Terrifier: A Truly Terrifying Time 

Photo courtesy of bleeding cool.com.

Photo courtesy of bleeding cool.com.

Well everyone, it’s almost Halloween, the one time of year everyone is entitled to a good scare.

Since horror movies get extremely popular around this time of year, there are plenty of movies to choose from to get that good scare. Since these movies, like Halloween and Poltergeist, are already extremely popular and thus extremely easy to find during this time.

However, I know that some of you may have already seen these movies, and may be looking for something else.

Something different. Something scary. Something a little more extreme.

If you want any of these things, then you might be a good audience for today’s film, the appropriately named Terrifier. 

Terrifier is a 2016 slasher movie by director Damien Leone, based on the segment of the same name from Leone’s previous horror anthology movie All Hallows’ Eve. Terrifier’s plot is as basic as it gets.

It’s about a maniac named Art The Clown who stalks two college students, Tara and Dawn, after a run in with them, and then goes on to kill everyone he meets in gruesome ways. Gruesome being the key word here, as Terrifier is a gruesome, vular movie that lives up to its title. 

The first thing most viewers will notice, and the first thing more reviewers have praised, would without question be David Howard Thorton’s portrayal of this movies mass murder, Art The Clown.

Thorton is exemplary in this movie. His portrayal of Art The Clown is terrifying and unbelievably creepy, from his actions to his appearance. His movements are exaggerated in a way that both seem utterly inhuman and yet convey a sense of sadism Art displays constantly.

Every second he is on screen, he is supremely unsettling in spite of never saying a word. Adding to this is the little bits of character we see in Art. During some of the filler scenes, he seems to have a cocky, sarcastic personality. During the kills, he shows his sadism in high gear. It all adds up to a character destined to be a new horror icon. 

Another thing that has been almost universally praised about Terrifier is how it creates suspense and tension.

Leone did an excellent job making the kills and chase sequences of this movie truly frightening to watch. A standout would be early in the film when Tara is running from Art. Seeing Art peer around boxes with Tara only a few feet away is heart pounding.

The rest of the movie follows suit, with Art frequently popping out of dark areas to attack and maim people, creating an appropriately terrifying atmosphere. It gives off the feel that Art could be around every corner, creating tension that never releases until the movie’s ending. 

The final notable aspect of Terrifier is the violence. Terrifier is not for the squeamish.

Its kills surpass many movies both for their brutality and ugliness. Art’s first act is to turn someone’s head into a Jack-O-Lantern and he only gets more violent from there. Some of the other kills I may not even be able to describe here, but just know that Art uses a gun, knife, makeshift metal whip, and handsaw, so use your own discretion.

The kills are extremely well executed too, as they are shot in a way that is terrifying while allowing the audience to see everything that is going on. In general, they don’t disappoint should you have the stomach.

Overall, the movie is extremely well done on a technical level, and may come off to many people as a slasher movie that the eighties could never have made, down to the little quirks that have defined the sub-genre. Sadly, this also includes many of the sub-genres frequent failings.

For example, the plot… There barely is one. I wasn’t expecting a very complicated story for this type of movie, but it is extremely glaring, with many extended dialogue-free chase scenes and characters we haven’t met literally showing up just to be killed by Art. It won’t be a big deal breaker if you’re just looking to be scared, but for me, it was almost distracting.

The second major problem with Terrifier would be the acting.

While David Howard Thorton as mentioned did an amazing job at the movie’s killer, many of the other actors range from decent to mediocre. I’m sure that they are all capable actors, but many of the lines in this movie begged for a reshoot, as many of them are stilted and awkward. It probably won’t ruin the experience for you, but it’s definitely noticeable. 

Terrifier is a movie for those looking for something a little more, well, terrifying this Halloween. It is available on Blu-ray and Amazon for those of you who want to see it, as well as a pirated copy floating around on youtube, albeit with irremovable subtitles (Terrifier was on Netflix for a time, but was cut a while back).

That being said, it won’t be for everyone. Don’t watch Terrifier if you are easily scared, squeamish, haven’t seen many horror movies, or are just a casual viewer. If you are already a fan of horror movies, or really want to scare yourself this Saturday, Terrifier will not disappoint.

Just remember that there is no shame in watching this movie with the lights on.