At point in our lives we've always wanted to run away and join the circus. But then you met a creepy clown or two and your dreams were shattered forever. Well here are 6 circus movies that show you just how creepy the circus can be.


The origin of all creepy circus movies, as filmmaker Tod Browning puts the side show freaks front and center as our heroes against the evil trapeze girl who plans to marry their leader. A controversial movie when first brought to the theaters in 1932 and still eerie today as we are given a look into the outcast of society. Browning, a former circus contortionist, gives us a docudrama feel to the classic horror film that makes wonder, who are the freaks, and who are the monsters in this movie.

Santa Sangre

An inspired piece of Browning's Freaks and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho mixed with the striking filmmaker wonders of Alejandro Jodorowsky. A young circus boy witnesses his mother's brutal dismemberment by his cruel ringmaster father before his ritualistic suicide. As the boy grows up he becomes a psychologically disturbed pianist who helps his disabled mother seek sacrificial revenge. A beautiful and touching mind trip through the psychosis of a young man and artist. Also mentioned that this is the film for all people to start out with when watching the bizarre cult classic films of Jodorowsky.

The Last Circus

From Spain, a heavily inspired by Santa Sangre comes a circus, love, and war film from Alex de la Iglesia. As we introduced to a dueling pair of “Happy” and “Sad” clowns, who fight and brutally attack one another throughout the years in their circus family. An allegory of the fascist era of Franco in Spain and the horrors that the people suffered during near 50 year reign. Also if the politics don't interest you, it just has a lot of gore, boobs, and creepy clowns to keep you awake throughout.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

About as dark you can get from a live action Disney movie, as the classic Ray Bradbury book comes rolling onto to the screen. The mysterious devious circus of Mr. Dark comes to town collecting souls. It's up to best friends Jim Nightshade and Will Holloway to save their town before it's too late. A failure to both Bradbury and Disney at the time, it's an fascinating and at times creepy look at what family features were once before Pixar and a giant green ogre took over the family film market.

Big Fish

The lightest of creepy circus films on the list but it does have a pair of singing korean Siamese twins (cute), naked wolf boy version of Danny DeVito roaming around (creepy), little midget clowns to boot (scary),. Yet for a Tim Burton film its pretty light on the freak show.

La Strada

The Federico Fellini classic gives us the tale of an abused circus assistant and her travels throughout Europe with her brutish husband and partner. Based upon Fellini's experiences when he ran away to the circus as a young boy.