With their fanciful costumes and comedic personas, clowns seem like the epitome of joy. But these figures of fun also provoke a horrified response and have even inspired their own phobia. Although it isn't officially recognised in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5 categorisation of disorders, coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, is one of the most commonly known phobias in the public perception. It's easy to see why clowns are sometimes viewed as icons of fear. Permanent, frozen smiles and uncanny, mask-like makeup inspire nightmarish visions.