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Film / Terrifier

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Terrifier is a 2017 Slasher Movie directed by Damien Leone, based on his short film of the same name that was featured in his 2013 effort, All Hallows' Eve.

Dawn and Tara are out on Halloween for a night of drinking and pizza. They run afoul of the maniacal Art the Clown, who takes a certain interest in them. When the two young women return to their car, they find a tire has been slashed, and Tara calls her sister to take her home. While they wait, a brutal double murder is committed inside the pizzeria they had just left. Thus begins a game of cat-and-mouse, where the women are chased by the psychotic clown, who horrifically slaughters anybody in his path.

It was screened in select theaters across the country starting on March 9th, 2018 and was released to VOD, Blu-Ray/DVD, and streaming on March 27th. Two sequels were announced in early 2019.


Terrifier (2017) contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Tara gradually becomes one after escaping from Art as he's chopping up Dawn. She hides and ambushes him, stabbing him with his own knife and nearly beating him to death with a 2x4.
  • Ambiguously Human: Art is relentless and monstrous, but little suggests he's anything but a psycho in a clown suit until he blows his brains out, wakes up in the morgue with a huge hole in his head to throttle the coroner and is seen dressing up for another murder spree the following Halloween, none the worse for the wear. According to Damien Leone, he's not even aware of his supernatural nature.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Whenever Art's around, people have a tendency to lose a few limbs.
  • Asshole Victim: Granted, while her fate might be slightly extreme, Monica's insults and insensitive attitude towards Victoria's scarred face don't exactly make her the most sympathetic person when Victoria attacks her.
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  • Ate His Gun: Cornered by a pair of cops threatening to shoot him, Art pulls out his gun and sticks it in his mouth, blowing his own brains out.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: Depicted with the coroner at the end of the film. After having to perform an autopsy on a microwaved infant, nothing fazes him.
  • Ax-Crazy: Why, Art the Clown, of course. And he somehow manages to be even worse in this one than he was in All Hallows' Eve. Victoria certainly qualifies, as well, given her savage murder of Monica.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Art shoots himself in the head but is brought back to life and escapes after killing the coroner.
  • Bait the Dog: Art steals the homeless woman's baby doll, prompting her to go looking for it. She encounters him in a hallway cuddling it, and inquires if he's ever felt a mother's love. For all of a minute, he drops his usual crazy demeanor, and allows her to caress him as he sucks his thumb. Then he flays her chest and scalp and leaves her for dead.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Poor Ramone gets forced by Steve to clean up the bathroom Art messed up.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Monica, on her talk show, displays concern and hospitality towards Victoria. Once she's in her dressing room, she turns out to be a massive, insensitive bitch who laughs at how freaked out she was while interviewing her.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than All Hallows' Eve.
  • Blood Is the New Black: See the poster. Art spends a good portion of the movie casually walking around soaked in blood.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Art kills Tara, though he riddles her with a few bullets beforehand.
  • Brainless Beauty: Dawn. Fittingly, her costume is one of a character who literally doesn't have a brain.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The woman in the building who treats her baby doll like it's an actual human and thinks she's living in an apartment. She's pretty harmless, though.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Art smears his name on a bathroom stall in his own shit. Yeah, gross.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: At one point Art scalps a woman and cuts off her breasts and proceeds to wear her hair and chest while prancing around otherwise nude.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: All over the place, coupled with There Is No Kill Like Overkill. Most notably, Dawn's death. She's sawed in half with a hacksaw from the crotch all the way down to her head, while she's still conscious, no less!
  • Dead Guy on Display: Art leaves Tara's body in a chair, surrounded by Christmas lights with the "CIRCUS" sign in her lap, for Victoria to find.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Art leaves Steven's severed head on a counter for Ramone to find.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Tara and Dawn are the initial main characters in the beginning of the movie, but both of them are killed off within the half hour mark of the movie. Tara's sister Victoria, who was primarily a side character, takes over as the lead.
  • Dirty Coward: Art shoots himself to avoid being arrested. Though he certainly didn't expect to come back to life. In general, he will usually resort to using a gun whenever an up-close-and-personal confrontation fails.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Art is thrown out of a pizzeria by Steve for leaving an, erm, mess in the bathroom. His reaction? Sneak back in, behead Steve and carve his face up like a jack-o-lantern and set his eyes on fire, then take a knife and start hacking away at the chef Ramone's face.
