The world is about to witness the reboot of It, the horrific story of a demon clown that eats children. One of the most chilling horror films of all time, it put a generation of people off clowns for ever.
When watching It, and other plays on the 'creepy clown' trope, perhaps the best thing we can do is tell ourselves it's not real. After all the idea of a killer dressed in ghoulish clown makeup is almost too horrifying for our human faculties to deal with.
But, recently, the nightmare of It has become all too real.
Creepy clowns have been approaching people in dark, wooded areas, jumping out of dark corners and terrifying those who are unlucky enough to cross their path. It's been happening all across America, in what many people are calling the 'clownpocalypse'.
Mercifully, no-one has been killed or injured in the attacks. But the psychological damage sustained by the victims must have been horrific.
It began in a dark, disquieting way last month, in South Carolina. Residents of Greenville reported that suspicious clowns were attempting to lure their children into the woods - sending police in the area onto high alert and leaving families terrified.
The manager of an apartment block, Fleetwood Manor, sent a letter to his tenants warning that "at no time should a child be alone at night, or walking in the roads or wooded areas at night".
Reports of more incidents soon emerged from other states. Police in Athens, Georgia are still searching for five clowns driving around in a white panel van who terrorized a group of kids earlier this week. In Flomaton, Alabama, arrests were made after a Facebook page entitled Flomo Klowns made alleged gun threats to a nearby school.
According to the Associated Press, there have also been incidents in Maryland, North Carolina and even as far up the coast as Pennsylvania. Most recently, 20-year-old Jonathan Martin was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, having been found reportedly crouched in full clown get-up near an apartment complex in Kentucky.
So the question must be asked - why has this caught on? This is a ripple effect not unlike that of a social media trend or activity, but what is possessing these people to dress up and wander the darkness dressed as clowns, scaring people and children?
All that can be said is that what may have begun as a prank has now become too sinister to continue.
— wdam (@wdam) September 21, 2016