Trigger warning: evil clowns
A new documentary follows a Naples, Florida man known as Wrinkles the Clown, who will reportedly scare misbehaving children for a fee of "a few hundred dollars." Though there is some doubt as to whether Wrinkles has ever gotten paid to scare kids straight, the man behind the mask says it is true.
According to Wrinkles, the mother of a 12-year-old boy thought it might be a good idea to teach her son a lesson. "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 said. “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?’”
Wrinkles, a vet from Rhode Island who retired to Florida, became an internet sensation in 2014 after a video in which he appears crawling out from under a little girl’s bed went viral. Afterwards, flyers began appearing around Naples with his creepy photo next to a number that parents could call to hire him to scare their naughty children. The documentary explores his life since and the drawbacks of clown life, including the countless angry phone calls and death threats.
Aptly titled Wrinkles the Clown, the film shows how the veteran is not in it to entertain children. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t much like kids, instead, he prefers fishing and strip clubs. In one scene, a voicemail is played in which you a man can be heard yelling, "I'll take a baseball bat and beat your brains in." This is followed by another message that says, “You're scaring little people that can't defend themselves.”
Although it’s still unclear how far Wrinkles has taken his act, the vet believes it is cruel to use a clown a “disciplinary tactic.” Yet, despite the death threats and angry voice messages, Wrinkles does appear to have some fans. The clown says that people “love the character and they like the funny parts about him and they like he cynical parts that they can relate to.”
Directed by Michael Beach Nichols, Wrinkles the Clown, which premiered last Friday, has already caused fierce online debate as to whether hiring a clown to scare your children into behaving properly is tantamount to child abuse. Some even believe that it is illegal. Personally, I believe that the trauma that a child might endure after being scared by a ‘killer clown’ is enough to consider this a very bad idea. It’s easy enough to discipline children by threatening to take their phone away without having to resort to frankly bizarre parenting methods.