Terrifier 2 is a horror movie phenomenon thanks to Art the Clown

In another life, horror movies Terrifier 2 may have languished on Walmart shelves, buried among other low-budget horrors labeled “UNRATED” on their boxes as a badge of honor. Damien Leone’s crowdfunding 2018 original Terrifier has largely found an audience through its availability on streaming services. The sequel, which is currently showing in theaters, began with a “limited event” release in more than 700 theaters in the US through distribution that typically handles commemorative releases of films, musicals, and more. live theater and sporting events.

But Terrifier 2 is gradually expanding its reach. Its box office gross continues to grow, and the number of theaters willing to make an unrated 138-minute horror epic, fueled by the kind of word-of-mouth that marketing dreams are perform. Where other movies like Paranormal activity once advertised through nighttime footage of viewers swaying in their theater chairs, Terrifier 2 going viral with claims of moviegoers fainting and/or vomiting before the brutal actions of Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton), the film’s returning sadistic killer.

My own screening wasn’t too dramatic. I saw an older couple come out after a mutilation in the extended bedroom, although I was also in a row with a group of teenage girls who were so loud that it was obvious they weren’t. not confused. But Leone (who wrote, directed, edited the film, and designed the actual effects is giving some audiences awe) emphasize that fainting reports are not just marketing factories. I’m inclined to believe him – the growth of the Terrifer franchise has been surprisingly organic, since Art’s first brief appearance in Leone’s 2008 short 9th circle to the latest movie.

Why do people consider Art the Clown a memorable horror villain? Let’s look at him. Played by Thornton with rubbery-faced savagery, Art stands out amid a long history of murderous clowns, in part because he is truly a pantomime. (He denotes his grisly craft as “Art the Clown,” though whether Art or the audience is supposed to know the difference remains unclear.) His black-and-white design creates a clear, dynamic contrast to all the red that he inevitably gets himself, and his refusal to break his character and make his sound juxtapose the cruelty that he causes – it’s the kind of violence that requires victims to speak out about their pain.

But those differences don’t completely remove Art from his predecessors. You can know what Art is supposed to be thinking much more clearly than you can read unchanging mask by Michael Myers or a Jason Voorhees, but he still retains a sense of mystery and unpredictability. There’s no sense of a human underneath Art’s costume with its tiny hat, even if a gaggle comes in early. Terrifier 2 reveals his uncharacteristic human body as he puts on his bloody clown suit over the wash.

Art the Clown’s appeal lies in its simplicity. Seeing him, we can immediately grasp his gimmick. He taps into our cultural fascination with pain hidden beneath a strange mask, a motivational persuasive images Smile, a recent box office surprise. More specifically, we can’t seem to fully understand the inherent irony of a good clown turning bad, even though it’s Krusty the Clown’s harmless burnout. The Simpsons or the cheerful wickedness of characters like Joker or Pennywise.

In terms of personality, Art resembles the archetype of the cartoon cheater trying to mess with someone. Before any violence begins, he approaches potential victims while honking his small bicycle horn or furrowing his brows while flashing a grin. These extremely trivial images catch viewers off guard, possibly even making them laugh. He’s a brutal killer who doesn’t go to great lengths to torment people in the same way that various cartoon animals tortured Elmer Fudd.

Lauren LaVera as Sienna Shaw stands uneasily at the Halloween stall, staring ahead as David Howard Thornton slams his little silver bicycle horn in his ear as he grins at the mime killer Art the Clown in Art the Clown. Terrifier 2


In Art’s early short film appearances (where he was played by Mike Giannelli), the comparison to cartoon mayhem is even more stark. Leone’s 2013 anthology All Hallows ‘Eve stitched together three of his horror shorts, embedded in a story in which a nanny plays a mysterious VHS tape that the kids picked up when tricked. The second segment only shows Art’s face on a painting, while 9th circle presenting him is just one aspect of the demonic army, much of it designed to showcase Leone’s make-up and homemade prosthetics.

