With the classic Stephen King sci-fi horror ‘It’ being released in cinemas this week, many long-term fans are excited at the prospect of seeing Pennywise the Killer Clown on the big screen.

But it is turning into a PR nightmare for the beleaguered World Clown Association.

Clowns used to be identified with fun, balloons and parties but since the evil clown sightings of last year, the circus characters are now associated with death, horror and the Carolina Panthers.

‘It’ is estimated to only make things worse and is expected to turn clowns into modern day witches, ripe for hunting by angry mobs with pitchforks.

“People are going to watch It and assume that if they approach a clown in the sewer, they are going to get their arm ripped off and be left to bleed out,” explained WCA president Pam Moody.

“But sewer clowns are actually really friendly and the worst you should expect is a hilarious custard pie in the face.”