|“||I mean, really, what kind of a demonically evil scheme involves rollercoasters and cotton candy anyway?||„|
|~ Murray the Demonic Skull|
The Circus of Fear is a common theme in dark fantasy which takes the traditional realm of circuses and fair-grounds then warps them into nightmarish dystopias - often changing the pleasant theme of such places into demonic parodies that frighten rather than amuse. This also applies carnival-like/clown-like villainous groups in media and literature such with their implied names and namesake lairs of such nature, such as the Dead Moon Circus from the Sailor Moon universe and Professor Screweyes' Eccentric Circus from the animated movie We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story.
The concept of a Circus of Fear is at least as old as fair-grounds themselves and although some class them as different scenarios for simplicities sake it can be said a Circus of Fear can also be applied to amusement parks that are horrific and twisted. The Circus of Fear is often the home of the Monster Clowns.
- CarnEvil (CarnEvil) - a supernatural amusement park that features all horror-themed twists and psychopathic monsters on many familiar amusement park elements.
- HorrorLand (Goosebumps) - a dystopian theme park that does very little to hide its terrible "secret" from the public.
- WESAYSO Land (Dinosaurs) - originally designed to be an amusement park in the style of Disney this way soon devolved into a totalitarian police-state run by the Wesayso Corporation and an outright antagonistic force for the duration of the episode.
- Dark Rides (real-world) - Attractions such as the Dungeons, the Circus of Horrors and Hell Houses play on this theme, however unlike those found in fiction these attractions are perfectly safe for the public.
- Dead Moon Circus/Dark Moon Circus (Sailor Moon) - The evil alien organization of clown-like people and manic monsters from Queen Nehelenia's namesake kingdom of the Dead Moon.
- Buggy the Clown's pirate crew from One Piece.
- Professor Screweyes' Eccentric Circus (We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story) - A modern day traveling carnival run by the so-called "Master of Fear", Professor Screweyes.