"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Terrifier 2

TERRIFIER 2 is a genuine little-slasher-sequel-that-could phenomenon manifesting right here in the excellent horror year of 2022. This is the $250,000, ultra-gory evil clown movie that not only finagled an unrated limited theatrical release, but did so well (and got so much press from reports of puking and fainting at screenings) that they added more showings the week after that, and the week after that, and the week after that. It was the movie that finally nudged TOP GUN: MAVERICK out of the top ten, and Variety says it “shocked the industry” doing so well with “next to zero mainstream marketing.”

It’s now made almost $8 million, which is tiny compared to any blockbuster, but it’s about five times what last year’s best picture winner CODA made. So unless I misunderstand how this works, writer/director Damien Leone better make room for five best picture Oscars on the shelf next to part 1’s trophies for ShockerFest Audience Choice Award and Louisville Fright Night Film Fest “Best ‘Grindhouse’ Film.” And I try to watch all the most classy and acclaimed motion pictures so I set aside my belief that evil clowns are corny to watch TERRIFIER, and I liked it enough to go see TERRIFIER 2 when it came back to Seattle last Friday.

What the hype may not get across to outsiders, and what may prevent you from puking or passing out, is that it doesn’t feel quite serious. Most of the horror movies that come along – BARBARIAN, WATCHER, I’m sure SMILE even though I haven’t seen it because I’m even more prejudiced against evil smiles than evil clowns – they seem to say “here is a new horror movie,” while the TERRIFIERs are a little more “what if this was a horror movie?” It’s by no means a spoof, but it definitely counts as pastiche. It seems like a heightened version of some weird movie you rented from the horror section in the ‘80s, or maybe the movie you imagined when you looked at the cover.

In that sense maybe these are kinda related to the HATCHET series, which also emphasize gory practical effects, and have a killer aspiring to Jason-like icon status. For me the TERRIFIERs improve on HATCHET 1 & 2 by having a better handle on how to structure a slasher story and center a strong protagonist, better control of the tone, and honestly a sleazier, more dangerous feel, giving them an unpredictable quality that balances out some of the artificiality.

Poster for the 2022 film TERRIFIER 2.I feel weird saying I enjoyed TERRIFIER, but I definitely somethinged it. And I’m happy to say that the sequel is better in every way except brevity. (More on that later.) I guess if you liked the first film’s willingness to fuck with the expected structure in ways that are upsetting to us as viewers, you may not like that this one is a little kinder to us. It will still be described as nihilistic trash because of all the bad shit that happens, but it’s dedicated to that slasher catharsis of seeing a good guy or good guys get away after being put through the wringer and then dragged through the mud and then put through the wringer again and then put in the dryer without properly following the care instructions. This is horror, we can’t expect a win every time, but we always hope for one, because it’s satisfying.

The sequel picks up right from the end of part 1 when non-verbal Halloween spree-killer Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) was dead on a slab at the morgue but inexplicably came back to life and killed the medical examiner. In case there was any question of whether this is a supernatural occurrence, I think it’s answered by Art’s ability to pluck one of the doctor’s eyeballs out and shove it into his socket to replace the one that got shot out (or stabbed out? I forgot already). Then he fills his garbage bag with tools and chemicals, steals some change out of the dead man’s wallet, and goes straight to the laundromat, where he sits naked waiting for the blood to wash off his clown suit so he can look good as new for part 2. I appreciate the professionalism.

The laundromat is where we first see his imaginary friend, an adorably horrifying little girl clown credited as “The Little Pale Girl” (introducing Amelie McLain). I can’t find any stills that don’t look like she’s from some cheesy extreme haunt, but trust me, in context she’s a delight.

Part 2 centers on Sienna (Lauren LaVera), a talented young cosplayer who’s been working hard constructing her Halloween costume based on a warrior-angel character her late father used to draw for her, and her 12-year-old brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam), who wants to go as the clown from the Miles County Massacre last year. Sienna tells their mom (Sarah Voigt) she thinks he’s fucked in the head, and then she has a nightmare about the clown. She sees a commercial on TV for something called “The Clown Cafe,” and suddenly she’s one of the adults playing kids in the commercial, and then he machine guns everybody. When she wakes up, the fire from Art’s blowtorch in the dream has spread to her actual bedroom, destroying her angel wings but not the badass sword her dad gave her.

As a life long Freddy fan I have to say that although this dream sequence is the only part of the movie I couldn’t stand (I hate fake children’s songs, and adults dressed as children, and fake ass cereal boxes with clowns on them, and fake businesses involving clowns, like why the fuck would there be a clown-themed food truck that advertises on television?) I appreciate the ELM-STREET-ian touch of her dreams having an effect on the real world, plus the implication that this is some kind of magic sword. We don’t usually get a sword of destiny in a slasher sequel. (I guess we sometimes get daggers.)

Despite his fascination with serial killers, Jonathan seems like a pretty nice, normal kid. He gets blamed when his jackass friends play with a dead possum on the playground, and then Art shows up inside the school and throws the possum at him! This is another Freddy touch: Jonathan finds drawings of Art in his dad’s sketchbook, and now seems to be haunted by him. He’s not choosing victims at random this time. He’s got a connection or a vendetta or something.

Much to her shame, Sienna has to go to the costume shop to buy replacements for her burnt-to-a-crisp home-made wings. While she’s there, Art the Clown or an asshole dressed as Art the Clown, follows her around, creeps her out, and tries on funny sunglasses.

