Imagine for a moment that on All Hallow’s Eve there lurks a madman who is the model amalgamation of some of Horror’s most iconic slashers and villains. He possesses the entertaining personality of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees’ inconceivable invincibility, Michael Myers’ menacing muteness and obsession with Halloween, the abhorrent appetite and brutality of Leatherface, Pennywise’s foolish fashion sense and fondness for makeup, Chucky’s creative kill methods packed with panache, Jigsaw’s sadistic love of twisted games, and even Buffalo Bill’s proclivity for perverse performances. His name is Art the Clown, and once viewers check him out in Terrifier, they are going to be begging for this maniacal mime to give rise to his very own franchise.
Terrifier is the ’80s inspired Indie Horror/Slasher film that is set to release in select US theaters on March 15th. Also set for release on VOD and Blu-ray as of Tuesday, March 27th via DreadPresents, Terrifier was written and directed by the deft Damien Leone (All Hallow’s Eve 2013, Frankenstein vs. The Mummy 2015), and was made in conjunction with Dark Age Cinema.
Staying true to the classic Slasher formula, this movie employed a seemingly adequate cast filled with plenty of potential victims. It really only focused on a few characters though, which included those played by Actress/Writer Jenna Kanell (The Bye Bye Man 2017, Max and the Monster 2017) – who played Tara; Catherine Corcoran (Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 2013, Chuck 2016) – who played Dawn; Samantha Scaffidi (Demon Hole 2017, The Grind TV 1.0 series 2016) – who played Victoria; and David Howard Thornton (Gotham series 2017, Nightwing: Escalation series) – who played Art the Clown.
When it comes to a plot, Slasher movies are intentionally void of any real storyline because the violence is meant to be the crux of the film. In a nutshell though, this movie was about a couple of inebriated friends out on Halloween night, trying to make it home after a party. While arguing over who is going to drive, they catch the attention of a creepy clown that could turn Pennywise into a coulrophobe. When they finally realize they are too drunk to drive, they make their way to a pizzeria to get something to eat and try and sober up. Art the Clown (Thornton) then arrives and starts up with his sinister shenanigans, but after turning the bathroom into his own personal canvas with excrement making up his medium, he is thrown out onto the street along with his trash bag full of torture toys.
Once the girls feel like it is safe to go, they leave and head back to their car. Upon arriving back at the car, they notice that one of the tires has been flattened, and with no spare to change it, Tara (Kanell) is forced to use Dawn’s (Corcoran) phone to call her sister Veronica (Scaffidi) to come and pick them up. The wait is long and brutal, but not nearly as much so as when Dawn enters this creepy, rundown building to try and use a bathroom, and gets she and Tara locked in a real house of horrors with the maniacal mime that uses mutilation and murder to amuse himself.
The ’80s were such a celebrated and momentous time for Horror, what with the introduction of latex and a better quality of special effects materials; the development and progression of the Slasher film; and the unveiling of such intense violence and gore that left Horror fans disturbed, shocked, and begging for more. It was the decade of excessive body horror, which typically came in the form of decapitations, amputations, total body evisceration, explosions, loads of blood, and graphic deaths.
The true beauty of the ’80s Slasher was that it was never revered for its plot, performances, dialogue, or production value, but rather appreciated for its excess of senseless violence, gruesome kills, realistic gore, special effects, killer score, and exciting intensity.
This film perfectly embodied all of those elements that made ’80s Horror so great, meanwhile modernizing certain aspects of it to ensure its continued success in today’s ever-evolving world. The gore and special effects maintained that ’80s inspiration, but was updated for believability, so as to induce that visceral movie going experience Horror fans crave. The kills were not only creative, but were gut-wrenching and difficult to watch at times. Art the Clown is easily one of the most sadistic and twisted slashers ever imagined. He is a full-on wackadoodle that is ten gallons of crazy in a five gallon bucket.
In addition to those commendable qualities, the pacing was also very effective and does well to hold viewers’ interest, and the cinematography utilized that gritty film style that was also very indicative of the era from which it was influenced. The jump scares and suspenseful score will keep viewers on the edge of their seats, and the presentation of classic Horror clichés make for a most satisfyingly nostalgic viewing experience.
With that in mind, Terrifier was the ultimate love letter to ’80s Slashers, incorporating qualities of both the past and present, which will allow it to appeal to viewers who grew up watching films like 1978’s Halloween, 1980’s Friday the 13th, and 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, as well as those growing up with today’s more contemporary Horror films like those within the Saw franchise. This is why CrypticRock gives Terrifier 4 out of 5 stars.