If you thought clowns were creepy before seeing the trailer for Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, consider yourself warned when checking out the first look at the latest origin story for Gotham’s most iconic villain. The trailer for the upcoming film is essentially a terrifying downward spiral from a relatively normal-looking Phoenix to the cackling makeup-encrusted Joker figure we all know and fear.
It’s terrifying, and also totally awesome.
Gives the cheerful ditty “Put on a Happy Face” some new meaning, huh? Sorry, Dick Van Dyke, we’ll never unsee Joaquin Phoenix stretching his face into a smile while that song plays.
Online, the terror is pretty unanimous.
Me right now! pic.twitter.com/IiFf7iRp9q
— Bangtan Mozão 🌸 (@BangtanMozao) April 3, 2019
I just scared myself watching the new Joker teaser trailer. Good bye sleep.
— sam (@sam_ramento) April 3, 2019
— Florian R. Nejad (@1899_Cule) April 3, 2019
— Richard Newby (@RICHARDLNEWBY) April 3, 2019
— pandecoco🤩🍁 (@lutossenpai) April 3, 2019
Me watching the trailer for 10th time in 20 minutes. pic.twitter.com/nj7T62lHe8
— John (@PapaJ419) April 3, 2019
Some viewers were able to put their fear aside to take note of some important Easter eggs hidden within the horrorscape. One Twitter user astutely pointed out that the Joker can be seen writing about mental illness—something we hope the film tackles responsibly especially because it’s from the mind who brought us The Hangover series—and another pointed out how singular this trailer for a very familiar property feels.
“The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t”
— X-Geeks (@xgeeks) April 3, 2019
I’m sick of studios corporatizing directorial voices for the sake of homogenization in the superhero genre, so it’s great to see stand-alone visions like The New Mutants and Joker shine through. Those solo “elseworld” films will be the future of the genre, mark my words. pic.twitter.com/8RRNFrcSxr
— Moondog Films (@Horrorble_Film) April 3, 2019
Been saying this for years… DC characters are simply built different, there should be no expectation for DC to try and mimic Marvel’s formula to appeal to audiences that quite frankly don’t appreciate these type of films or the source material… #Joker https://t.co/CBwrvRmctW
— Defy The Authority (@DefyTheAuthorit) April 3, 2019
This isn’t about superheroes, it’s a straight up tragedy. It’s truth in how the world can be. And Joker is the right character to make this story flourish. They’ve done justice to the madness. Showing people Superhero stories don’t have to be CGI, they can realistic n true.
— Jesse Abundis (@jessenovels) April 3, 2019
#Joker looks like an intensely character-driven drama that interweaves social unrest in an increasingly deteriorating city that just happens to be focused on an iconic comic book character. Joaquin Phoenix looks emaciated and disillusioned. Yeah, I’m all the way in.
— Brandon Katz (@Great_Katzby) April 3, 2019
The origin tale also stars Robert De Niro, Atlanta‘s Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz and Brett Cullen and charts the mental deterioration of aspiring stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck as he goes from failing comic to psychopathic serial killer. The film gives depth to the character that hasn’t been seen in past iterations made famous by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, including the close relationship Fleck has with his mother and the violent encounters that exacerbate his mental illness.
Joker hits theatres in October 2019.