Local horror filmmakers Joe Davison and Marcus Koch have a warning for those losing sleep over the scary clown sightings sweeping the nation.
"Gurdy is back," Davison says with a menacing cackle.
Gurdy was the murderous clown from the duo's 2007 slasher flick 100 Tears. He racked up a higher body count with his meat cleaver in the opening scene than villain Pamela Voorhees did in the entire first Friday the 13th — by a score of 15 to 9.
Online forums are abuzz with reports of his return. A sequel, 200 Tears, is expected to begin filming in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in early 2017.
The low-budget Gurdy gore fest, at times comedic, has become a worldwide underground hit among hard-core aficionados of the genre.
Some fans have created their own Gurdy comic books and Halloween costumes. Others have Gurdy tattoos. Horror movie websites rank Gurdy as a top 10 scary clown, and the filmmakers don't mind a bit.
"When people think scary clown, we want a vision of Gurdy to pop into their head — severing their head," quipped Davison, the writer and director of 200 Tears.
One 200 Tears scene promises a clown parade, with revelers marching through St. Petersburg dressed to elicit nightmares.
"Who doesn't like a good scary clown parade?" said the St. Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner, Tony Armer. "I think it will be fun."
The original, 100 Tears, followed two tabloid journalists on a hunt to prove Gurdy was more than an urban legend.
Over the course of the 90-minute, NC-17 rated film, Gurdy cut off heads, severed limbs, gouged eyeballs and was reunited with a long-lost daughter whom he persuaded to join the family trade.
As in any horror franchise, evil is never easily vanquished.
Without giving away the latest plot, Davison and Koch say the father-daughter duo is nastier than ever. Koch wants to up the total body count and introduce carnage he calls the "sushi roll."
Alex Vincent, who as a child starred in Child's Play as the owner of the evil Chucky doll, plays a major role in 200 Tears.
So does Helene Udy. Best known as Myra Bing from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, she is remembered by horror fans as Sylvia, who in My Bloody Valentine dies via impalement on a changing room shower head.
Jack Amos is back as Gurdy and scream queen Raine Brown reprises her role as his daughter, whom Davison describes as a cross between "Joker and Harley Quinn, if she's been hit by a bus."
No, said Koch, they are not behind the rash of scary clown appearances. Frightening unwitting victims is childish, he said.
Nor is the sequel a response to this craze. Rather, it's due to fans clamoring for more.
"It blows my mind that people rank Gurdy as one of their top 10 killer clowns," Koch said. "Pennywise from It will always be number one, but that we're even on a list with him is crazy."
So to anyone locally seeking the spotlight by dressing as a scary clown, step aside.
"Gurdy is the king of the clowns around here," Davison said. "And maybe the king of crazy."
Contact Paul Guzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3394. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.