Damien Leone has been pretty much grooming Art the Clown to become a cult slasher icon since his earlier films. He was even the somewhat paranormal narrator and ghoulish monster that ushered in various mediocre tales of horror for “All Hallow’s Eve” parts one and two. Apparently since the character has garnered some kind of momentum within the horror community, Art gets his spotlight as a bonafide slasher, who delights in viciously murdering people left and right on Halloween night. The results inspired a wholly ambivalent shrug from me overall, I’m sad to say.
Set on Halloween night, Art the Clown, the black and white, pointy nosed, mime and clown, begins stalking the streets for his next victims. He happens to cross paths with sexy Halloween party goers Tara and Dawn, two friends who drunkenly stumble to their car and goad Art with some light taunting. While waiting for Dawn’s sister to arrive and drive them home, they head in to a local pizzeria where Art has decided to follow them and indulge in his own delightful taunting. After a while it becomes obvious Art is intent on stalking and terrorizing everyone in his path and engages in a cat and mouse chase with Dawn.
“Terrifier” is fairly mediocre slasher fare, overall. While I’m glad it doesn’t try to pay homage to the eighties like a lot of other indie slashers, it’s pretty dull. Even when it’s at its most tense, “Terrifier” never quite musters up any real tension or creativity. Art the Clown has never really clicked with me, as he feels like a silly prop from a party store, even when he’s at his most sadistic. Leone tries to compensate for that fact by making Art a vicious and relentlessly cunning murderer, who also doles out some gruesome deaths. There isn’t any real motivation behind Art the Clown, and we learn almost nothing about him, even when it seems Leone might try to hint at some back story.
Through and through, Art the Clown is a mad man with a lot of toys who loves to kill people, and pull some deadly tricks. Despite his gaudy costume, and weird make up, he’s also shockingly great at sneaking up on people. “Terrifier” might win over folks anxiously in the mood for some grue, guts, and torture with their horror, but its lacking big time. Even as a goofy one and done slasher film, it needs a lot of work in the story department, as well as a better villain, because Art just isn’t all that interesting, even when he’s grinning and brandishing his scalpel. As a film “Terrifier” aims high, but feels like a very disposable party favor you’ll have forgotten once the credits roll.