In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you’ll know that Joker has hit screens and is smashing box office records left, right and center. The movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix, details how an ordinary, albeit downtrodden man named Arthur Fleck becomes increasingly disillusioned with life in Gotham City and turns to crime in order to vent his frustrations at the world’s failure to help people like him.
By the end, he’s the Joker by looks, but his mannerisms and crimes throughout the whole movie mean he’s the Prince of Crime pretty much throughout. We now take a look at 10 times he was absolutely terrifying in the grittiest blockbuster of the year.
10 His First Laugh
Arthur Fleck is picked on by Gotham City residents and he’s widely considered a freak due to a condition that causes him to laugh uncontrollably in even the most awkward of circumstances. And the first time we see this for ourselves is when he’s talking to his therapist, where he chuckles non-stop for a good minute while she sits there in silence.
The high-pitched nature of the laugh, coupled with the fact it belongs to a person we know will one day commit some heinous crimes, makes it a scary opening sequence. Audiences in theatres have been heard gasping in fear and shock at the sound of it and it’s easy to see while some people within Gotham may consider Arthur to be a little...odd.
9 His Vision
Arthur doesn’t have a father, with the backstory surrounding that deliberately vague at the start of the movie. Yet he ends up idolising comedian and talk show host Murray Franklin, with both Fleck and his mother, Penny, tuning in to watch him address the residents of Gotham every night.
It’s during one of the scenes where the duo watch on where Arthur creates a vision in his mind of Murray admiring him and expressing a desire for him to be his son. It’s disturbing because it shows how Arthur’s lines of reality and fiction often cross - paving the way for more hallucinations and visions to come, as well as his descent into madness.
8 Dancing In The Toilet
Arthur Fleck is a good guy for the most part but things start to change when he murders three Wall Street guys on the Gotham City subway. The trio had previously been beating him to a pulp having taken issue with his laughter, but he leaves all three dead by shooting them with a gun given to him by co-worker Randall.
While it’s a rather harrowing scene (particularly when he chases down the third member of the gang and puts multiple bullets in him) what’s equally eery is how he reacts. Wearing his clown make-up Arthur dances in a public toilet, soaking in the moment and showing audiences that he’s already got a taste for bloodshed.
7 Meeting Bruce Wayne
When he is told by his mother that he’s the son of Thomas Wayne, Arthur Fleck takes her words to heart and immediately takes a trip into the city to visit Wayne Manor. And before he gets a chance to speak to Thomas, he meets young Bruce Wayne while the child is playing in the lawns that surround the house.
Arthur’s behavior is creepy as hell, though, when it comes to the young boy. He performs a couple of innocent-enough magic tricks but oversteps the line by putting his fingers to Bruce’s face and twisting his features into a smile. Fortunately, his disturbing antics are cut short as Alfred Pennyworth comes to the rescue.
6 Murdering His Mother
Crushed that he has been lied to, or so he thinks, Arthur Fleck doesn’t think twice about murdering his mother. She’s hospitalised due to a stroke she suffers when GCPD officers pay her a visit to ask questions about the deaths of the three Wall Street guys earlier in the blockbuster and, therefore, is unable to prevent him from suffocating her.
What’s particularly harrowing about this scene is Arthur’s facial expressions. He doesn’t flinch a muscle when he places a pillow over his mother’s face and, after the deed is done, stares chillingly out of the window with a worrying expression of peace. Only the Joker could kill someone so callously and yet seem so calm about it.
5 Breaking into Sophie’s Apartment
Arthur Fleck’s hallucination’s increase as the movie goes on and he begins to imagine himself dating Zazie Beetz’s Sophie Dumond, his friendly neighbor who he meets in a lift early into the blockbuster. However, when his mother dies, he decides to forget his images of the duo being romantically involved and pays a trip to her apartment.
Everything about this scene is terrifying. Arthur cuts a silent figure throughout besides when he utters the famous Joker words about having a bad day. His expression is motionless as he proceeds to mine a gunshot to the head and, while it’s unknown what happened to Sophie, we imagine her and her daughter died at his hands.
4 Killing Randall
Arthur Fleck becomes more and more Joker as things escalate around him - literally. Shortly before former co-workers Randall and David visit him in his apartment he decides to dye his hair green and paint his face white - even licking the brush as he does so.
He then proceeds to commit one of the most brutal acts of violence in the whole movie, stabbing Randall in the eye with a pair of scissors before slamming his head repeatedly against a wall. Audiences then expect him to kill David but he doesn’t, instead allowing the dwarf to go free and even opening the door for him.
3 Walking Past The Cops
Slowly but surely, the GCPD begin to ask questions about Arthur Fleck and attempt to apprehend him when he’s spotted dancing at the bottom of a set of stairs in full Joker attire. However, he races away (even surviving a collision with a car) and even gets away on the subway, too, smiling as the officers are beaten up by a mob wearing clown masks.
And then there’s the money shot: Arthur strutting in slow motion, a cigarette to his mouth, with a look of sheer evil on his face. Joaquin Phoenix’s character is at his terrifying best in this scene and it leaves people pondering what villainous crime he’ll commit in the scenes that follow.
2 Smiling At The Crowd
Joker, as he introduces himself to fans of the Murray Franklin show as, is absolutely insane during the final sequences of the movie. He looks destined to spend a stint in either Blackgate or Arkham after he shoots Murray in the head on live television but he’s broken out by admirers who then parade him on a GCPD car for the world to see.
Arthur stands to his feet and initially looks hesitant but any doubts he has soon fade. Joker wipes his blood into a smile on his face and puts his hands out to his adoring crowd, celebrated as the hero and looking the most-villainous he’s ever looked in the process.
1 ‘You Wouldn’t Get It’
You think Joker is over when the scene cuts to black. However, once that happens, we get a glimpse of Arthur Fleck in what appears to be Arkham. He’s no longer got the green hair and clown make-up on his face yet is still laughing, this time at the fact that Bruce Wayne will grow up without his parents in his life.
This is seriously terrifying. It means either that Arthur is so insane he imagined the whole thing - which is a concerning thought - or that he’s now so evil he has no empathy left whatsoever. Whatever you choose to believe it doesn’t detract from the fact that he’s one person you’d never want to cross.