A few years ago, Damian Leone came out with All Hallow's Eve, a movie about a sadistic clown named Art who really just got his rocks off murdering people for no reason. But the problem was that it was a trilogy of anthology films and didn't just have him killing in a straight line for almost 90 minutes. Now we have Terrifier, which fixes that problem as surely as a master carpenter could.
Director: Damian Leone
Starring: Jenna Kanell, David Howard Thornton, Samantha Scaffidi
It's hardly the stuff of master poets. Two young women are drunk and decide to get a bite to eat before trying to drive home. But that's when they meet the guy in the black and white clown costume. He's quiet and smiles a big red bloody smile, and for some reason only the one girl is creeped out. The other one is having fun with it, and although she's supposedly drunk, she doesn't act like it. Just seems more like she's a big clown fan.
The clown kills a bunch of people in the pizza place, which you'd think would be a sort of Switzerland for killers – who doesn't love a pizza place? Fucking savages.
Then he's chasing people around in an abandoned apartment building for some reason. Did he just not have any other plans? I guess it's good that he can think on his feet. He's really quite versatile, using elaborate torture methods for some people and others he just hacks up with a knife. Once, he rides around a little tricycle like the doll from the Saw movies, which I guess is good, we all need cardio. I wonder if he just has some kind of miniature roulette wheel he uses to decide how he'll kill someone. There's certainly no character development, no motive, which is surely an essential thing for an 80s style slasher. I really think they missed an opportunity here to explore the true depth and morality of a killer like Art the Clown, to really dig into his psyche and explain his humanity, that of a man who dresses up in a clown costume and kills people.
Instead, we get a scene where he literally saws a woman in half. Oh well. Different strokes. If you could tell an artist how to create, then it wouldn't really be their art, after all.
The movie chugs along and mostly becomes a fairly cliché slasher. Every trope is used, and by “every trope,” I mean the movie constantly does that thing where they have a character who could help the main girl, but he can't hear for whatever reason, and then the clown kills him from behind as the main girl screams. They do that a lot.
The only real change is the one scene where this crazy delusional homeless woman, who's been walking around with a baby doll all movie, confronts Art and acts like a mother, cradling his head and soothing him. It almost seems like it's going somewhere – but he kills her, as we find out a few scenes later, and as far as I can see she had no positive effect on him. Boy, what a hard sell. Truly stubborn, like a lot of guys his age. It's the tragedy of what society does to men, rendering them incapable of showing feeling except for cutting up horrified murder victims.
At one point he even pulls out a gun and shoots someone. That's just funny to me. This guy with all his fucking knives and weirdo torture methods, and he just has a gun for backup. I hope the NRA is ready to defend this guy's 2nd Amendment rights. I wonder what it was like when he went in to buy the thing. Did he show up in full clown makeup and pull out his wallet and pay with a Visa card? What did the background check come back like? I mean, I'm sure every way he got that gun was totally legit. There's never any issue with that in this country.
Pretty much the rest of it is fairly stock. It ain't terrible, but at the same time, there's just so little imagination to it. It's all just a lot of gory kills like you've already seen. Oh yeah, except the one surviving girl, the sister of one of the other girls who died – try and keep up with me for this Shakespearean plot – gets her face eaten. This ties back to the beginning of the film, in which a snobby newscaster is interviewing her with her face all mangled, and then the disfigured girl tears out the newscaster's eyes. I gotta say this doesn't make much sense. Is the movie trying to say that having a disfigured face and being chased around by a clown for a few hours makes YOU a killer? How offensive to that extremely niche community.
Or maybe she was always a killer and that was a secret twist that even the movie couldn't be bothered showing us! OOOOOooooOOOOOOOooooh! Scary!
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