USA, 2016, HORROR
Director: Damien Leone
Cast: Jenna Kanell (Tara Heyes), Samantha Scaffidi (Victoria Heyes), David Howard Thornton (Art the Clown)
Art the Clown is back, the killer clown maniac from All Hallow’s Eve, and the short film Terrifier (both directed by Damien Leone) is back for a new installment. This time with the Terrifier movie that was released directly on DVD and video.
The film is inspired by the Slasher cinema and the excess of the eighties, which is clear from the first scenes and especially the aesthetics of the opening credits. There is a room that seems to be abandoned except for an old television on the floor. The small screen could make us believe that what will start will be a Saw-type movie, especially when the image seems to be unable to pass through the white noise of the transmission. However, what it shows us is a talk-show interview where the only survivor of last year’s massacre tells her story. A disfigured woman who seems to be taken from the most brutal episodes of Tales From the Crypt. During the interview, the girl assures that Art the Clown is dead. Furious, Art kicks the screen to pieces and begins to prepare to go out to find some fun.
It is Halloween night and Dawn and Tara have just left a party, as Dawn has had too much to drink and cannot drive they decide to go get something to eat to lower their drunkenness a bit, while they discuss a strange clown dressed in black and white. he observes and immediately notices Tara. Shortly after the girls find themselves in a pizzeria and Art the Clown enters there too after a little game with the girls, which at least Dawn finds the most fun, almost immediately the owner of the pizzeria kicks off. Art about something «sick he was doing in the bathroom.» From that moment on the film will become a festival of gore and excesses where a murderous clown chases and stalks 3 girls while he assassinates everyone who crosses his path.
The story is simple. Yes, perhaps too simple. But on the other hand, this simplicity works to the benefit of the film. Contributes to increasing the mystery, and leaves the viewer with the desire to have more of Art, about which we really know nothing. On the other hand, we also knew practically nothing about Michael Myers with the first Halloween movie and that did not prevent the public from being instantly captivated by the silent killer. Perhaps that is the only aspect that is lacking in the film, an antagonist that can rise to the level of the murderer and that helps us understand what we are facing, even if he is defeated, as happened with Dr. Loomis over and over again. time in the Halloween franchise.
Undoubtedly the strongest point of the film is Art the clown, the main character,. But above all, the superb performance by David H. Thornton (who plays the role for the first time replacing Mike Gianelli). It must be clarified that Art is not a clown, contrary to what his name may indicate, he is a Harlequin. The difference seems to be minimal but it is transcendental, the clown as we all know relies on jokes, the color of his costume and » the antics «like the flower that throws water or the pat on the face, the Harlequin, on the other hand, develops its routine in complete silence, based on mimicry, the use of artifacts and body language, and it is at this point where the work of Thornton is wonderful.
We often find actors whose character or films are too big, this case is the opposite. If we could say that Thornton’s film is if not small maybe a little tight. It turns out terrifying at all times, even when Art tries to be likable and funny, definitely one of the most memorable performances in the horror of recent years.
80s and 90s homage.
The movie is full of references to the most iconic works of the eighties and nineties. However, these references do not feel like a robbery or a copy at any point. On contrary, all those references feel like a great tribute to the cinema that shaped the director and that surely influenced him throughout his development as an artist. It wants to transport the viewer to an era in which cinema – especially horror – was more daring. Where horror was more concerned with communicating with the viewer and the creators to express what they wanted to express and not so much for the box office.
The special effects and makeup also deserve a special mention. Although Leone was not in charge of them on this occasion (he had taken care of them in his previous films) it shows his expertise at work. He achieves the planned impact on everything. At the moment, although some scenes can be described as excessive, I do not doubt that they turn out that way because the director planned it like that.
Terrifier will divide audiences.
Terrifier is a movie that will not leave horror viewers indifferent. Some will probably hate it, but I am sure that the majority will enjoy it. Not to mention all those who will spend a few nights without sleep peacefully. For my part I can say that I have enjoyed it a lot. It is daring, bloody and does not care what the critics may think. Within its eighties style and its great references to the past, it is a film that is fresh and full of energy. It forces us to look to the past to remember what we have stopped doing within horror cinema and what we need to do again if we want this genre that many of us adore (at least I do) to continue to grow and return to its better days.
Terrifier has had a great reception among the public of terror since the day of its launch and this leads us to think that there will be much more of Art the clown in the future. At least its director and its protagonist have plans for it.