Terrifier: This Is Art Collection [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (2nd April 2023).
The Film

"Terrifier" (2016)

Tara (played by Jenna Kanell) and Dawn (played by Catherine Corcoran) are out late at night dressed up for Halloween and trying to wind down. They encounter a mysteriously freaky looking mute clown (played by David Howard Thornton) follows them to a pizza parlor, where he especially tries to impress himself in front of Tara. Though he gets kicked out for being a disturbance, it will not be the last time they would encounter him, as he and his large bag filled with murderous tools are ready to cause mayhem throughout the night.

The character of the mute murderous Art the Clown was first introduced in filmmaker Damien Leone's first short film, the devilish "The 9th Circle" from 2008. Leone gave the character a bigger and more sinister presence in his next short film "Terrifier" in 2011, with Mike Giannelli playing the role in both. The shorts were also included as part of Leone's horror anthology feature "All Hallows' Eve" in 2013. An Indiegogo campaign for a full length feature with the character which was also entitled "Terrifier" was set up by the director, and with a small budget of $35,000, he was resurrected to bring more chaos and mutilation for the spooky day of October 31st.

Showcasing practical effects to the fullest, "Terrifier" makes use of blood pumps, latex makeup, body casting, and many in camera effects that have been missing from a lot of modern horror films, which have opted for digital blood and wounds which are essentially more cost effective and time saving, yet have an artificial quality that can usually be seen as fake. Granted the practical effects are also fake, as they are not real bodies being sliced and smashed but rubber and latex from molds, there is a believability factor with what is seen. Leone and his crew were working on an extremely tight budget and it shows that a lot of effort was placed in the making of the effects work, as some of the most memorable scenes are done incredibly well. Of course, not all scenes are perfect as there are some moments in which suspension of disbelief is necessary. As for the kills in film, they are brutal with mutilation, slicing with a hacksaw, knives in faces, gunshots to the face, and skinning as well. It's easily not for the faint of heart, but for fans of gory horror, there should be a lot to enjoy, if that is the right word to say.

Unfortunately the weakness for the film comes with the character development and the story. There isn't much background to the characters of Tara and Dawn, and later with Tara's sister Victoria (played by Samantha Scaffidi) who is on her way to pick the two girls up after a flat tire. There is also the supporting character of the woman only known as "Cat Lady" (played by Pooya Mohseni), who seems to have a bizarre backstory with her carrying a child's doll and calling it her daughter and her slightly disheveled look. But before the audience can piece anything together, it's off with her scalp (and breasts), though done offscreen. This is also a major spoiler, but "Terrifier" uses the "Psycho" (1960) and "Hostel" (2005) formula by killing off who the audience surely believes is the star and survivor. While those two films effectively make the switch and give a satisfying twist for audiences, the twist in "Terrifier" doesn't seem quite right. At the pizza parlor, Art the Clown (as he is referred to as he writes "ART" at the scenes of crimes) gives Tara a ring which she unwillingly accepts, but when she refuses him and eventually throws it away, she becomes one of his many victims throughout the night. This also becomes a major spoiler for the second film, but if he gave Tara the ring as a sign of love, then why at the end is the birth scene with... Maybe I shouldn't spoil it. But there is an inconsistency with the lore and there are more questions than answers. But is there such a thing as a logical explanation with seemingly immortal slasher film killers? Possibly not. The film may have tried going against audience expectations in this sense, but in effect it loses its direction and ultimately doesn't feel as satisfying as the work put into the kills.

As for the performances themselves they are quite good for the scenes provided. Some of them don't have quite the necessary grab such as Mohsenj as the Cat Lady as there isn't enough story for her side, as well as the exterminator character of Mike (played by Matt McAllister) and his limited screen time. As stated, the visuals of the film are what shine the brightest (or darkest), with the look in stylized colors, darkened visuals, and an unsettling look throughout. It may be a very low budget indie feature, but the film crew were able to make it look absolutely great and is never a bore to sit through. As nasty as it is, it is surprisingly well done with the technical aspects of editing, color correction, and cinematography. And with an ending as open ended as this, it's easy to see this would not be the last an audience would see Art the Clown.

The film premiered at the 2016 Telluride Horror Show Film Festival on October 15th. This would be followed by other festival releases as well as limited theatrical screenings and later with releases on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming. Thornton received a Best Actor prize at the Fright Meter Awards and the film was nominated for several others. While it wasn't a major awards winner, it did receive somewhat of a cult following through word of mouth over the years, and when Leone looked again to Indiegogo to raise funds for a direct sequel, it received a whopping $250,000 from backers, which was much higher than the $50,000 goal that was set. Art would definitely return for more kills in the future...



