Movie review: Terrifier (2018)

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Nerd time: Terrifier’s title font screams 1980s exploitation. It delivers on this big time.

Movie review: Terrifier (2018)

Cast

  • Jenna Kanell as Tara
  • Samantha Scaffidi as Victoria
  • David Howard Thornton as Art the Clown
  • Catherine Corcoran as Dawn
  • Pooya Mohseni as Cat Lady
  • Matt McAllister as Mike the Exterminator
  • Katie Maguire as Monica Brown
  • Gino Cafarelli as Steve
  • Cory Duval as Coroner
  • Michael Leavy as Will the Exterminator
  • Director: Damien Leone

No spoilers

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Well hellooo there. Everyone, meet Art the Clown. He’s nucking futs.

It’s a dark and dirty Halloween night. On TV a talk show hostess interviews a horribly mutilated girl. Two other girls are out on the streets, dressed in super-slutty costumes for the night, and now walking home in the dark. They drop into a friendly pizzeria to commiserate over their evening. But they’ve caught the attention of a terrifying clown carrying a highly suspicious black rubbish sack, and now those two girls are in his sights. I don’t think he’s playing, ladies. Oh yes, something very, very bad is going to happen this evening…and trust us, this clown makes Michael Myers look like My Little Pony.

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Just a perfectly safe walk home on Halloween. Right?

When ‘Art’ the clown begins the hunt it’s not long before there’s blood and body parts all over the place. As our heroines try to escape, his kills get very twisted and extremely nasty. Art is a memorable horror villain, able to make you squirm and laugh and scream simultaneously. He treats everything as a joke, but the joke’s deadly serious. Once he sets his sights on you, you’d best run for it and pray for morning. This is actually really good, with some real tension and engaging characters who are mostly quite sympathetic. I honestly cared what happened to them, despite some paper-thin writing. The film even has the sense to give the background characters some halfway-decent dialogue, which makes them feel a little more alive before they’re added to the body-count. But don’t get too attached to anyone, as you can always trust Art to do the worst thing. And oh man, it gets pretty fucking bad…

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Eep.

Terrifier is a short, nasty trip into horror; a bloody, gleeful return to those graphically violent, gonna-get-you-for-no-reason exploitation films from the 1970s and ’80s. This throwback knows its roots and thank goodness, the special effects have come a long way. So be warned. It gets unapologetically gross, and even upsetting to anyone who has a shred of empathy left – even after too many horror films, but the horror genre excels at pushing boundaries. It should sometimes be just about using amazing special effects work to generate a disgusted ‘what did I just see?’ reaction from the bloody-thirsty horror-fan audiences. It’s so over the top it’s kind of…funny? Or is that just this Eyeball’s view? It’s all about perspective, guys.

So watch Terrifier for a front row seat to full-on Grand Guignol, if that’s your thing, because Terrifier knows exactly who it’s aiming this at. Namely, those with strong stomachs. But if you don’t have a strong stomach, then you’d better run for the exits before Art the Clown locks you in with him for the night, and hide before he gets out his rusty, blood-spattered saw…

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You can run, but can you hide?

Spoilers (including for Bone Tomahawk)

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Review: Attic Clowns Complete Collection by Jeremy C. Shipp

Attic Clowns: Complete Collection
Attic Clowns: Complete Collection by Jeremy C. Shipp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you try to read this with even a mild case of coulrophobia, then you’re utterly screwed. However, this collection doesn’t just contain a bunch of creepy killer clowns, and don’t expect anything so straightforwardly horrific as that. Instead, these stories are rather dreamlike, nightmarish and strange, with their own confused sense of right, wrong and what reality really is .

I haven’t read anything like Attic Clowns in a long while, and it flipped switches in my mind that I didn’t know were there. Not in a murdering spree sort of way, honest. As I said, these stories aren’t the typical scary killer genre. Attic Clowns is about an entirely different sort of dread. The action is cobwebbed with crazy description, surreal and disjointed and often very hard to make sense of, in the best sort of way.