But for the third movie, the original 2011 Terrifier In short, Art is an all-powerful Looney Tune who defies the laws of time and space. When a woman flees him by speeding in her car, she passes him again and again on the side of the road, like a fake hitchhiker offering directions to a circus. Appropriately, the story surrounding the babysitter ends with Art crawling out of the television.

For feature length Terrifier, which was released on DVD and VOD in 2018, Leone has somewhat reverted to the supernatural angle. Art can be a regular killer for much of the film, as he makes his way through a surprising number of people to an empty warehouse building in the middle of the night. But all the same, Art’s behavior is still informed in the cartoon archetype, providing a momentary contrast to the disturbing waves of violence. In addition to art, TerrifierIts main appeal is the pure extreme of the actual gore that erupts, which combine with the inexplicable and excessive fervor of Art to create a truly terrifying atmosphere of cruelty. He was a fun character until he saw off a woman in half, then hung her upside down so he could start from the bottom.

As a result, viewers never quite fell in love with Art the way they tend to stem from murderous villains. after they have been eliminated through the ten sequels. Some of Art’s victims are thinly written, but never have the venom to show that they deserved what happened to them. (Although the first feature duration Terrifier If so, Art is the bridge between horror characters acting as mascots and the new millennium horror era, where unrated DVD versions and torture porn thrive alongside movie scenes. found movies and horror remakes like Alexandre Aja The hills have eyesreduce colors while they enhance violence.

In an attempt to find gritty, immediacy, mainstream horror filmmaking has concentrated most of the horror idea on a “funny” face. Perhaps the closest thing to a mascot series is Saw, which nonetheless ties itself into knots to get around the fact that its signature villain, Jigsaw, died three movies into a series of nine (so far). Even earlier horror films have begun to dismiss the idea of ​​an iconic villain. The massively entertaining, over-the-top Final Destination movies can’t cope with the threat of killing the main characters – it’s just some form of anonymous fate that orchestrates the intricate, complex accidents of Rube Goldberg. And Scream series focuses on a murderous character that can be adopted by anyone.

David Howard Thornton as Art the Clown mime killer stalking a victim through a vibrant yellow room in Terrifier 2


It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that the first Art the Clown short is technically rooted in a grim era of extreme torture exploiting cinema. Art has only recently come into full attention, and that may be because he’s an anomaly in an era dominated by more artistically deliberate, respectable roles in the horror genre. Movies like The Babadook, Midsommar, and It tracks praised for their restraint, for their ability to resist the villain’s fears to focus on their metaphors of grief, abuse, or mental illness.

But while such slow-burn movies can be stressful and intellectually satisfying, they don’t always scratch the itch for visceral sensations, desire for something unrepentant, even is completely indisputable. That’s something studios are slowly discovering, as they slowly churn out discredited, unsophisticated horror films about “fun” like Malignant, Barbarian, and Smile, which acts like a roller coaster. But in the meantime, Art the Clown has appeared to fill the void by filling it with a truly absurd amount of gore.

That gore-related realistic effect could be just as important as the villain spilling across the set. In effects work, Leone taps into a sizable subgroup of horror audiences unhappy with the way CGI has taken over adventure and spectacle films, and longing for the days when effects were made “real.” In movies like Terrifier and other fakes, like those of Steven Kostanski Psycho Goremanthe idea of ​​what’s believable is less important than a crazy fascination with accomplishing something in camera, creating some sort of actual presence in contrast to the dominance of weightless CGI.

By behaving like an entertainer, Art the Clown embraces the artistry of a genre built on continuously elevating itself through elaborate death scenes and detailed effects. Terrifier there is no immediate “you are there” feeling of a video found designed to closely resemble a snuff film. Instead distance from the audience by treating its violence as a performance. It makes all that brutality more palatable than it could possibly be. In their handcrafted effects and their evocative of iconic killers, Terrorist movies that allow horror fans to enjoy a warm sense of nostalgia while satisfying our latent desire for the thrill of a movie that can pull the bloody carpet away from us. .


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