Clowns are supposed to be the life of the party. Through the decades, they have been a symbol of hilarity, wit and a guarantee of fun and games for the whole family. The earliest occurrence of the beginning of the clown craze began in the late '40s with Clarabell the clown. Although mute throughout the run of children’s show ‘Howdy Doody,’ Clarabell was a delight for kids, as he pranced around TV screens in striped baggy pants, honking a horn for ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The late '50s initiated one of TV’s biggest sensations, Bozo the Clown, the beloved character famous for his successful and locally-produced children’s show, ‘The Bozo Show.’
The new millennium, however, has transformed that symbol of laughs and gags to a broader spectrum of coulrophobia that is, well, just downright creepy and terrifying. Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus is capitalzing on this transition, and has even gone so far as to travel nationwide in attempts to expose, and horrify towns and cities with their pratfall of clowns.
A refreshingly scary alternative to haunted houses, Strangling Brothers offers a frightful extravaganza to remember, and you make your way through a custom-designed tractor trailer maze filled with fearsome ghouls, zombie clowns and deranged blood-spattered surgeons in South Draper. With over 20 years of professional scare tactics in their arsenal, Strangling Brothers' owners Bob Tillotson and Jim Thornton are no strangers in ensuring screams and horrified shrieks accompany their haunted traveling shows.
“I think in our generation, we look closer at clowns—their double layer make-up—and its just so psychologically uncomfortable,” says Amanda, one of Strangling Brothers’ evil clowns. And although the people who show up to witness the show are fright fans who enjoy being scared, there’s always the instance where some just aren’t ready to lose their vocal chords by screaming their heads off.
“We’ve been able to dry up a few tears from kids who are too freaked out, but they always give you that look after that says ‘get away from me,'” she says.
The show also includes performances by Odyssey Dance Theatre, interactive video screens of animated 3D clowns, unruly creatures of the night, and an hour-long walk through a gore-filled circus clinic. Every Friday and Saturday, through Oct. 5, and then everyday until November 2, Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus opens its doors fright fans at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door and available through stranglingbros.com.
Although a far cry from Bozo and Clarabell, Strangling Brothers’ grotesque clowns will surely offer you an entertaining fright night you won’t forget.