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Photographer Rey Rey Rodriguez: My Morbid Fascination with Clowns

With all the rumors of the film “IT” possibly having a third installment, and with fans happy to once again see Harley Quinn in the newly released Suicide Squad 3 movie, clowns are once again hot.  We had a talk with a well-known lover of clowns, Photographer and The Mind of Rey Rey founder, Rey Rey Rodriguez, and asked him to explain to us why clowns are so fascinating.  This is what he had to say:

“Most people have one or both (like myself) of these conditions: Coulrophobia (a fear of clowns) and / or Coulrophilia (a love, obsession, or sexual attraction to clowns).  Even the happiest clown, in the most peaceful setting looks cold and evil in dark light.  When I began photography, the first couple of times I used myself as a model, I dressed up as a dark clown.  I wasn’t trying to copy any specific clown, I had always just had a fascination for them and the fright they cause people without them even trying to inflict fear.  My love / fear relationship with clowns began at a young age.

When I was around 4 or 5 years old, I received records of a Latin clown that sang kid tunes named, Cepillín as a present.  I liked the music, but looking at the album covers with Cepillín staring back at me used to scare me.  So, I’d hide the albums deep between other ones so that I wouldn’t see them.  But, from time to time I’d pull one out, look at the cover, then quickly hide it again. 

I felt a similar thrill every time we’d visit a McDonald’s.  As a kid, nothing made my day more than having chicken nuggets, French fries, and a strawberry shake, while a big scary clown walked around smiling and waving at me and everyone else.

I grew up watching reruns of the 1960’s Batman series starring Adam West.  So, in 1989, when Tim Burton’s Batman was released, I was expecting a comedy.  Instead, I saw a Jack Nicholson play a gangster, who became a clown and the head of an evil organization that wanted to rule Gotham city.  While everyone spoke about how badass Batman was, to me the Joker’s storyline, his sense of humor and darkness stole the show. For the first time, I rooted for the villain. 

A year later, commercials of a two-part horror mini-series starring a red haired clown that looked like an evil version of Bozo the Clown, holding red balloons caught my attention.  Penny Wise didn’t look that scary in the trailer.  But, 12 years old was probably too young of an age to watch the original “IT.”  I saw both parts and didn’t sleep for days.  But that didn’t stop me from re-watching it whenever it was playing. 

Three years later, serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed and every news outlet blasted the story of the killer clown nicknamed, “Pogo the Clown,” and “Patches the Clown.”  After watching several reenactments of his crimes, and knowing that it actually took place, for months I’d nervously bring up him up in conversation as a way to ease the anxiety it gave me.  Like everyone else, you feel sorry for the victims, get freaked out by the stories, but you can’t stop reading and or listening to the details over and over.

The day after Gacy’s death, the film “The Crow” was released.  Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee starred as musician Eric Draven, who was murdered along with his fiancée the night before their wedding.  He then comes back to life as a vigilante dressed in all black, with a face painted like a Goth clown, that revenge murders everyone involved with his and his fiancée’s death.  This film gave birth to my new dark hero.  Even the wrestler Sting was inspired by this film, and in 1996 he changed his character’s act and look to mimic The Crows’.

As an adult, I’ve seen every documentary, low budget horror flick, and anything else you can think of starring a clown. I have no idea what chemical imbalance I must have to feel both unease and an obsession with them.  Imagine a horror film that has frightened you, that has maybe even given you nightmares.  Some people would choose never watch it again, while others eagerly re-watch again and again for the emotional rollercoaster experience. That’s the best way I can describe my attraction to clowns.

Other Notable Clown Mentions:

Sexiest Clown: Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad, 2016).

Favorite Sarcastic Clown: Captain Spaulding (2003, House of 1000 Corpse).

Favorite Clown Musician: Tie: Gene Simmons & Insane Clown Posse.

Favorite Cartoon Clown: Krusty the Clown (The Simpsons).

All Around Favorite Clown: (Tie) Health Ledger’s (The Dark Knight, 2008) and Joaquin Phoenix’s (Joker, 2019) Joker.”

Follow Rey Rey Rodriguez on social media:

Facebook.com/themindofreyrey

Twitter.com/themindofreyrey

Instagram.com/themindofreyrey

And visit his official website:

Themindofreyrey.com  

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