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Notes On: Terrifier (2018)

A kitschy, corny and sometimes badly acted film, which surprisingly delivers a wicked amount of nasty fun.

Art (David Howard Thornton) is a clown – dressed in white and black, carrying a huge bag of clanking stuff to spray havoc. On the night of Halloween, Art becomes the embodiment of evil. The killing spree begins when he finds two girls (Catherine Corcoran and Jenna Kanell) coming back home from a party.

The glorious comeback of the 80s is rocking. After the success of “Stranger Things” and “It”, the kitschy aesthetics are truly given a second life, even in the mainstream. It especially pleases the fans of goosebumps, because – if there was one flourishing genre in that period – it definitely was horror.

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Damien Leone, the director of “Terrifier”, isn’t afraid to boast about his influences. His film is a tribute to the most prominent times of slashers.

As befits any kind of slasher, the maniac killer is always at the center of things. And Art is a sweet emissary of evil. He is completely deprived of human feelings, insane and blood-curdling. There are moments, when Leone – despite the film’s romance with kitsch – manages to turn Art into a genuinely scary existence. Bathed in blood, Art slices and dices without a single sound coming out of his mouth. In my honest opinion, he beats both Pennywise and Twisty (“American Horror Story”) in terms of scariness.

The effect is intensified by the staging. The interior of the building, where the two poor women fight for their lives, is truly haunting. Set in the heart of the city, the place itself seems like a gate to a hellish abyss. It brings to mind set designs from “Martyrs” or “Hostel”. Leone plays with light and bizarre music choices too, which all imbues “Terrifier” with unique, delightfully disgusting feeling.

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At times, Leone becomes too immersed in the corny aesthetics. As viewers, we are more than used to the fact, that the characters in horror movies are not the brightest bulbs. To be honest, they are usually outright stupid, as if their brains didn’t work at all. The same applies to the victims of Art. The mime killer is often slow, indulging the ladies in their helplessness. Even a steel bar is worthless in their hands.

“Terrifier” might be over-the-top for many viewers. Yet in spite of the recent popularity of the 80s throwback, we should brace ourselves for more offspring like that. Leone’s movie is fun in its simple, ridiculous and sick way. Sick, but still distinct.

Terrifier (2018)

Dir. Damien Leone

Cast: Art The Clown and his victims

Hate Grade: 4/10

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