"Terrifier 2" (2022)

A year after the events of the previous Halloween in which a man dressed as a clown murdered numerous people and mysteriously disappeared soonafter, teenager Sienna (played by Lauren LaVera) and her younger brother Jonathan (played by Elliott Fullman) are getting ready for their Halloween celebration, although their single mother Barbara (played by Sarah Voight) is much too busy with work and taking care of their home to put effort into the festivities. Jonathan is seemingly obsessed with the clown figure and is thinking of dressing as the clown for Halloween. Sienna on the other hand is dressing as a winged warrior, inspired by a design by her late father which she put together herself. But as Halloween nears, strange sightings of the evil clown are happening by both siblings, and he is not alone...

The opening of "Terrifier 2" picks up exactly where the first film ended at the morgue, and it establishes that Art is not just some random serial killer, but a seemingly supernatural force that is immortal. The second feature also introduces a companion for him, with a little girl who also has creepy clown makeup (played by Amelie McLain). While it is not clear what her purpose and intentions are at first, there are clues along the way later on of who she is and what she is. The criticism of the first feature was that not enough was done for character development or character relations. In the sequel, a lot more care was placed into that aspect. Not only with Art and his little friend, but also with the family dynamic of Sienna, Jonathan and their mother with various scenes, the troubled relationship between them after their father died, as well as the relationships between Sienna and her friends Allie (played by Casey Hartnett) and Brooke Kailey Hyman) who both unfortunately become connected to the second round of gruesome events this Halloween evening. With a runtime that is much longer, additional characters and spanning over a number of days, there is much more to play with for the filmmakers, though it must be kept in mind that the blood and gore scenes have not been forgotten about, with even more nastiness to be served by Art the Clown.

The effects team went above and beyond for the first film. For the second film, they continued that tradition. The first film's centerpiece hacking scene which also featured topless nudity was the most memorable gore scene to make audiences cringe with the violence, but for the second film, while it doesn't have topless nudity tops the nastiness with a bedroom killing scene that features scalping, eye slicing, mutilation, with gallons and gallons of blood spilled all over. The effects crew didn't stop there, as there are flaming bodies and gun violence in the seemingly silly dream sequence. In addition, there are kneecap smashing, skull crushing, penis stabbing, and a lot more to be found. Each of the killings will certainly earn heavy reactions from audience members and the practical effects created are top notch. There are still some that are not too convincing such as the bedroom puppet used as well as the Vicky makeup again that looks closer to a Muppet rather than a person.

As for the first film going against the rules by switching who the protagonist is, the sequel follows a more conventional approach and is altogether more satisfying rather than surprising. It may not have the shocks in plot or structure, as it is saved for the kills instead which is ultimately the more satisfying approach. While a lot of information was set with the characters and the plot, there were still a lot of unanswered questions, such as what the late father's notebook had and why Sienna and Jonathan were able to see the little girl while others couldn't. Leone stated that more will be answered in the eventual third film, though there are speculations to be made by fans. Like the first film, it is surprisingly well made with excellent lighting and colors to emphasize the black and white makeup of Art and the deep reds of the blood soaked scenery. As the sequel takes place in daylight and at night with multiple sets, it's still a consistent looking feature and is a better experience as a whole in comparison to the first. It is a rare case of the sequel being remarkably better than the first, and Leone should be credited for taking criticism and making appropriate fixes and improvements. It still has its flaws though, as certain characters as not given enough to do while some scenes like the final confrontation does seem to drag on a bit too long.

The production began in 2019, but it was halted due to COVID-19 lockdowns in early 2020. While this would create problems in finishing the production on schedule, it also gave the crew some extra time to work on practical effects and kill scenes as well as other improvements to be worked on. The lockdowns also extended into post-production, and the film was finally screened at the 2022 FrightFest on August 29th, followed by screening at Fantastic Fest in September. It was set for a limited one week theatrical run in the United States from October 6th, but due to high presales, the screenings were extended. With expanded dates and a growing number of screens due to word of mouth, the film grossed more than $15 million theatrically, which was entirely unexpected and incredibly high considering the independent nature and the limited marketing for a gory unrated film. Like the first film, the sequel does not end on a definitive note, with a gruesome sequence at the end to hint its future. The second live up to the hype and was even grander than expected for many. As for a third, Leone and company have quite a lot to live up to with the series, and hopefully it will deliver. Only time will tell on another gory Halloween night.

Umbrella Entertainment has finally brought the first film to the country as well as the newly released sequel at the same time, with two individual releases, as well as in a limited edition 2-disc "This Is Art" collection as reviewed here.