    • Victoria gouges out Monica's eyes for laughing at her and making insensitive comments behind her back.
  • Downer Ending: Art survives and gets away with all the murders he has committed and Victoria, while she does live, is horribly scarred from Art eating her face and loses her sanity as she maims Monica.
  • Drop the Hammer: Art smacks Mike, the exterminator, in the face with a hammer.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Victoria gouges Monica's eyes out in the opening scene.
    • Averted when Art also tries this on Tara but is knocked off her in time.
    • Art gets one of his eyes gouged out while he's chasing Victoria.
  • Facial Horror: Art disfigures many faces throughout the film.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Dawn is shown topless. Only wearing her panties. Strung upside down by her feet. Her mouth duct-taped. And Art's about to chop her in half from the crotch down with a hacksaw.
    • There's a prolonged chase sequence with Art mostly naked, wearing a woman's scalp and flayed chest.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Art is actually pretty funny, although usually after or before he does something exceedingly cruel. This is especially apparent in his behavior towards Tara, such as when he pats her hand after pretending that he's about to hit her in the face.
  • Final Girl: Subverted with Tara, who fits the archetype in many ways. She's strong-willed, savvy, determined, and nearly beats Art to death. Art shoots her in the head about halfway through the movie. The real sole survivor of the massacre is her sister, Victoria, but she spends more time running from Art than actually fighting him, except to poke his eye out.
  • Flipping the Bird: A couple times, both from Art. First is when he gets kicked out of the pizzeria, and the second is when Victoria stabs him in the foot.
  • Forced to Watch: Art has Tara tied to a chair so she can watch him saw Dawn in half.
  • For the Evulz: Art has no other motivation for murder and mayhem besides amusing himself apparently. This is further reinforced by both Word of God and Word of Saint Paul.
  • Freudian Excuse: Possibly. The way Art looks at the woman when she asks him if he's ever felt a mother's touch certainly makes it seem like he might have some mommy issues, which would explain why he loves torturing and murdering women so much.
  • Genre Throwback: To 80s slashers.
  • Good Weapon, Evil Weapon: Defied. In a startling subversion of nearly every slasher film ever made, where the villain tends to stick to either blades, bludgeons or brute strength, Art, when given a beatdown with a 2x4 by Tara, reveals that he's been packing heat all along.
  • Gorn: It really goes without saying.
  • Groin Attack: A horribly disturbing one where Art uses a saw to split Dawn down the middle starting with her groin.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Art strings up Dawn by her feet and saws her in half from groin to skull. He's forced to stop halfway through the skull because Tara manages to struggle free of the chair he's taped her to.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The movie takes place early Halloween morning.
  • Hope Spot: Tara manages to sneak attack Art and starts beating him with a 2X4. Tara seemly has the upper hand until Art shoots her in the leg and the rib cage area before finally shooting her in the head.
  • Human Resources: Art’s shown using a victim’s hair to make a rope in the trailer.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Art eats a person's face.
  • Ironic Echo: In the pizzeria, Dawn sits in Art's lap to take a selfie with him. Later, after he's finished chopping her in half, Art uses the same phone to take a selfie with her corpse.
  • Large Ham: Art is a rare silent example of this trope. His more over-the-top and comedic behaviors intentionally channel Jim Carrey and the Marx Brothers.
  • Laughably Evil: Art, at least before he puts his game face on, spends a lot of time just acting silly, although he does so with the intention of making Tara uncomfortable.
  • Machete Mayhem: Art uses one to saw off Will's head. Yes, saw it off.
  • Made of Iron: Tara manages to limp around on a leg with several stab wounds surprisingly well.
  • Monster Clown: Guess whooooo?
  • Monster Misogyny: While he kills more men than he does womennote , and his murders of men are still vicious, Art puts more time and thought into brutalizing and torturing his female victims, with their deaths being more sexual in nature than his male victims.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Dawn, played by the beautiful Catherine Corcoran, spends most of her screentime wearing a sexy scarecrow costume that bares her cleavage. Of course, by the time her breasts are actually shown, it's a textbook example of Fan Disservice.
  • Mythology Gag: Plenty, relating to the original short of the same name from All Hallows' Eve.
    • Art painting an establishment's bathroom wall with his own feces, and getting thrown out by one of its employees because of it. Although in the original, he did it in a gas station instead of a pizzeria. For that matter, him painting his own name on the wall is this to the wraparound segment of All Hallows' Eve, except he used blood in that instance. In both cases, Art kills the employee who throws him out of the establishment in retaliation not long afterwards.
