Over the last ten years, writer and director Damien Leone seems to build his own horror icon in the form of Art the Clown, originally played by Mike Giannelli. Art made his debut in a 2008 short called The 9th Circle, silently creeping out a young woman as she sat alone in a train station, then returned in the 2011 short Terrifier, a different young woman witnessed him committing a brutal decapitation at a gas station, he then chases after her. I recalled seeing both of these movies at the now defunct Terror Film Festival, it thrills the gore hounds in the audience. Leone then made an anthology film All Hallows’ Eve (2013) including quick reference to Art gleefully tormenting a babysitter in a wrap-around segment. Therefore no surprise Art the Clown is back again, once more in his own feature film, entitled Terrifier but tells a whole new story based around the homicidal clown and in honor of every splatterpunk carving wall to wall bloody action.
Art the Clown has a recognizable look, and a pinch of personality played up by pantomiming, all thanks to the talented work of David Howard Thornton for an impressively adept physical performance, simultaneously brutal an actor beneath Art’s hideous makeup. It’s Halloween night, Art is strolling for new people to play with in the most disastrous manner possible, there’s not much to the storyline or for that matter a plot. It surrounds two friends Tara (Jenna Kanell (The Bye Bye Man ) and Dawn (Catherine Corcoran (Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 ) find themselves with car trouble and crossing paths with Art, instead of staying on the streets, they entered into his mousetrap of horrors in the basement of an apartment building. Quickly anyone coming in front Art and his cheerful maddening playing finds knives and other weapons sawing, teaching and chopping through their limbs, spurting blood everywhere. However, not everyone gets whacked, a crazy homeless woman (Pooya Mohseni (Bloody Slumber Party )) who thinks her doll is her child, likely suffering from a form of bi-polar meets postpartum depression, gives a convincingly strange performance. In response to an emergency call, Kanell’s sister Victoria (Samantha Scaffidi (Demon Hole ) arrives to the bloodshed and insanity of Art’s circus performance. All the turmoil, slashing and hacking occurs for 82-minutes of focused primarily on one location, a simple story filled with gory throwback of slasher fun.
A key aspect that Leone, accomplish herein, no background of who or what Art is, clearly an unstoppable clown bred with murderous intentions, no reason for them, the terror of him to switch from clownish amusements to mesmerizing sinister actions generates a pulsing torment to his victims’ final moments. All of it providing violence and carnage on the screen, actually images filmed all clear embrace of the exploitation subgenre of the 1970s, and Thorten is very good at riding a child’s tricycle than Billy the puppet from Saw fame.
Composer Paul Wiley (Last Girl ) helped enhance the film with flair for 80s horror and pushing truly old school to give homage to the 70s meanwhile cinematographer George Steuber worked tirelessly to make the film appear as something from the grimy underground VHS filth almost appearing in the same bin as Maniac (1980). One can’t overlook the creative Bone Tomahawk (2015) wishbone sequence, except this time there’s more brutality and gore, the blood splattering an absolute sheer delight, Damien also served as special effects guru on the project, of a tight budget flick. The new horror creation, “Art the Clown” led to a collectors paradise, from record player slip mats, a vinyl releasing of the score, coffee mugs, and future Trick or Treat Studios mask, all of leading to fans devouring the Blu-rays, with Leone and Thornton making horror convention tours and winning plenty of awards.
I thoroughly enjoyed this version of Terrifier, and being one of the few who first saw the creation Art on the screen, I knew what to expect, if Art met Pennywise, Art wins, he enjoys slashing and slaughtering his victims to spectacular proportions. If you suffer from coulrophobia even mildly, then avoid quickly because Art wants to play with his victims.
IMDb Rating: 5.6/10
Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10
By the way, do you wish to see the Terrifier short film from 2011, its NSFW: