When I was younger, my grandmother had this godawful collection of clown figurines. She's since pared it way down, but in the early 80s it took up an entire corner of the living room. Most of it was just harmless, stupid crap.
And then there was this fucking thing.
It had a white plastic voicebox in its chest and when you squeezed it, it would utter that maniacal laugh for what seemed like an eternity. When I first saw Poltergeist, I immediately recognized the danger as soon as I saw that fucking clown on the chair at the foot of the boy's bed, because its equally homicidal cousin was leering at me from the third shelf of my grandmother's curio cabinet.
The worst part about this thing was that it didn't only laugh when you squeezed it. Sometimes it would just go off for no apparent reason. If you were in Grandma's dining room having lunch in the middle of the day, it would startle you and maybe you would laugh it off nervously. But then it went off in the middle of the night, too.
So imagine for a moment you're 7 year old Kitsa, staying overnight at Grandma's, and you've been relegated to a yellow vinyl air mattress in the living room because your asshole cousins have taken all the prime sleeping spots. The air mattress is stored under the couch and sometimes it comes out with spiders on it, which makes it a lousy draw to begin with, but spiders don't amount to shit when you have a curio cabinet full of clowns a foot away to worry about.
It's 2 am, the house is dead silent, I'm staring at the ceiling, and that gd clown starts yukking it up in the cabinet. The surge of adrenaline damn near made me puke. I mustered up every bit of courage I had, grabbed the clown off the shelf, turned it over and clawed at the Velcro flap to get to the box and turn it off. I couldn't find a switch, and the battery cover was stuck. I took the clown by the legs and started bashing him against Grandma's coffee table to get the cover off. The batteries flew out and I threw them under the couch, like the clown wasn't going to find them there or something.
Then I took the clown and headed for this closet in one of the bedrooms. The closet had a hole in the floor for a furnace pipe or some such shit to come up through. I shoved the clown facedown in the crack between the pipe and the wall until I was satisfied that he was mute and trapped. Then I went to sleep and forgot about him for two years.
So imagine you're 9 year old Kitsa, over at Grandma's, and she tells you to get something from the basement. I went down the dark stairs and around the corner toward whatever it was I was supposed to retrieve. And I happened to glance up and I was stopped in my fucking tracks by the glowing, half-melted face of a clown, peering down at me through the darkness from the crack in the ceiling. I didn't shit myself, but it was on the list of possibilities.
To this day I don't know what happened to that clown. I should have dragged it out back and burnt it to a crisp. I would have felt better if I hadn't lost track of it.