These ease-jangling stories have been crafted by a brilliantly twisted brain. Each one delivers the reader into the flapping gateway of quivering madness. It’s worth persevering with the perversity as, after all, they’re only clowns and they don’t know any better. Sometime they might even help with that trauma you were dealing with. Just try not to piss off Giggles this time, ok?

I’ve briefly outlined each story below and summarized them up to a point, although I’ve tried to dodge the spoilers. These are well worth exploring for yourself:

Spider Clowns from Planet X

An astronaut loses his mind as he’s continually upstaged by the ‘hero’, and uses an unusual method of payback, in an unusual take on the ‘space travellers go me mental’ trope. Bit like an madder version of a space story from Bradbury’s ‘Illustrated Man’.

Microcircus

Everyone in her life has shrunk and performs in a miniature circus in her attic. Or something. But it’s ok, it’s cathertic. I think. Or she’s nuts. What happened? She also hates herself. Most unhealthy.

Princess

One of the shortest stories. This guy has serious relationship issues, and deals with them badly, up to and including a a mutilation to make sane men’s eyes water. An astonishing flow of rotten thought.

Dust Bunnies

A crazy couch ride deals with dead mothers, an inappropriately gropy clown, and full on nightmare logic. What Nolan’s ‘Inception’ would resemble if they just wanted to make the rich guy lose his mind instead of change it. Also, there’s a healing catharsis. Of a sort.

Don’t Laugh

A clown in an attic appears in a transparent panel in the protagonist’s forehead. It’s a metaphor, naturally. Imagery is great though. Reminds me a bit of the zero-budget horror movie ‘Dangerous Worry Dolls’, which was not quite as weird as this.

Blister

A teenager mourns the horrific death of his brother, wearing his brother’s out-sized ‘clown’ trainers day and night. Inner torment oozes from subsequent blisters, and the clowns in his attic are out to get him – into trouble! I also learned that, when in highly stressed emotional doubt, watch old Monty Python flicks.

A Quivering Gray Fog

Is this attic Heaven, Hell or both? It’s certainly a bit nearer to the hot place than anywhere else, but all our narrator wants is their camera back, and a minor epiphany. Also introducing the fantastic mini-demon, Globcow the Footeater’ in his first appearance. The polite interactions with this well-meaning abomination are priceless.

The Ascension of Globcow the Foot Eater

Globcow goes up in the world, and is an absolute sweetheart. Is he holy material, though? An experienced guardian angel is assigned to give him a shot at redemption, but it might be a tougher job to rehabilitate the little imp than he originally believes. This is truly brilliant, like a highly warped ‘Screwtape Letters’. One of my top three stories in this collection.

Little Mouse

Another of my favourite stories here. A ghost haunts another ghost, but which is truly crazy? The Sixth Sense was never like this, and a sadistic monster gets what’s coming to them.

Soapmen

A very dark attic here, full of self-loathing and populated by helpless, tortured little soap men. Confusing, but makes total sense. I think.

The Glass Box

I took this as a bit of a dystopian future, where clowning is a standard way of life. But the alternative to clowning is so much worse. Don’t get taken to that glass box. Gulp.

The Hobo

An office worker longs to escape with the hobo clown, but does he have the courage to jump? A shorty but a goody.

Giggles

My favourite ‘Attic Clowns story. When your girlfriend reveals the real reason behind all her practical jokes, it must be just another prank, right? But damn, that clown looks realistic. And why is she filming what she does to you? Whatever you do, don’t run out of custard pies or knock-knock jokes. You’d better keep ol’ Giggles smiling. Oh yes.

While probably not to everyone’s palette, Attic Clowns is an intensely strange experience which I loved once I got into the flow, and had figured out not to take any points of view at face value. Jeremy C. Shipp keeps plenty of madness and creepy clowns in his attic, but if you look really hard, there might be a bit of redemption in there too. Perhaps it’s in there somewhere under the corpses, cobwebs and clown costumes. It’ll keep you smiling.

No clowns in *your* attic. Right? Gulp.

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