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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: David Howard Thornton, Jenna Kanell and Catherine Corcoran
Distributor: Signature Entertainment
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 02 April 2018

Two female friends emerge from a Halloween party into the night. One is a little the worse for wear through drink. After a late night café encounter with a strangely sinister clown they return to their car. But it refuses to start, so the driver phones her sister who sets off to pick them up. Meanwhile, the drunk girl is caught short and persuades the caretaker of an empty building to allow them in to use the facilities. However, the earlier taunted sinister and sadistic clown shows up and very soon all three girls are fighting for their lives...

This is one of those occasions when a writer/director creates a film which is derisory. Only it isn’t. But it is. It’s not often that this sort of thing happens. So, first the bad stuff. Nearly all of the performances are pretty wooden, apart from the first sister and the clown. To all intents and purposes this project harks back and certainly pays tribute to the 1980s so-called Video Nasties. You would think this would be average fair then; unquestionably it is nothing new in its storyline and format. Hack and Slash: Check. Buckets of gore: Check. Scary clown: Check. Halloween setting: Check.

By no means original, Terrifier does succeed by one major component: David Howard Thornton as Art the Clown. His acting is quite sublime. It’s all those little nuances like simply standing and staring, giving a single little wave, and baring his rotten teeth. The scene in the café is just magical. The clown endures minor taunts knowing the person thinking they are being funny is going to regret it, big time! The presence and antics of this make-up adorned perpetrator is in many ways more effective than the hack and slash scenes which follow. They have the curious effect of making you laugh whilst simultaneously creeping you out. Seriously, if you met this character you’d run a mile; but then there would be no film… It’s no exaggeration to say this is possibly the creepiest on-screen clown since the great Tim Curry’s Pennywise from It. In the excellent tradition of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, David Howard Thornton’s portrayal of Art is silent throughout.

Film fans who prefer everything wrapped-up in a neat little parcel will be frustrated by this film, as we learn nothing about the clown’s origins or motives. Events just sort of happen. Perhaps writer/director Damien Leone is saving the backstory for the sequel. I believe this concept could run to another movie, but I don’t think it has the mileage of a successful franchise. I would have given an average score but for the outstanding acting prowess of Thornton. It’s worth seeing Terrifier just for the clown, and so I’ve added two extra points for him alone.

Don’t bother with the behind-the-scenes extra on the disc. I expected to learn something about the story leading up the film, but it’s just actors pulling faces and doing little dances.


Ty Power

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