The revival of 2017’s version of Pennywise the Clown ain’t got a damn thing on Art the Clown- the sadistic, completely silent, vicious clown from the recent VOD release of Terrifier. With his jet black-painted mouth, menacing grin filled with some serious dental issues, tiny black top hat, black and white colored clown suit (complete with blood spatter) and black trash bag (likely filled with varying degrees of body parts) draping over his shoulder, Art the Clown (calculably portrayed by David Howard Thornton) may be one of the most terrifying movie clowns in horror history, as he reprises his murderous role from his first appearance in the 2013 horror anthology film All Hallows Eve.
Terrifier has a perfectly retro ’80s slasher feel to it, while also making sure to include some nods to modern-day technology that will not bode well for Art the Clown’s victims. We are initially introduced to two college-aged girls who are stumbling their way home from a night of Halloween drinking. The two girls bump into (what they think) is just some bizarre stranger dressed up in a freaky clown costume for Halloween, and pretty soon, nobody that stands in Art the Clown’s way is safe from dying an absolutely miserable death.
Very quickly (like from 0 to 60) we learn that Terrifier isn’t here to clown around (pun intended). Art, who remains completely silent throughout the entire movie, clearly believes in switching up his killing styles– so not only does the audience never see the same kill twice, but he also manages to outdo himself every. single. time. From gunshots, to stabbing eyes out, to lighting a fire within a gutted-out corpse, Art does it all- without the slightest hint of mercy or remorse. And you gotta hand it to him- he’s creative! He puts the tired Jason and Freddy-types to shame, in my opinion. And ruthless. One particular scene in which a character is sliced in half (similar to that familiar magician’s trick we’ve all seen in films and television before) is one of the most creative, goriest, cringeworthy kills I’ve ever witnessed in a movie. Terrifier reaches horror levels that many other films would not even dream about. I felt like I was getting mentally assaulted (in a fun way, of course) as each kill scene seemed to take my breath away even more than the previous.
I quite literally gasped at the shock of one particular scene, in which a character attempts to put Art the clown in his place one and for all….and fails miserably. Terrifier manages to throw us refreshing curveballs, as we try to guess which direction the film will go towards next (based on our knowledge and boredom of other predictable slasher flicks) only to be pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns at every scene’s corner.
Art the clown proves himself to be so direly loathsome, that you simultaneously find yourself rooting for him, as he is clearly much more intelligent, experimental, and slicker than those who mistakenly stand in his way. Credit where credit is due. He also gets unnerved at social media posts and cell phones in general (can you blame him?) as he bashes phones and takes cryptic selfies with his butchered victims along the way. Terrifier almost points to its knowing audience and says, “You as a society all are so dumb that you deserve to have this shit happen to you,” and the film does a great job of being just as darkly, sardonically humorous as it is horrifying.
Without spoiling anything, Art the clown at one point reveals himself to be a sort of Marilyn Manson-inspired figure…think MM’s Mechanical Animals album cover…and the images that you are subjected to will not be any that you will soon forget. That “special” (??) scene alone will have you tossing and turning at night, longing for the sweet release of daylight to return.
If I’m being honest, sure, Terrifier has its share of a few problems. 1) Almost nobody (except for Thornton) can act a damn in this movie, which only makes you appreciate Art the Clown’s performance and character arc so much. 2) One woman portraying a seemingly nonsensical homeless lady has unrealistic, perfectly carved eyebrows- straight out of the likes of a drag queen goddess. I’m sorry, but nobody looks that good when they’re homeless and don’t even own a mirror. 3) The ending is (lovingly) Michael Myers-inspired, but kinda left me wondering how exactly Art pulled his final stunt that he pulls within the last few minutes of the film’s conclusion.
But alas, Terrifier is most definitely worth watching. It had me guessing (and surprising me) as to what would happen next…the kills and practical effects are some of the most under-your-skin film features I’ve seen in a while…and, most importantly, Art the Clown has more balls than many other horror villains, and will most certainly live in your thoughts and nightmares, long after first viewing him.
Prepare to have your coulrophobia heightened and rent Terrifier now on Fandango.com for $5.