Note this is a region ALL Blu-ray set

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents "Terrifier" in the 1.90:1 aspect ratio in 1080p AVC MPEG-4 and "Terrifier 2" in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p AVC MPEG-4. The films make sure to accentuate the sharp black and white colors of Art's makeup while also giving a heavy boost of color for dark reds with the gallons of blood used. The first film is overall quite dark with the nighttime setting and the indoor sequences being sparsely lit for the most part. There are some stylized effects with lighting and having some contrast boosting for a unique look. The second film is much more varied as it takes place over a few days leading up to and on Halloween, with multiple locations and sets used as well as different times throughout the day. Again there are some stylized looks with the color palate, such as in the dream sequences, the nightclub, and in the finale. Both features look sharp, clear, and without any issues of compression to speak of. A great job on the transfers here.

The runtime for "Terrifier" is 84:28.
The runtime for "Terrifier 2" is 138:09.

Audio

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo

Both films feature a lossless 5.1 and 2.0 stereo options. The 5.1 tracks do a very good job by balancing dialogue, music and effects, though some of the effects cues may be slightly on the boosted side for certain scare and gore sequences for emphasis. Dialogue is centered and easy to hear, while the surrounds are used effectively for music cues and other immersive sounds for the creepy environments. Each crack, stab, slice, and bang are effectively clear and there are no issues of dropout or damage to be heard.

There are optional English HoH subtitles in a white font for both features which are well timed and easy to read.

Extras

This is a two disc set with the two films and their respective extras available on the two discs.

DISC ONE "Terrifier"

Audio commentary by director Damien Leone and actor David Howard Thornton
In this commentary track, the two discuss about the behind the scenes information, from the references to other horror films, about the actors and their performances, the audition process, the few cases of CGI used for fixes, movie magic with set changes within cuts, and much more. Not a lot of technical information such as with cameras and lighting, though the two keep things interesting throughout. The recording itself is not the best, with some echo heard, though it is still listenable.
in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

"All Hallows' Eve" The Anthology Prequel Film (82:55)
Sarah (played by Katie Maguire) is babysitting for her friend's two children Tia and Timmy (played by Sydney Freihofer and Cole Mathewson) on Halloween night while their parents are out at a party. While going through their bags of candy, they find an unmarked VHS tape in a clamshell case. While Sarah is suspicious of what is on the tape and if it would be appropriate, they watch together and find a number of gruesome shorts, which the kids find tame while Sarah finds them too disturbing for them. But are these shorts just mere amateur shorts or something more sinister? After making "The 9th Circle" (2008) and "Terrifier" (2011), Leone made them part of this anthology horror feature, with the two shorts being films shown on the VHS tape that the characters see, with one additional horror short in between that doesn't feature the character of Art. While there are some fine scares, the film altogether has some inconsistencies in tone due to the differing works edited together. The first segment ("The 9th Circle") which apparently was shot in 35mm, looks more like a standard definition digital upscale with flat and drab colors and lack of detail. The second short looks much sharper, while the third, (the original "Terrifier") is made to look like a grindhouse film complete with scratch marks and faded colors. The wraparound segments are very sharp in comparison, which is good to showcase the differences between video and reality, though the biggest visual inconsistency comes from the clarity of the VHS. At first the three characters are watching "Night of the Living Dead" (1968) on an HD television which is stretched out and will irk home theater and aspect ratio enthusiasts. When they pop in the videotape, it is perfectly framed for 1.78:1 on their HD TV, which does seem odd for a VHS to have recorded content framed at that aspect ratio, but in fairness it is possible to record content squeezed for widescreen on a VHS tape and have it unstretched when played on a widescreen TV. Maybe that is why "NOTLD" was also stretched, which would make perfect sense that their TV is set to stretch the image. But how they got the VHS image to look so sharp on an HD TV is part of movie magic all the way. The anthology film does a fine job introducing the character of Art, with the third and final short being the best, but overall it doesn't quite hit all its marks. The transfer here looks good except for the source material used for the first segment short, and disappointingly uses a standard lossy 2.0 stereo track rather than lossless 5.1 as found on other Blu-ray releases. The commentary track for the film which is found on other DVD and Blu-ray releases for the film is not included on this release.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with optional English HoH subtitles

"Behind the Scenes" featurette (20:06)
Presented here is footage from the shoot of "Terrifier", which includes makeup appliance, B-roll footage, and candid talks and laughs with the cast and crew.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.90:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

Interview with actress Jenna Kanell (9:25)
Here is an interview with Kanell from 2018 discussing working with Leone, about her character, working on a horror film, and more.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

