When We Fear Clowns

The movie poster for Joker.

The movie poster for Joker.

When the final addition to the groundbreaking cinematic Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, was set to release in July of 2012, excitement for the film circulated across the world for the conclusion to this now-famous saga. With the success of 2008’s, The Dark Knight, expectation was shooting through the roof from fans everywhere. Audiences from New York were eager to see what the new film would bring to the table. Audiences from California were thrilled to see director Christopher Nolan’s next masterpiece. Audiences from Illinois were ready to see Christian Bale finally put the bat-suit back on, and audiences from Colorado had no idea the horror that would come for those in Aurora that chose to go to the midnight screening. On July 20 of 2012, a man with dyed orange hair entered the movie theatre screening of the new Dark Knight film with assault guns and tear gas grenades as he open-air shot into the audience. With regards to the hair and actions, many correlations between him and the Batman villain The Joker were made, including those made by the shooter himself. 

In 2019, A new film entitled Joker based on the legendary Batman villain was set to come out on Oct 4th. While most general audiences were greatly excited about the movie, as the days approached, people started to worry. In regards to the 2012 Dark Knight Rises shooting, and several more recent mass homicides, fear of another Joker inspired shooting circulated across the country, with many movie theaters, including Cody’s own Big Horn Cinemas supplying an addition to their security. 

Another not so nearby theatre extremely worried about what Joker could inspire is the cinema found in the Town Center at Aurora, the theatre of the 2012 shooting. In fact, Joker was not invited to the city at all because of the town’s distraught past according to Vanity Fair. While the character has been seen on screen, including screens in Aurora between now and the release of The Dark Knight Rises, most notably in the 2016 film Suicide Squad, Joker hits a different chord. The film explicitly depicts a mentally unstable maniac in a very dark and creepy tone, and many worries about the effect it could have on certain audiences have accumulated. In the film Suicide Squad, however, the character of the Joker was far less elaborated on and creepily depicted. It didn’t have the same amount of baggage as this new film does with society. 

Many media outlets have been criticized for how sensitive they have been toward the vivid depiction of the new film, specifically on twitter. To many, it almost seems as if the media wants a mass shooting to occur just so they can say “I told you so.” Various news publications have expressed a deep expression of negativity toward the film for being overly triggering for some viewers in regards to its subject matter. The majority of audiences are annoyed by this as they believe it shows a massive downhill slope for society and a sense of hypocrisy, as well as the belief that some of the publications in a twisted self-righteous way want a Joker inspired shooting to occur. Of course, none of the publications want a life to be lost, but they would benefit from a shooting more than anyone, and people can see through that. 

Nevertheless, Joker is currently showing on the big screen at Big Horn Cinemas here in Cody. Audiences are loving it with a 90% audience rating from its Rotten Tomatoes page. The film is directed by Todd Philipps and it stars Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, Marc Maron, and Brett Cullen.