Why A Clown of Thorns?
First, I need to give you some background. Before I started regularly writing fiction, I was doing a lot of acting. I even had an agent for a while and got some pretty good paying gigs. I found a casting call for a short horror film and auditioned. I was cast as a thug. It was fun. The director and I became friends and did a few other films together, including a short horror/comedy zombie movie (The Quirk and the Dead – it’s 16 minutes long and available to watch on YouTube).
The director said one of his goals was to make the scariest movie ever. So, naturally, I tried to write one. I churned out a few scripts, but mostly they were too special effects intensive and more than we could take on with our meager, independent budget. These scripts sat around on my hard drive for a long time, in the hopes that someday I might have enough money to make them into movies.
But, then I saw a call for weird horror fiction from one of my favorite publishers. I thought, “Hey… I have a weird horror screenplay. Maybe I can turn it into prose.” This, by the way, is not as easy as you might think. They are two radically different mediums.
But, I persevered and I’m glad I did. The story, A Clown of Thorns, lent itself well to the page and I’m happy with the result.
I got the idea from several sources. First, a lot of people are coulrophobic (afraid of clowns) so they are good villains.
Second, I had this sort of ideal, post-apocalyptic family who was armed and dangerous, but still your basic upper-middle class suburbanites. They sip lemonade on the front lawn, but are a well-oiled killing machine when needed.
Third, I wanted to include the religious undertones, though it’s obviously pretty tongue-in-cheek.
This is one of those stories where I have a hard time deciding which character I like more: the protagonist or the antagonist. When I originally wrote Mitch for the screen, I fully intended to play him. I have a sword and am competent with its use. So, clearly, I have some love for the guy.
But, Boots, our villain, the Bad Clown, was so, so much fun to write. He has (virtually) no lines, because clowns don’t talk in my world. Yet, his personality shines through his greasepaint.
This is an oddball piece, to be sure. I think it’s funny and different and at times pretty damn creepy. I tried to have fun with it, and I hope you do, too.
Thanks for hanging out with me. Why don’t you pull up a chair here by the mirror? I have plenty of greasepaint you can use.
Don’t forget the nose. That’s the best part.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in dozens of anthologies, magazines and podcasts. Ken is a member of The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. Ken’s the kind of guy that, if he found himself stranded somewhere with you, would probably eat you to survive. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two unstable cats.
From a museum process that not only preserves the dead but brings them back to life to a phone that warns you of the impending apocalypse, each tale hits on a different level of the bizarre. Maybe a killer clown epidemic that preys on everything you hold dear, or a painting that subtly changes to spell out your doom, piques your odd meter instead—don’t worry, they’re in there too.
If you like horror with a unique spin, a bizarre thread that straddles the line, or a tale that just a little off, you’ll definitely enjoy each odd morsel and bizarre bite contained within!
Phantom Pain — Kayce Bennett
All Aboard — C.R. Langille
Self Portrait — Ben Pienaar
The Process — Georgina Morales
A Man Called Cup — Jason A. Wyckoff
Fingers — Maynard Blackoak
A Clown of Thorns — Ken MacGregor
Into The Dream Never — S.E. Foley
Hi — Calypso Kane
Beep — Kristal Stittle
A Clown and a Dragon Walk Into a Bar — Rob E. Boley
Ivy’s First Kiss — Matthew R. Davis
Horror: Odd and Bizarre can be found online at: