I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen genre films hyped as introducing the “Next Horror Icon”. Of course, said “icon” is usually never heard of again. With TERRIFIER writer/director Damien Leone gives us Art the Clown who already has a few appearances under his belt. He made his debut in a 2008 short film THE NINTH CIRCLE and then another short in 2011 also called TERRIFIER but unrelated except for Art. In 2013 he was the subject of the anthology film ALL HALLOWS EVE. But is he ready for the spotlight and deserving of Icon status?
A retro film throwing back to the slashers of the 80s TERRIFIER‘s simplistic plot is adequately summed up by its official synopsis “A maniacal clown named Art, terrorizes three young women on Halloween night and everyone else who stands in his way.” and seriously that’s about it. There’s a bloody prologue involving a disfigured victim of Art being interviewed on TV but after that its all stalking and frequently random killings. All sounds very 80’s doesn’t it?
What this doesn’t tell you is just how brutal and nasty TERRIFIER can get. Almost nothing gets to me anymore, but there’s one kill in this film that made me nauseous. It’s that nasty, and the effects are that good. And that is what the film is about. TERRIFIER wants to be a new MANIAC or THE MUTILATOR while introducing the next Freddy Krueger. It’s one long rampage of synth scored jump scares and gore with no deeper meaning or redeeming value. And when done this well that’s a damn good thing.
Art himself is played by David Howard Thornton, replacing the actor under the greasepaint in the previous films, Mike Giannelli. He does a great job of silently portraying menace, using mime as a clown would to express himself. Art isn’t given a backstory, though a scene at the end suggests he’s a supernatural being of some sort. This might have been covered in one of the earlier films, but I haven’t seen them and it isn’t touched on in this film.
I’m still not quite ready to call Art an Icon, or even put him alongside Gurdy the Clown from 100 TEARS but TERRIFIER is definitely a promising step into the limelight, for Art and Damien.
Epic Pictures will release TERRIFIER on the Dread Central Presents label. With theatrical previews in select US. cities starting on March 15th and to VOD on March 27th.