TERRIFIER *** USA 2017 Dir: Damien Leone. 80 mins
Although its timing might invite accusations of being an IT cash-in, TERRIFIER is actually a long-gestating feature length outing for Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton), the malevolent star of writer-director Damien Leone’s short films (dating back to 2008), both of which were adapted into his feature length anthology ALL HALLOW’S EVE (2013). Framed by scenes of a hideously disfigured survivor of Art’s escapades, this merges a simple 1980’s slasher format and engaging old school practical FX with the sadism of the post-HOSTEL gore movies of the early 2000’s. A hot, shrill blonde bimbo and a hot, marginally smarter brunette are creeped out by Giannelli’s marvellously freaky black and white clown in a pizzeria ; after daubing shit on the walls, the unforgiving Art kills the staff and stalks the girls. Prone to taking selfies with his mutilated victims, Art is an excellent addition to the pantheon of clown slashers, though the film doesn’t care much for its own protagonists, evolving into an episodic series of largely doomed, self-consciously eccentric characters exploring abandoned buildings. Leone goes divertingly over the line with a hyper-gruesome bisection sequence, though the movie is arguably less fun when the gore becomes merely mean-spirited (notably a grim chain-whipping). Still, it’s a satisfying showcase for Art The Clown fans.
Review by Steven West