Leone pointed out that fascination with Art is a lot more common than a casual reader might assume. Some very little kids, he said, have been permitted to watch his ultra-violent movies, while other tots have likely seen iconography of Art out in the world or online. Parents have pointed out to Leone when their toddler has become drawn to the scary, grinning face of Art the Clown. He said:
“[Y]ou would be surprised. I do a lot of conventions. This weekend, in particular, it was a standout. I had a ton of people coming up to me telling me how obsessed their children are with the film. And I’m talking as young as two and three-year-olds who’ve either seen these movies all the way through, have seen pieces of these movies, or have just seen the image of Art the Clown, and they’re just in love with the image of Art the Clown. So there’s something appealing with this character to children.”
A little kid’s impulses toward horror, though, is something Leone completely understands and many of us may relate to. Little kids, after all, like to be scared. We like to occasionally push our limits, glimpse something that frightens us, and tell stories about death and horror just to see what that fear feels like. Thanks to unsupervised late-night cable TV, many, many youths saw films like “Poltergeist,” “The Shining,” or “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” at far too early an age, inspiring both nightmares and a lifelong fascination with exploring the intensity of those emotions.