Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The AHS Behind-The-Scenes Drama That Had People Furious Over Twisty

The creators of "American Horror Story" have offered their own unique take on nearly every sort of popular horror archetype across the 10 and counting seasons of the terrifying anthology series. But out of all the show's creatures that go bump in the night, only a select few monsters stand out to fans as the absolute scariest of the bunch.

Many point to the murderous Twisty the Clown, played by John Carroll Lynch, from the "Freak Show" season of the show as a particularly disturbing character. A recent Reddit poll even shows that fans voted the serial killer as the second scariest "monster" of the entire series, and it's easy to see why. Twisty's portrayal by Lynch expertly plays on the killer clown archetype that fictional villains like the Joker from "Batman" and Pennywise from "It" pioneered. It's the type of character that takes many people's childhood fear of circus clowns caked in makeup with grotesque, contorted features and validates it, suggesting that yes, the heart of the clown is just as wicked as their menacing exterior.

Although Twisty has garnered a great deal of praise for being a very effective utilization of a storied horror trope, not everyone was particularly happy with the portrayal of the character. In fact, one prominent organization outwardly derided Twisty, claiming that he gives real-life clowns a bad rap.

America's biggest clown club hated Twisty's portrayal

After "American Horror Story" began airing its "Freak Show" season in 2014, Twisty garnered criticism from his real-life, non-murderous clown counterparts. In a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter that same year, the president of Clowns of America International Glenn Kohlberger denounced the show for portraying clowns as frightening. 

"Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm," Kohlberger said to the publication, explaining that "They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare." Kohlberger went on to add that his organization was not only opposed to Twisty from "American Horror Story," but to any and all pieces of media that contained scary clowns, stating, "We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or 'clown fear.'" 

Despite this backlash, the killer clown archetype has continued to flourish in film and television since Twisty terrorized viewers in 2014. The Joker got his very own dark and gritty origin story in the form of 2019's "Joker" film, and Pennywise returned to haunt Derry in the hair-raising movies "It" and "It Chapter Two," released in 2017 and 2019 respectively. It seems that scary clowns aren't very likely to leave media anytime soon, much less the public's collective imagination, regardless of however much the passionate clowns of the real world would desire them to.