If you thought that Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise was the scariest clown you’d seen this year at the cinema, think again.
Pennywise is terrifying, sure, but however traumatised you are by It Chapter Two, you can console yourself with the fact that the dancing clown isn’t real. Wrinkles the Clown, on the other hand, is very real.
And we’re not sure we’ll ever sleep soundly again, to be honest.
Wrinkles has actually been making his presence known in Florida since 2014 when a CCTV video of him went viral. The chilling black-and-white video sees Wrinkles emerge from under the bed of a little girl, before the clown turns off the security camera.
Soon, Wrinkles was popping up everywhere and being caught on camera in several unsettling videos. There’s even a YouTube channel dedicated to Wrinkles sightings if you’re brave enough.
But if you’re worried about the safety of the girl in the video, Wrinkles explained that he was actually hired by her parents. Apparently, the idea was that if she misbehaved, they could show her the video and threaten to bring the clown back.
Following the CCTV footage going viral, people in Naples, Florida could start hiring Wrinkles themselves, thanks to stickers going up around town and online adverts. As with that video, people were hiring the clown to scare their children into behaving.
And now the mystery of Wrinkles the Clown is set to be revealed in a new documentary that is released in the US on October 4, following a premiere at Fantastic Fest.
“With incredible access to the mastermind behind the mask, Wrinkles the Clown is a cryptic and playful exploration of these questions, as well as an inside look at myth-building and the unpredictable spread of imagination in the internet age,” the synopsis reads.
In the trailer, a person who we assume will be shown to be the man behind the mask explains why he does what he does: “No-one was hiring me when I was just a regular clown. I just thought, ‘Yeah, you know, maybe I’ll give it a little edge’.”
Wrinkles came close to being unmasked before when he gave an interview to The Washington Post in November 2015.
While he remains unnamed, the profile stated than Wrinkles was then a “65-year-old Rhode Island transplant and military veteran”. The clown admitted that for a fee, he could be hired to make a surprise appearance at a party, scare children or even just prank a friend.
That’s exactly what one parent did when their 12-year-old was causing trouble. “He was scared of clowns and I showed up across the street from him at the bus stop and he just started crying in front of his friends and ran home,” Wrinkles recalled.
“His mother called back a few days later and said, ‘Thank you!’ Now when he acts bad, she just has to ask him, ‘Do you want Wrinkles to come back?'”
And you thought being grounded was bad…
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In the same interview, Wrinkles revealed that the idea to become a professional scary clown came about to avoid being bored in retirement – and the fact he’s not fond of young people or making “stupid little balloon animals”.
“I’m just a good old-fashioned clown. When I was a kid, it was okay to scare kids and now they’re all whiny and scared. I want to bring scary back,” he added.
Safe to say, he succeeded.
Wrinkles the Clown is released in US cinemas on October 4. No UK release plans have been announced yet.