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Promotional film poster
Directed byDamien Leone
Produced byPhil Falcone
Damien Leone
George Steuber
Written byDamien Leone
StarringDavid Howard Thornton
Jenna Kanell
Catherine Corcoran
Music byPaul Wiley
CinematographyGeorge Steuber
Edited byDamien Leone
Distributed byDread Central Presents
Release date
  • October 2016 (2016-10) (Telluride)[1]
  • March 15, 2018 (2018-03-15)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States

Terrifier is a 2017 American horror film directed by Damien Leone and starring David Howard Thornton, Jenna Kanell, and Catherine Corcoran. It is based on Leone's short film of the same name which was featured in his anthology All Hallows' Eve.[2] It premiered at the Telluride Horror Show Film Festival in 2016 before being picked up by Dread Central Presents and Epic Pictures for a limited 2018 release.


Monica interviews a severely disfigured woman, the lone survivor of a massacre. Monica mentions the assailant, known only as “Art the Clown,” disappeared from the morgue but the woman emphatically asserts that she saw him die. Later, Monica mocks the woman’s appearance while talking on the phone in her dressing room. The disfigured woman attacks her and gouges out her eyes, laughing maniacally.

Two young women, Tara and Dawn, have just left a Halloween party and Dawn is very intoxicated. Tara suggests that they sober up at a local restaurant before driving home. There is a man dressed as a mime-type or "Black and white" (as later described on the radio) clown standing in the alley behind them. He's carrying a trash bag and is staring manically at the girls. Dawn shouts flirtatiously at the man thinking it was a Halloween prank. The man vanishes when they look back up at him, and the girls walk into the local pizza restaurant to order some food.

The same man in the black and white clown costume sits in the next booth and stares at Tara, unnerving her. Dawn makes light of the situation by taking selfies with him. The clown is continuously staring at Tara and is relentless. Eventually, the clown is kicked out of the restaurant for smearing blood and feces all over the bathroom, even writing the name “Art” on the wall. Art the Clown later returns and kills both restaurant workers, decapitating one (fashioning the severed head into a crude jack-o’-lantern) and stabbing the other multiple times in the face.

The women discover that Dawn’s car has a flat tire and no spare, so Tara calls her sister Vicky and asks her to drive them home. While they wait, Tara asks to be let into an old warehouse to use the restroom. Mike, an exterminator working in the building, reluctantly lets her in. After relieving herself, Tara investigates a noise and meets a “cat lady” squatting in the building, who apparently believes the doll she’s holding is her child. Unnerved but polite, Tara excuses herself.

While Tara is in the warehouse, there is a broadcast on the radio in Dawn's car. Its a local warning from the police that there has been a double murder at a local pizza restaurant and the killer is described as a man in a black and white clown suit. Dawn turns the radio up and is intently listening when her car door is opened. She thinks it's Tara but when she looks up, its Art the Clown staring venomously at her.

Eventually, Tara finds she is locked in the warehouse and sees the Clown. He begins chasing her into a garage and she hides under cars. He continues his search for her and seems to give up. She tries to escape quietly but Art appears out of no where and stabs her in the Achilles. She is able to kick him off of her and she runs away. The Clown begins chasing her through the building. Mike is unable to hear her as he is wearing headphones. The clown is able to grab Tara and stick a needle of liquid in her neck, sedating her.

Tara wakes up tied to a chair, with Dawn hanging nude upside down from the ceiling in front of her. Art uses a hacksaw to cut Dawn completely in half from genitals to the middle of her skull, and takes a selfie with the corpse. Tara escapes and appears to gain the upper hand while beating him with a large wooden plank, but Art produces a gun and shoots her several times in the face. The cat lady witnesses this and runs, but when she discovers her “baby” is missing, she seeks out the clown and attempts to reason with him.

Vicky arrives and the clown lures her by disguising himself as an injured Tara (having scalped and killed the cat lady), giving chase throughout the building. With Vicky cornered in a closet, the clown hears another exterminator, Will, arriving looking for Mike, and decapitates him. Vicky runs away and is able to fight off the clown several times, but finds herself paralyzed with grief upon finding her sister’s mutilated corpse. Art slashes Vicky several times with an improvised cat o' nine tails, and Mike arrives and knocks the clown unconscious. Mike calls the police but is unwilling to stay put due to Vicky’s loss of blood, and while attempting to escape, Mike is killed by Art, who bashes his head in with his giant shoe.

Vicky hides, but upon hearing sirens, she reveals herself, and Art rams her with a truck. The police arrive and witness the clown eating Vicky’s face, and after a standoff, Art shoots himself in the head. The bodies are taken to the morgue, where Art reanimates and kills the coroner. One year later, Vicky is released from the hospital and revealed as the disfigured woman from the beginning of the film.


  • 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
  • Gino Cafarelli as Steve
  • Cory Duval as Coroner
  • Michael Leavy as Will the Exterminator
  • Erick Zamora as Ramone
  • Jason Leavy as Police Officer 1
  • Steve Della Salla as Police Officer 2


Terrifier premiered at the Telluride Horror Show Film Festival in 2016.[2] It was later screened at the Horror Channel FrightFest on October 28, 2017.[3] It was later picked up by Dread Central Presents and Epic Pictures for a limited 2018 release.[4]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Terrifier holds an approval rating of 70%, based on 10 reviews, and an average rating of 6.3/10.[5]

Anton Bitel of the British Film Institute described the film as a "subtext-free thrill-and-kill ride which openly advertises the sheer senselessness and gratuity of all its on-screen cat-and-mouse deaths by numbers" and "an unapologetically ‘pure’ genre entry, confronting – and amusing – us with all the sinister masked vicariousness of the Halloween spirit."[6] James Simpson from Infernal Cinema.com gave the film a positive review, calling it "[a] gory 80’s slasher throwback" and praised Thornton's performance as Art the Clown.[7] Cody Hamman from Arrow in the Head awarded the film a score of 8/10, writing, "TERRIFIER is a very simple film, providing 84 minutes of stalking and slashing that occurs largely within the confines of one location. Leone directs the hell out of that simple scenario, though, milking every possible bit of tension from each moment. It's a thrilling, brutal, gory '80s throwback that I recommend checking out, especially if you have a fondness for the same decade of films that this movie obviously holds in high regard."[8]


  1. ^ Jonathan Barkan (2016-10-21). "[Telluride Horror Show - A Recap of the Festival". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  2. ^ a b Barkan, Jonathan. "'Terrifier' Trailer Brings the Return of Art the Clown!".
  3. ^ Bitel, Anton. "FrightFest Halloween All-Dayer 2017: seven flavours of fear". BFI.org. Anton Bitel. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  4. ^ Barton, Steve. "Terrifier – Dread Central Presents Poster Premiere! Release Date Announced!".
  5. ^ "Terrifier (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Flixter. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  6. ^ Bitel, Anton. "FrightFest Halloween All-Dayer 2017: seven flavours of fear".
  7. ^ Simpson, James. "Terrifier (2017) VOD Review – Infernal Cinema". Infernal Cinema.com. James Simpson. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  8. ^ Hamman, Cody. "Terrifier (Movie Review)". Joblo.com. Cody Hamman. Retrieved 24 November 2018.

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