    • The garbage bag Art carries his weapons in.
    • Art retaining his misogynistic streak.
    • Art using a hacksaw to dismember one of his victims. In this instance, Dawn.
    • Art suddenly revealing that he has a gun, and using it to kill one of his victims.
    • Art getting stabbed in the eye.
    • The "CIRCUS" sign.
    • Art using cellophane as a means of suffocating one of his targets, only for them to tear through it and escape.
    • Art's makeshift whip, consisting of dirty needles and scalpels.
    • The final showdown taking place in a shed.
  • Nightmare Face: The survivor of Art's massacre — later revealed to be Victoria — being interviewed by Monica at the beginning.
  • Off with His Head!: Both Steve and Will are decapitated by Art.
  • Properly Paranoid: Tara is much more freaked out by Art than Dawn is, who just dismisses him a run of the mill but harmless weirdo. And she has every reason to be.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Art displays some tendencies of this. He rides around on a trike for no reason while chasing after Victoria, cuddles a baby doll and sucks his thumb while a woman cuddles him.
  • Rasputinian Death: Tara gets shot in the leg, ribcage, and face (cheek, specifically) before Art runs out of bullets. Since she's still not dead, he reloads, shoots her in the forehead, then puts five more in her face just to be sure.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Dawn (the blonde) is the active, happy-go-lucky airhead Red Oni to Tara's reserved, serene Blue Oni. Ironically, Art is much more interested in Tara.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Art saws dawn in half, giving her the most gruesome demise in the movie. Later, he goes back to her and takes a selfie with her corpse.
  • Sadist: Art delights in killing, torturing and causing his victims as much physical and mental anguish as possible.
  • Scenery Gorn: Besides the actual gorn, the majority of the movie takes place in a creepy, dilapidated building infested with rats. The opening sequence in Art's lair isn't exactly glamorous, either.
  • Shout-Out:
    • David Howard Thornton has referred to the scene where Art prances around in a skin suit as his "Buffalo Bill scene".
    • Thornton also stated that Art's eye roll when the cops are threatening to shoot him was meant to emulate Heath Ledger's Joker.
    • The opening scene is a direct reference to Freddy building his glove in the opening of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
  • Silent Antagonist: Art never speaks a single word and while he frequently mimes hysterical cackling, he never makes a single noise either, except when sucking his thumb.
  • Silent Snarker: On occasion, Art displays a snarky personality, like when he rolls his single eye when the cops are threatening to shoot him.
  • Slasher Smile: Art’s default expression.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Art is clearly drawn to Tara, displaying no interest in Dawn, even buying her a toy ring as though he's proposing to her, but he's just trying to freak her out more than anything.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Dawn gets the not-so-smart idea to take a selfie with Art. One can only assume from his body language that he’s not amused.
    Dawn: What, did you think he was gonna hack me up into little pieces, or something?
    • In the opening scene Monica the talk show host says on the phone she'd rather die than be deformed like Victoria is. Right after she says that, Victoria brutally attacks Monica and horribly deforms her.
  • Troll: For all his savagery later on, at the beginning, Art mostly takes enjoyment in just making Tara as uncomfortable as possible with various exaggerated facial expressions and faux-flirtatious behavior and baits the crazy old woman into thinking she broke him down.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: To think, Tara got herself and Dawn in their situation because she needed to pee, and chose the worst possible time and place to do it.
  • Villainous BSoD: Subverted. Art pretends to break down when the woman in the warehouse asks if he's ever felt a mother's touch, but then skins her while she's caught off guard.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: When the coroner unzips the bag, the lights flicker and Art wakes up with a giant hole in his head.
  • Whip It Good: Once again, Art has his trusty makeshift whip, made up of filthy medical instruments.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Tara is horrified when the exterminator informs her that he's trying to fix the building's rat problem. Whenever she runs across a pack of rats, she's visibly unsettled. It appears to run in the family, too, because Victoria has similar reactions.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Halfway through her brutal beatdown of Art, Tara starts screaming at him to get up when she could have just finished him off right there. It doesn't end well when he whips out his gun. Then again, she was just forced to watch her friend get slowly chopped in half, so it's pretty understandable that she'd be as angry as she was.
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: Said by Steven, the pizzeria manager, in a deleted scene to Dawn and Tara, who ask what Art did in the bathroom.