A maniacal clown named Art, terrorizes three young women on Halloween night and everyone else who stands in his way.
Finally... !$&*%! FINALLY!
Being a horror fan can be exhausting. It’s a genre that demands an open mind, and a consistent level of patience. Daily, weekly - hell - even sometimes monthly, you can hit that dreaded rut horror fans know all too well. Nothing is more frustrating than blind buying a Blu-Ray, renting VOD, queuing a handful of promising looking titles on Netflix, only to be left sunken into the couch, deflated with disappointment while your brain begins to melt, most of it slowly oozing out your ears.
One of the biggest offending sub-genres is the 80’s throwback slasher. And while films like Hatchet, Headless, and Behind the Mask get it right, we still get bombarded with duds far too often. My biggest gripe with these movies is that they too often stray from the path they're expected to travel down, usually destroying what makes them so special to fans. If you aren’t going to give us characters we care deeply for, or can relate to (which are few and far between nowadays), just give us a bloody good time filled with crazy off-the-wall kills, and lead it with a solid villain worthy of the slasher sub-genre.
Thankfully, in the case of Terrifier, I can say without question, ART the clown is that villain.
The movie wastes absolutely no time cutting to the chase, and right off the bat, we are thrown into a precarious situation; two drunk women attempting to get home on Halloween Night are stalked from a distance by a sort of "Koko the clown" from hell. Hoping it'll soak up some of the alcohol, they stop to get some greasy diner food and are quickly confronted by the deranged clown, Art. From here on out the movie kicks into high gear, moves at a brisk and bloody pace, and doesn't cease one bit until the credits roll. Gone are the pointless drawn out dialogue scenes that do nothing to push the narrative, gone are boring unnecessary backstories. Terrifier is a bare-bones straightforward slasher that cuts right to the chase, gets right to the point, and does so while assassinating the senses. Needless to say, I loved every blood soaked moment.
Speaking of, one in particular features what's got to be - without question - horror movie kill of the year; I honestly don’t see anything topping it. Practical effects fans and gore hounds alike will be especially pleased. Folks, this is exactly how you do low budget throwback horror. I personally can’t wait to see Art return, stabbing and slicing through a new group of victims. Let the countdown to next Halloween begin!
Oh, how I’ve been waiting for this film. Much like a kid in a cross country car ride, "IS IT OUT YET? IS IT OUT YET? IS IT OUT YET?". And finally, it does come out, with a big old gory bang. With Damien Leone's previous film All Hallows' Eve, I wasn't all that impressed, but I’ve always had a big horror crush on Art the Clown, still one of the most terrifying villains I have ever seen - a creation of Leone's, brought to life in Terrifier by David Howard Thornton.
Thornton - who plays the creepy clown - demonstrates fantastic body and facial language, and plays the part perfectly. He’ll make you laugh and cry all at once, definitely the best performance in the film. Outside of his work, the rest of the supporting cast was mostly...average. Nothing too bad, but nothing amazing either. Most of them were a little boring to follow, and I would’ve like to have had characters who were more interesting and easy to connect to.
The music on the other hand, was really good, and kept me on the edge of my seat. I also like how the film took some twists and turns, so it wasn't too predictable. A major highlight was the violence. There were some very creative kills, and the special effects work in this film are absolutely scrumptious. If you like gore and Art the Clown, like me, be sure not to miss out on this bad boy!
First, I have to say that I really love Art the clowns make up, it is a very cool look and I like how they begin the film with him putting it on, getting ready for mayhem. The flow and the pacing of the story are very good, and my favorite character besides Art, was Tara, so I immediately got invested in her character and found myself rooting for her. As Jasmine and David mentioned, the gore scenes were very creative! My favorite has to be the one in which a victim is tied and hung upside down, and then, sawed completely in half. From the moment I saw the setup I knew exactly what was coming, and it (along with plenty of other gruesome moments) definitely delivered on my expectations. The story also took an interesting turn towards the end which I appreciated, and without giving away the ending, I think that it wrapped up rather nicely. I liked Terrifier so much that I now have Art the clown as my background picture on my phone.
Terrifier left me shook.
Maybe I'm getting soft as I grow older, but there were countless moments it seemed, where I had to fight every impulse to avert my eyes from the carnage happening on screen. Human-wish-bone inspired violence (think somewhere along the lines of that scene in Bone Tomahawk), multiple scenes involving execution style gun fire - usually to the face, decapitations, bludgeoning, extended length mutilation, stabbings (again, to the face), cannibalism, car violence, self inflicted violence, and everything in-between.
Right, right. None of the above is anything you haven't seen at some point somewhere in a horror film. I get it. But trust me when I say this is some of the most convincing practical effects work you'll ever see, in any horror film, regardless of budget. I'm not sure what hellish voodoo Damien Leone is drawing upon to bring this level of polish and believability to the craft (word around the campfire is that he really is just that good), but it elevates Terrifier as a whole, specifically allowing for the film's actual "terrifier", the pale faced psychopath - Art - to come across as the excessively sadistic mute of a clown that he is. Picky big-headed Pennywise this ain't; Art the Clown is, in my humble opinion, the true face of painted fear for the new millennium, and I can't give enough praise to David Howard Thornton for his performance in the role.
It's also something of a miracle that a film this unabashedly violent even exists at all. In a time where even R-rated horror films seem to release without their balls in tact, it's "nice" to see something put the bite back into the genre. Terrifier in some ways is reminiscent of the French and American extreme cinema being released back in the early 2000s - High Tension, Saw, Martyrs, Inside, and Hostel to name a few. Though there's no question, Leone's film ups the ante significantly.
While it isn't going to win any awards for best screenplay, it also never pretends to be anything more than what's seen on the surface. Make no mistake, you're watching this because you're all in for a no-holds-barred, super-violent, grindhouse styled practical effects tour-de-force bonanza, and in that regard, delivers in spades.