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John’s Horror Corner: Terrifier (2016), the brutally mean-spirited evil clown movie that will haunt your gory nightmares with this memorable villain.

September 2, 2019

Not Safe for Work


MY CALL: Top choice for fans of brutal, goretastic and mean-spirited horror. The performance of the villain was darkly inspired, creating a truly memorable villain. I was truly impressed beyond the virtues of the special effects team and am looking forward to the sequel! MORE MOVIES LIKE Terrifier: For more evil clown movies, try Stephen King’s It (1990, 2017), Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988), Stitches (2012), Scary or Die (2012) and Clown (2014). For more brutally mean-spirited movies try The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, Wolf Creek (2005), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Hatchet (2006), or even The Strangers (2008, 2018) or The Purge (2013) movies.

Dawn (Catherine Corcoran; Amityville: Vanishing Point, Return to Class of Nuke ‘em High Volume 1), Tara (Jenna Kanell; The Bye Bye Man) and Victoria (Samantha Scaffidi; Terrifier 2, Demon Hole) find themselves stranded on Halloween night and then hunted down by a twisted clown. The premise is very basic, but don’t let that deter you.

Two things are extremely evident in the first five minutes of this film. 1) The budget is not impressive (but they do a lot with it). 2) A lot of gory brutal heart was poured into this film by writer/director Damien Leone (All Hallow’s Eve, Terrifier 2). After a disturbingly faceless survivor of a massacre is interviewed on TV, she brutally mutilates her interviewer with eye-gouging viciousness that reminds me of the face-rip scene in The Editor (2014). The severed head, chopped fingers and stab to the face that follow compound the inspired gore!

Despite the clearly low budget, I never really cared at all. When we first see Art the clown (David Howard Thornton; Terrifier 2, Stream), he’s disturbing. He never speaks, but his face is so expressive even through all that make-up! Every shot of this character is effectively off-putting and it’s a strong suit of the film. The combination of the performance and make-up leave a rattlingly disturbing presence and create a memorable villain.

Reminding me of the sheer brutality of Bone Tomahawk (2015), Art hangs a naked woman upside down and proceeds to saw her in half from the crotch down through her intestine-spilling abdomen and finally through her head! We see a lot!

Loads of macerated latex flesh, throat slicing, face-smashing, stabbing messes of fleshy flaps, and buckets of blood… it’s like if Troma made a serious film. Grotesque—even when there’s nudity it’s presented with a desensualized meanness. And watch out for the very predictable yet still very satisfying sequel ending!

As a fan of brutal, goretastic and mean-spirited horror movies, I thought this was really entertaining. The performance of the villain was darkly inspired and the direction was visceral. I was truly impressed beyond the virtues of the special effects team and am looking forward to the sequel!

25 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2019 8:50 am

    This movie… man, creeped me out.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 2, 2019 8:57 am

      Dude, the guy who played Art nailed it. His movements, demeanor, eyes and smile were sooooo weird. It was like Freddy meets Buffalo Bill. Really looking forward to part 2.

  2. September 2, 2019 8:51 am

    Reblogged this on John Hunt Fiction and commented:
    Great review… I agree with all of it. Can’t wait for the sequel. Sure to be a stomach turner.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 2, 2019 9:26 am

      Thanks so much for sharing! Appreciate it.

      • September 2, 2019 9:29 am

        Absolutely not a problem. It appears as though we like the same Flix…

  3. September 2, 2019 9:02 am

    Absolutely… The Art the Clown character was in that film, All Hallow’s Eve, but played by a different actor. Terrifier actor, David H. Thornton… absolutely killed it. A lot of images stayed with me after the film was over and that, for me, is rare.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 2, 2019 9:02 am

      I never saw All Hallows Eve but was intrigued to see it just for the Art segment. Worth it?

  4. September 2, 2019 9:07 am

    It is worth it… same director, same dark style, yeah, it’s gruesomely entertaining IMO.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 2, 2019 9:20 am

      I will make it a point to see it now. I want to see all the Art I can, even if a different actor.

  5. September 2, 2019 9:17 am

    I just have a hard time with clown movies. Pennywise and KKFOS has spawned a slew of scary clown movies and it’s getting kind of annoying.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 2, 2019 9:24 am

      I’m currently curious about Stitches (2012), Scary or Die (2012) and Clown (2014). Funny how these and Terrifier and All Hallow’s Eve came out so close together.

      • September 2, 2019 9:44 am

        I thought Stitches was better than most. Scary of Die is an anthology, one story being a clown curse. It was alright and Clown was another clown curse movie.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 2, 2019 2:45 pm

      I kinda feel like I need to see all of them now. Deep clown dive.

  6. September 2, 2019 9:28 am

    Huge fan of Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Weird, but fun.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 2, 2019 9:38 am

      I loved that one since middle school. Haven’t seen it in far too long, so I’m certainly due. Between rewatching It in prep for It 2 and now seeing Terrifier, I might have just started a deep clown dive. lol

  7. September 2, 2019 9:34 am

    Love the review. I want to watch the movie….and I want to avoid it at all costs.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 2, 2019 9:39 am

      That was my thought for a looong time now. I kept thinking this might be awful, so I’d delay a week or a month and then circle it again, read more reviews, stumble across GIFs online. Finally I caved. But I’m glad I did.

  8. January 18, 2023 9:06 am

    Great review! Read this one when it popped up on your review for the sequel.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      January 18, 2023 7:19 pm

      I assume you’ve seen this then? And liked it…? Loved it even…?

      • January 18, 2023 7:43 pm

        I’d say liked it. In a macabre way, which I guess was the point of it.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      January 20, 2023 11:33 am

      In a way these are the most satisfying kinds of movies for me–in terms of being consistently entertaining as a subgenre. I mean, if viewed weekly (or more) this mean-brutal-shock-exploitative subgenre may lose its effect. But as it is, these occasional movies rely so little on movie elements that normally disappointment me and take me out of an experience. I don’t need character development or a good story or credibility or build-up for this. I just get to check my brain at the door and be wowed by the brutal nonsense someone has realized on screen for me. It’s like… a release.

      • January 20, 2023 12:29 pm

        I understand what you’re saying. I think of ones like The Evil Dead or I Spit on Your Grave, something that I wouldn’t enjoy seeing more of, yet at the same time it being nice to sit back and just see what someone else comes up with, without all the plot and character development. Movies are a lot of things. I’ll never captain a starship or rob a high tech vault (not in the near future, at least). In those cases it is seeing others do my impossible. And for ones like this clown, not needing it to be realistic or have anything explained. I just get to watch.


  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: All Hallow’s Eve (2013), the brutal gory horror anthology that spawned Art the Clown. | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988), in-your-face goofy shenanigans veiled in murderous menace with fantastic creature effects! | Movies, Films & Flix

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