It’s easy to feel like you’ve seen everything that the horror genre has to offer. I’ve seen countless teenagers massacred in the woods, children possessed by demons, killer dolls/snowmen/gingerbread men, viral outbreaks, and almost everything in between. I even saw some Indians chop a motherfucker in half last year….vertically… so yeah.

But just when you feel as if you’ve seen it all, something like TERRIFIER comes around. A movie that wholeheartedly flaunts its existence outside of the studio system and promises violence so visceral and graphic that it will leave us speechless. I’ve been following this project ever since we first got wind of the Indiegogo campaign, and writer/director Damien Leone’s vision of TERRIFIER is insanely promising. But I couldn’t help but wonder if the film would live up to expectation. I had questions, so I went to the source – Damien Leone himself. Check out our chat about the full length Art the Clown spin-off below:

Evil clowns in horror are nothing new, but audiences seem to have formed an immediate connection to your Art the Clown character. Even I (who has removed myself from the creepy clown bandwagon) can’t help but get excited when I see that face. What is it about Art that has connected with so many people?
I’m so thankful that he connects with people! I’m not 100% why but I have some ideas. I think one of the reasons Art succeeds as a character is because of his twisted personality. He revels in the carnage he creates, whereas other killers simply kill and move on. He wants to play with his victims for as long as possible and destroy their sanity before their flesh. The fact that he doesn’t make a sound either is an advantage. A slasher with a voice is automatically more human and therefore not as creepy in my opinion. He’s also never in jeopardy of saying something dumb lol I also think visually he’s pleasing to the eye. There’s something about the black and white color scheme that really works well and It doesn’t hurt that his face resembles a demonic version of the joker. But despite how brutal and sadistic Art is, I think there’s something fun about him.
If I’m being honest, I was a bit disappointed in All Hallows’ Eve. I love short films and anthologies in general, but I was let down for a variety of reasons. Namely the omission of Art for the majority of the movie. It really failed to capitalize on its greatest attribute. Even you describe it as “30 measley minutes” in the TERRIFIER pitch video.
I agree with All Hallows’ Eve being a disappointment due to the lack of the Art the Clown character. However, that film was never pre-conceived meaning I never sat down and wrote All Hallows’ Eve as a script. I had made the first and last segments in All Hallows’s Eve (AHE) as short films years prior to its production. The 9th circle, which was the original title of the first segment; was made way back in 2006. The last segment, Terrifier, was made in 2011. The producer didn’t discover them on youtube until about 2012. The idea was to take the shorts and form an anthology around them. As a result, I basically wrote the wraparound babysitter segment and the god awful alien segment as filler so my producer could release AHE as a full length feature. I did toy with the idea of using Art in the 2nd segment as well but I thought that would take away from the effectiveness of the last segment. At the end of the day, I’m glad I stuck to my guns because I think Art deserves to be in his own film; not a disjointed anthology. I would’ve probably wound up wasting some good ideas that are now in Terrifier the feature. Although it’s a very flawed film, I think All Hallows’ Eve serves as a good introduction to the character.
You seem to understand the horror community’s adoration for the character and their longing for a feature film. But you went one step further and promised something even more: You vow to “show things so horrible and appauling that it will make our heads spin”. You have also recently stated that the film would most certainly earn a NC-17 rating if you were to submit the film to the ratings board (I assume that’s not an option). Was that something that you always aimed for? To create something as visceral and violent as possible? Is it REALLY going to be as fucked as we expect?
I try not to get expectations too high because you’re almost certainly setting yourself up for disappointment but I set out to make Terrifier as violent as possible and I think I succeeded. There’s an insane amount of violence. Art kills many people in terrible ways but there is one kill in particular that separates the men from the boys. I’ve honestly never seen it done in a horror movie before but then again I haven’t seen every horror movie ever made. I know it would be cut to shreds if it was ever presented to the ratings board but thankfully we’re not going to have to do that. The kill will be long, slow and brutal. In fact, I purposely toned down another murder that happens directly after the aforementioned kill because I knew I would lose the audience if I hit them with that much extreme violence in such a short amount of time. I’m trying not to fall into a torture porn category with Art but I think that’s inevitable. I love gore because of my background as a special effects artist but I also think you need to scare your audience with tension and atmosphere. I hope I achieve both.
Who are you working with on FX work? Will there be any CGI involved?
All of the FX in Terrifier were created by me and my amazing producer Phil Falcone. He wanted to learn the tricks of the trade so for about 3 months prior to shooting, he let me turn his house into our FX workshop where we did nothing but mold actors’ body parts and make prop weapons. It all resulted in me burning his kitchen down but I’ll save that story for the dvd commentary. As far as CGI goes, I never rely on it. We didn’t have the budget for it and it’s not necessary for this type of old school slasher film. I’m a practical special effects artist so I set out to create every illusion in front of the camera. If I ever have to turn to CGI at this point, it’ll probably be to remove an unwanted wire or blood tube; subtle stuff that that audience would never notice.
What can you tell us about the plot of TERRIFIER? We know the gist of it, but who are these two young women? Is Art an actual man or monster/entity?
Terrifier’s plot is very simple and to the point. We don’t waste any time getting to the nitty gritty but it is a little difficult to describe without spoilers. The two young women are best friends on their way home from clubbing on Halloween night. They inadvertently cross paths with Art who immediately fixates on them. He follows the two into a pizzeria and begins harassing them in the most bizarre Art the Clown fashion. Things take a turn for the worse and before long, the girls find themselves in an old abandoned warehouse fighting for their lives. How this all goes from bad to worse, you’ll just have to wait and see! lol
What state is TERRIFIER in at this moment? I believe filming has wrapped, but is it in post, or is that complete as well?
Terrifier is technically in pre-production, although we need a couple of pick up shots. I’m editing the film now and hope to have it edited by the end of April.
Will we see a new trailer before release?
I will most definitely release an official trailer before its release.
Is a distribution deal already in place, or will you need to shop the film around before the targeted release date?
We don’t have distribution in place yet. We’re going to submit to a few festivals first. Hopefully it does well and garners some attention. I just want to get it out to the fans as soon as possible. I really think they’re going to enjoy it. I don’t know what the reaction is going to be but the only thing I can promise is that there is no lack of Art the Clown in this one!

Terrifier (2015) poster