Is Joaquin Phoenix's New Joker Inspired By John Wayne Gacy?!

The most infamous killer clown of all...

john wayne gacy pogo clown

Over the years, the Jokers we've seen on screen have been a mixed bag of influences from films, real life figures and the comic books themselves. We've also seen four extremely different takes on the character since Cesar Romero's first go back in the 60s and it looks like the fifth, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is going to be different again.

The reveal that came this weekend on the back of paparazzi interference was surprisingly great, with a simple design clearly designed to allow Phoenix more scope to perform rather than hiding him behind too much make-up or too much... silliness, as in the case of Jared Leto.

Isn't there something awfully familiar about his look though? Isn't it all very killer clown? Very John Wayne Gacy? The blue eyes, the blood red smile that looks more like a wound than simple made-up lips.. There are differences of course, but it certainly feels like a reference point.


If you weren't aware, Gacy was a sadistic killer and rapist with at least 33 victims to his name who was executed in 1994 for his crimes and has gone on to be one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. Basically, if you're looking for an easy reference point that your fictional clown is a bad guy, Gacy is your go-to guy.

The infamous killer doesn't have the monopoly on that sort of look - or on clown make-up, of course - but it's hard to ignore the similarities...

Joaquin Phoenix Joker
Warner Bros.

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