Deleted Scenes (1:01)
Two scenes are presented here and they are more or less "extended" than fully deleted scenes. The first is an extension of the girls' encounter with Art at the pizza parlor, and the second is with Art actually getting into Dawn's car.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.90:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

"Dread Central presents Terrifier San Diego Crowd Responses" featurette (2:28)
This featurette has interviews with audience members following a San Diego screening voicing their praise for the film.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

"Art the Clown Makeup Timelapse" featurette (0:53)
As the title states, this is a timelapse of the intricate makeup done for the creation of Art the Clown.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

"Terrifier" theatrical trailer (1:31)
The original trailer for the film is presented here. The trailer has been embedded below.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.90:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles



"All Hallows' Eve" trailer (1:22)
The anthology film's trailer is presented here.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles


DISC TWO "Terrifier 2"

Audio commentary by Damien Leone
This solo commentary has Leone sharing the behind the scenes of the production with a lot of detail. From character backgrounds and their performances by the actors, information about the music cues used, the Indiegogo campaign, the COVID delays and extending production to accommodate, the lighting and cinematography, and more. Though a lengthy film and even though Leone says that he would rather not spoil the making-of and revealing details of what goes on behind the curtains, he still is able to give a lot of insightful information on the production and the difficulties faced.
in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

Boo Crew Interview (9:16)
Bloody Disgusting's The Boo Crew (not to be confused with the Wayans series of the same name) interviews Leone and Thornton about the making of the film in a remote session. Talked about are the pandemic giving more time to extend ideas for scenes, the interviewers' favorite scenes, and more. This is only a short 9 minute clip of the podcast. The full 110 minute episode can be found here.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

"Behind the Scenes" documentary (35:13)
The documentary features footage of the makeup and prosthetic effects created for the film, B-roll footage for a number of scenes, special effects such as the burning and blood pumps, candid interviews and more.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

Trailer (1:59)
The original trailer for the film, which showcases that it is more of a character piece, though it doesnít quite feel as effective as it could be. The trailer has been embedded below.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles




The first film was released in the United States by Epic Pictures but lacked a lossless audio track. It was released in Germany by Nameless in both uncut and cut versions, though both of them lacked the commentary track and the featurette. The UK release from Signature Entertainment is exclusively available as a double feature with the sequel, with only the featurette as the sole extra. The Australian release is the best out there, with the most extras including some exclusives and having lossless audio.

The second film was released in the United States by Cinedigm, in Denmark & Norway by Another World Entertainment, and they have basically the same extras as the Australian release. The UK double feature release does have an exclusive with lengthy B-roll footage as its sole extra. Also note that in the United States, Cinedigm also released it on the 4K UltraHD format.

Packaging

Both films are available separately in standard keep cases which have reversible artwork that removes the rating logo from the front cover. Both state that the discs are region B only, but they are in fact region ALL.

For the "This Is Art" collection, Umbrella Entertainment went one step beyond with some deluxe collectibles. The keep cases are housed in a rigid slipbox with exclusive artwork, numbered with a limited edition of 1500 copies. Also inside the box is a 48 page perfect bound book entitled "THIS IS ART - a compilation of behind-the-scenes, commentary and art". First is a printed interview with Leone. Next are some behind the scenes stills. This is followed by the essay "Send in the (Killer) Clowns: Tracing the Cinematic Path to Art's Bloody Doorstep" by John Harrison. Next, "Art of Terrifier" features promotional artwork for the film, including notes on the exclusive slipbox artwork for this particular Blu-ray release. Also included in the box are a set of 12 lobby cards, a reversible poster with artwork, and a sheet of stickers. In addition, there are more collectibles outside the box. The first film "Terrifier" is included on a PAL VHS tape with a slipcase. I cannot confirm about its transfer, but the packaging is in a modern aesthetic rather than a retro one as one may expect. Also included is an Art the Clown 4" vinyl toy figure designed by Knuckleheadz Toys in its own box. The plastic sunflower sunglasses that Art wears in the store is also included. This deluxe edition was available exclusively at Umbrella Shop and at the moment has sold out entirely.































Overall

"Terrifier" focused a lot on the gore and visuals though it lacked a good story and characters. "Terrifier 2" made major improvements with the direct sequel with character development and going further with the gory practical effects in an altogether satisfying experience for horror fans. Umbrella Entertainment's Blu-ray releases are excellent with the quality and amount of extras, and for the limited edition they also did an excellent job with the collectibles included, though this particular edition is sold out. Highly recommended.

Note the first film is rated "C" and the sequel is rated "A-" for an average rating of "B" below.

The Film: B Video: A Audio: A Extras: A Overall: B+

 


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