never realized that until recently. Clowns are becoming scarier and scarier to me.

Pennywise From "It"

Pennywise From "It"
Pennywise From "It" | Source

Now I Understand!

Seems I owe my kids an apology. Now, I understand why they hate clowns so much! Clowns have about a gillion characteristics in common with zombies and ghouls. Although I have never seen a clown eat someone, living or dead, I have never actually seen a zombie do it either.

I will never again make amusing comments about my childrens' fear of clowns. Seems they saw instinctively what I should have seen all along. Evil lurks behind white faces and big red mouths. Keep away from beings that have lumbering gaits. And most of all, don't sleep when the circus is in town!

Don't Sleep!

Don't Sleep!
Don't Sleep! | Source

© 2009 Kari Poulsen


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