Creepy clowns are nothing new in the horror genre. Pennywise is far and away the most famous of the bunch, appearing on lists of the scariest clowns across the internet. With the success of Andy Muschietti’s IT in 2017, it was easy to overlook the debut of another clown movie released that year.
Dread Central’s Terrifier had a limited release in 2017 and featured an antagonistic clown named Art. For those of you who haven’t met him yet, let’s take a look at his enigmatic backstory. (Spoiler alert!)
Art the Clown was first introduced in 2013 in the anthology horror film All Hallows’ Eve. In this film, two children find a mysterious VHS tape in their Halloween candy and convince their babysitter to watch it.
The tape contains three short films, each featuring a terrifying silent clown. He frightens the three viewers with his antics in the films, but the true terror begins after the last film ends.
The audience quickly learns that Art is not just your average evil killer clown. As he begins to stalk the babysitter through the TV, we realize he has a surprise set of supernatural powers. Art pounds on the glass of the television screen and appears next to the babysitter through the TV.
The babysitter hears screaming and runs upstairs to check on the children, only to be met with a blood covered Art, silently laughing at her from the top of the stairs.
When Art disappears, the babysitter runs into the childrens’ room to find them dead. Their blood is scrawled across the wall, spelling out the killer clown’s name.
All Hallows’ Eve doesn’t really show us that much of Art. He’s only heavily present in the third anthology segment and climax of the film (though he does appear – at least briefly – in all three).
Art was, however, the breakout star of the film. Fans were intrigued by his brutal nature and unbroken silence. His cult popularity is what lead to his own feature film, Terrifier.
Terrifier is not a sequel to All Hallows’ Eve. It stands alone as a slasher film. Because of its independent nature, viewers may believe this is the first appearance of Art.
Terrifier features Art stalking and killing all who cross his path on Halloween night. The horror begins when he notices two drunk girls trying to get home. Intrigued, Art proceeds to stalk and torture them – and everyone else he encounters.
Art the Clown is destined to become one of the great names in horror. He stands apart from other slasher greats in several aspects. His background is never established, though I’m sure that’s something we can look forward to in coming years. As of now, Art is some unknown evil entity embodied by a murderous clown with no reason or motive.
Art also maintains silence, even going as far as pantomiming screams of pain when greiviously injured. He uses this silence to taunt his victims, silently laughing, pointing, and dancing in a manner we’ve never seen before.
Art even dons the skin and hair of his victims to mock and otherwise clown around (all silently) to torment one of the film’s protagonists.
With horror movie season fully upon us and the film’s new release on Netflix, Terrifier is sure to quickly gain popularity.
Give it a watch to see for yourself why Art gives Pennywise some hard competition, and get ready to wonder if Art is indeed a clown, some demonic entity, or – worst of all – a f*cking mime.