Move over, Pennywise. There’s a new clown in town, one without pity or dialogue.
Ladies and gentlemen, Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton).
There’s little setup necessary in Terrifier. It’s Halloween. There’s a killer clown at large. What else do you need?
After a night of fending off creeps, Tara (Jenna Kanell) and Dawn (Catherine Corcoran), a couple of pickled party girls, stop off for a slice of pizza in the hopes that one of them will eventually be sober enough to drive home.
While perusing the menu, they are in turn perused by the next customer, a plainly fiendish harlequin, who says nary a word. Incapable of miming his toppings, the clown gets 86’d by the brusque owner of the establishment (Gino Caferelli).
And thus the fuse is lit and the carnage cannon can commence firing.
Art the Clown kills people because he thinks it’s funny, explains a character identified as Cat Lady. “But it’s not funny, because people die,” she concludes.
Talk about a weird sense of humor. Art the Clown doesn’t merely murder his victims, he creates gory performance art installations.
He chases victims atop a wee tricycle with a little beeping horn. He stomps one guy’s head like a pumpkin (big shoes!), and removes another head to make a jack-o-lantern.
For his big-finish showstopper, Art non-magically saws a woman in half.
Even when he prosaically resorts to using a gun, it’s not for the sake of efficiency, but because he likes to make holes in people’s faces.
Terrifier is an absurdly gruesome and bloody spectacle, and writer-director Damien Leone leaves no jugular unsevered, layering one darkly delicious death on top of another like an evil cake boss.
The silently menacing clown, a sinister cross of Harpo Marx and Pagliacci, is indeed terrifying. Actor David Howard Thornton demonstrates an impressive range of skills, including dexterity and marvelous comic timing.
Only it isn’t funny because people die. Fortunately, they do pass in entertaining fashion.