American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

Twisty is a disgraced clown who uses increasingly twisted methods to regain his position as an entertainer of children, while unaware that his actions are hurting them. He is a character in American Horror Story portrayed by John Carroll Lynch. He wears a makeshift prosthetic mask nearly as terrifying as the disfigured face beneath.


Twisty was literally dropped on his head as a baby, resulting in minor mental disability. He left Jupiter in 1943 to work as a clown with Rusty Westchester's Traveling Carnival. Jealous of his popularity, the carnival freaks (led by two cruel dwarfs) spread a lie that he was molesting children. He was no longer able to find work as a clown (though this didn't stop him from wearing the costume and makeup) and he returned to Jupiter to build novelties from garbage scrap.

Upon his return to Jupiter, he found that his alcoholic mother had died. Efforts to sell his "whirligigs" to the local toy store were met first with disinterest and then fear at his crazed desperation and rage against the rumors of his past. Despondent, he blew off his lower jaw with a shotgun in an attempted suicide. To cover up his horrible facial disfigurement, he began wearing a wide-grinned prosthetic mask. He then decided, in his own "special" way, to make the children love him again by keeping them "safe" from their parents.[2]

Personality and Appearance[]

Twisty wore a frightful grinning mask which served as a prosthesis over his missing jaw and a filthy clown suit, and carried a sack that held his juggling pins.

The clown was a bloodthirsty kidnapper and serial killer, though he did not know that his actions were wrong. His purported motivation (as he revealed to ghost Edward Mordrake) was to save children from their mean-spirited, chore-giving, candy-denying parents. Though some of his murders, like the toy store owner, were likely more personal and vengeful in nature.

Twisty strongly believed that kids did indeed still like him, and was oblivious to the fact that he actually terrified them with his ghoulish appearance. Twisty also had a hatred of carnival freaks, after the ones at the circus he once worked for ruined his career, and believed the freaks of the Cabinet of Curiosities were "stealing" the children, just like the others. As a result, he sought to "save" the kids from them, as well.

Eventually, he agreed to join Edward Mordrake’s circus, and found happiness in his afterlife.


Freak Show[]

Needing a babysitter for the children he intended to collect, he discovered Bonnie Lipton at a lakeside picnic with her boyfriend. He killed the young man and then subdued the fleeing girl. He then kidnapped Corey Bachman after murdering the boy's parents.

Twisty unmasked by Bonnie.

The two were imprisoned in an improvised cage in the back of an abandoned bus. Attempts to entertain his captive audience with a rattle and a failed balloon animal only further increased their terror, which in turn sent the clown into a destructive rage.[3]

Twisty returned to the toy store and vengefully murders the owner who had refused him in the past. Interrupted by an arriving employee, he hides among the mannequin displays and then stealthily kills the young clerk just as he discovers his boss' decapitated head.

Returning to his bus in the woods, he was approached on the road by Gloria Mott. She solicited his services for a private children's party to entertain her son. In the manor's playroom, he met Dandy, who found his silence provocative, but rudely demanded to be amused. When the spoiled rich-boy stuck his nose into Twisty's bag of tricks, the clown brained him with a juggling pin and left.

When he returned to the bus, he again tried to entertain his prisoners, this time with a wind-up robot from the toy store. When that failed, he terrorized them with the store clerk's severed head. Bonnie hit him with a secreted weapon and fled with the boy into the woods. The clown went after them and caught Corey. He returned to find Dandy had subdued the girl and he playfully chided the clown regarding the quality of his prison.[4]

On Halloween, Twisty stalked trick-or-treating children in a neighboring town and was spotted by a young girl named Jessie. He followed her family to their home. Perhaps sympathetic to her fear of clowns he abducted her cruel, candy-stealing older brother, (Master) Mike. He absconded with the teen into the woods and found Dandy, in clown costume, excited for this new potential for fun.[5]

Bonnie made another escape and Twisty caught her at the road. They were seen by Jimmy and Maggie, who followed the clown and his captive back to the bus where they were subdued from behind by Dandy.

Twisty played a toy piano while Dandy attempts to saw Maggie in half for an audience of Jimmy, Bonnie, Corey, and Mike. When Jimmy stood and knocked Dandy unconscious with his bound "lobster claws", the killer clown solicited applause. Jimmy encouraged the others to flee as Twisty put him in a stranglehold. He took him to the bus with intent to kill him but was interrupted by the arrival of Edward Mordrake.

At Mordrake's demand and with a little ghost magic, the clown told his sad story of slander, attempted suicide, kidnapping, and murder. Mordrake's demon head named the clown the one that it seeks and Twisty was subsequently stabbed and killed by Mordrake. Then his ghost was invited to join Edward's menagerie of freakish spooks. However, Twisty ends up enjoying being part of his circus.[2]

Unbeknownst to Twisty himself, however, he ended up persuading Dandy Mott to become a highly prolific serial killer.

On Halloween of 1960, Elsa Mars, performing on live TV, summons Edward Mordrake, who arrives accompanied by Twisty. Elsa asks for them to take her. As Edward is about to stab Elsa, Twisty, with his mouth now restored to normal, tells her that it will only hurt for a moment.


In 2017, Twisty's murders became so famous that he spawned his own comic book franchise, Twisty: the Clown Chronicles. It is shown that young Oz Mayfair-Richards is a big fan of the series, despite his mother being a coulrophobic. Oz also has an action figure of Twisty.

When Oz is asleep, he is awakened by his nightlight being shut off. As he gets up from bed to turn it on; he glances up and sees Twisty towering over him. Oz, who is frightened, hides under his bed. Oz screams as his mattress is lifted off by Kai, who is dressed as a clown. Oz runs to the bathroom as he is chased by Twisty and locks the door. Oz climbs into the bathtub and pulls the shower curtain to hide himself. Twisty and Kai are standing outside the door and Twisty breaks the door's glass window. Twisty finds the lock and unlocks it to gain entry. As Kai and Twisty walk over to the tub; they yank the shower curtain to the side. Oz screams for Ivy and Ally. As they come in, they wake him up and explain that he had a nightmare.


  • Twisty: "I'm a good clown."
  • Edward Mordrake (regarding Twisty)
    I have met many a craven killer, many a sniveling coward in my time, but every one of them could admit the blackness in their own hearts when the hour came.


  • The actor's call sheet listed the character as "twisted clown". The name Twisty is never used on the show until Season 7.[6]
  • Twisty shares many similarities with Pennywise, the iconic evil clown from the novel It by Stephen King, though unlike Pennywise, he is not truly evil. He also has a psychology very similar to Leatherface from the movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
  • His appearance shares a few characteristics of Lon Chaney's Flick The Clown, from 1928 silent film Laugh, Clown, Laugh. Specifically, the three tufts of hair, the white costume with a ruff and the face whitened by the greasepaint.
  • He appeared to be the main villain at first, but it turned out Dandy Mott was even more dangerous.
  • He was so scary that actors had to leave the set after takes and regularly complained of nightmares.
  • He may be based upon real life serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who regularly dressed as a clown named Pogo for children's birthday parties.
    • In season 5, Hotel, John Wayne Gacy actually debuts on the show as a guest of the Hotel Cortez, portrayed by John Carroll Lynch, who also portrayed Twisty. One scene in particular shows him dressed as a clown, brandishing a knife with which to murder a victim on Devil's Night.
  • In season 7, Cult, it is revealed that a comic book series based on Twisty the Clown has been created, titled "Twisty: The Clown Chronicles". Oz Mayfair-Richards is a fan of the series, much to the horror of his mother, who is coulrophobic.[7]