Wrinkles the Clown (film)

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Wrinkles the Clown
Promotional release poster
Directed byMichael Beach Nichols
Written byMichael Beach Nichols
Christopher K. Walker
Produced byJennie Bedusa
Mike Dill
Jon Lullo
Lowell Shapiro
Brendan Walter
StarringWrinkles the Clown
CinematographyMichael Beach Nichols
Edited byChristopher K. Walker
Music byT. Griffin
Crush Pictures
Distributed byMagnet Releasing
Release date
  • October 4, 2019 (2019-10-04)
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$14,938[1][2]

Wrinkles the Clown is a 2019 American documentary comedy horror film directed by Michael Beach Nichols.[3][4][5] The film follows a man known as Wrinkles the Clown who lives in Naples, Florida. For a fee of "a few hundred dollars", he will attend birthdays, scare misbehaving kids, and prank people.[6][7]

The film was released in the United States on October 4, 2019 by Magnet Releasing.


In 2015, a video is uploaded to YouTube depicting a clown named Wrinkles emerging from beneath a young girl's bed. It quickly goes viral. In the following months, it is revealed that Wrinkles is a professional clown in Florida who offers his services to the parents of misbehaving children, showing up to frighten them unannounced as a deterrent to future bad behavior. Stickers bearing Wrinkles' face and phone number begin appearing all over Florida and thousands of people begin calling it for various reasons, from parents wanting to hire Wrinkles to people making death threats. Over the course of the next four years, Wrinkles becomes an object of folklore both locally in Florida and across the United States, with children routinely calling the number either alone or with friends as a sort of rite of passage. Additionally, further videos appear depicting Wrinkles either frightening people outside their homes or engaging in disturbing behavior, such as waving to motorists from a darkened roadside.

In 2019, Wrinkles agrees to allow a documentary crew to follow him in his daily life and explain his philosophy. Wrinkles is revealed as an elderly homeless man who lives in a van in the woods outside of Naples, Florida and spends much of his free time fishing, drinking, and going to strip clubs, occasionally using the money he makes from his appearances as Wrinkles to check into motels. He claims to have no personal ideology and states that he only works as Wrinkles for the money.

Discussions with Wrinkles are intercut with interviews with a variety of individuals discussing the phenomenon, including a psychologist who debates whether Wrinkles' behavior is abusive; folklore experts who compare Wrinkles to a contemporary Bloody Mary and other mythic rituals that figure prominently in American adolescence; a historian who explores the history of the evil clown trope, tying it back to Punch and Judy; and a professional clown unhappy with the recent negative attention that Wrinkles and the remake of Stephen King's It have brought to the profession. The documentary crew further discusses Wrinkles with a number of children around America who have been impacted by his videos, from a young girl who wishes to fight him to an aspiring horror filmmaker inspired by Wrinkles' YouTube videos to begin conceptualizing his own movies. The documentary crew also examines the Wrinkles phenomenon in the context of the 2016 clown sightings.

Midway through the documentary it is revealed that the man the crew has been following is in fact an actor named D.B. Lambert, hired by the "real" Wrinkles, a Florida performance artist, to portray Wrinkles' secret identity. Wrinkles explains that both characters were created as part of an elaborate art project. With his face blurred out, the real Wrinkles shows the documentary crew behind-the-scenes footage depicting the making of various Wrinkles videos; he further reveals that he has never actually gone to anyone's house, and that all the videos depicting Wrinkles frightening children were in fact made with the participation of actors. Wrinkles expresses satisfaction with the impact the project has had while contemplating its future, and the role it has had in contemporary American pop culture.



Critical response

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Wrinkles the Clown holds an approval rating of 71%, based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10.[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[10]


  1. ^ "Wrinkles the Clown". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  2. ^ "Wrinkles the Clown". The Numbers. IMDb. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  3. ^ Higgins, Keenan (September 11, 2019). "Watch the Trailer for Real-Life Pennywise Doc 'Wrinkles the Clown'". The Source Magazine. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Diaz, Eric (September 6, 2019). "WRINKLES THE CLOWN Documentary Explores The Real Pennywise". Nerdist. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Radulovic, Petrana (September 6, 2019). "Creepy internet sensation Wrinkles the Clown gets a full exposé". Polygon. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Gutoskey, Ellen (September 11, 2019). "Meet Wrinkles the Clown, the Real-Life Pennywise Who Scared Kids Into Behaving". Mental Floss. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  7. ^ Sandwell, Ian (September 12, 2019). "Wrinkles the Clown is the REAL clown worse than It's Pennywise". Digital Spy. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "Full Cast and Crew: Wrinkles the Clown (2019)". IMDB.com. IMDB. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Wrinkles the Clown". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Wrinkles the Clown reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 8 October 2019.