The part that makes this sequel stand out among super gory fucked up movies is when Art follows Sienna’s friend Allie (Casey Hartnett, WHAT WE FOUND) home. It’s like the most over-the-top Jason Voorhees kill multiplied by 23, and it happens to this nice innocent girl in the seeming-safety of her home. He pulls her scalp off and breaks an arm with his bare hands and she’s just so horrifyingly fragile. Her torment goes on longer than the rhythm of a horror movie usually dictates, and then he finally leaves and she’s laying there in agony, no way she can survive this. So sad.

And then – surprise! Suddenly he bursts back in with containers of salt and bleach, ‘cause he’s just such a sadistic fucking asshole. And in case the comic timing of that bit made you laugh it off, we get another scene where Allie’s poor mother (Amy Russ, “White House Assistant,” THE POST) comes home and finds her daughter in a pathetic, barely alive state with Art crouched next to her like the motherfuckin Big Bad Wolf.

Bear with me here but I’m gonna tell you about something horrible that happened in real life. (Skip to the next paragraph if you’d rather not have it in your brain.) When my siblings and I were little our parents both worked, so after school they had us go to a babysitter, our mom’s friend who lived up the street. I remember this lady styling my hair for a Halloween costume, playing me Neil Diamond’s “Heartlight” to see if I could figure out what it was about, scolding my brother for typing curse words into Zork, and we sort of grew up with her kids. But there was a falling out, we stopped going up there, the family moved and we never saw them again. A couple years ago, though, they were in the news. One of those kids we grew up with had a teenage daughter, and one night that teenage daughter and her boyfriend crept into the bedroom of her grandparents – our babysitter and her husband – and killed them. They taped up the doors and windows to contain the stench, and stayed in the house with the bodies for a week, inviting friends over to smoke weed and eat take out. When their crime was discovered and the police cornered them they tried to stab themselves to death, but they survived, pleaded guilty and got double life sentences. The boyfriend apologized in court, but the granddaughter did not.

Recently I told that story to a co-worker, and it was weird to try to convey something so fucking ghastly in the casual tone I was trying for, so I guess my brain chose to deal with that discomfort in an awkward way: it made me laugh, like I was telling a funny story. Trust me, there is nothing I find funny about it, but I don’t know if my explanation “I’m sorry I’m laughing, it’s just so horrible” made sense to him. He must think I’m a psycho. And that might be your reaction too when I try to describe the morbid thrill of that scene in TERRIFIER 2.

I do think the scene is scary in a certain sense. It may feel a little Troma in its insistence on going six laps further than too far, but not in its tone. And yet it’s not some raw, soul-dirtying ugliness like ANGST either – it’s a fuckin undead clown, he’s making bodies do things I don’t think bodies can do, we’re very aware that we’re watching an enthusiastic makeup effects team do their equivalent of a guitar solo. So we get something akin to the discomfort of that story I just told you, the too-gruesome-to-possibly-be-believed feeling, except we don’t have to believe it. We know it’s not true, that Allie is not real, that no one is suffering or lost. And fuck that clown for all the things he does, we hope he’s gonna get his in the end, but as long as we’re paying to be put through this sort of cinematic ordeal we gotta admire the elbow grease put into making that one such a barn burner. Jesus christ. You kinda gotta hand it to him.

On Halloween, Sienna goes to a bar with her friend Brooke (Kailey Hyman, who I was convinced must be Julia Roberts’ daughter, but she’s never even played the young version of one of her characters), who thinks it’s a good idea to dose her drink with molly. This leads to an actual sweet moment in the movie when her mom calls her thinking that Jonathan trashed her car. It seems funny to Sienna, which angers her mom. It’s only because of the drugs, but Sienna interrupts and disarms the argument by telling her mom that she loves her. I didn’t expect to get a little emotional during TERRIFIER 2, but there I was.

The relationship between the kids and parents is fairly complex. We learn from Mom that their dad got really crazy in the end, and even abusive I believe she says, but she mostly doesn’t stop the kids from remembering him in saintly terms and putting great import on anything he gave them or left behind. Mom is also complicated because she’s kind of an asshole, definitely out of line some of the time, but mostly seems sincere and caring. In this paragraph I’m gonna spoil her fate as well as a major turn in part 1. In part 1 there’s a shocking moment when Art pulls a gun and just shoots the heroine. Jason or Michael would never pull out a gun – it feels like cheating. But in part 2 here there’s a scene where Art pops out and blows Mom’s head off, and in this context, having seen what happened to Allie, it felt like a relief to me! I was glad that was all she got.

Appropriately for an evil clown movie, the finale takes place at “the old carnival.” I guess “old” means out of business, since it’s closed on Halloween, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t 100% maintained and operable! Art lures Sienna there by drugging and kidnapping Jonathan and then having the little girl clown pull a T-1000 and speak in his voice over the phone. He says he needs a ride – this is a series that really recognizes that people sometimes need a ride.

Sienna needs to find her brother in a horror maze called Terrifier. I thought that was a cool touch – as if the series was always meant to be named after this maze, but was taking its time getting to that information. I almost buy it because the chronology is pretty clever; part 1 opens with an incident that turns out to have happened after the rest of the movie, and here in part 2 we realize that it happened a year later, at the beginning of this story.

The entrance to the maze is maybe slightly chintzy looking, but they do a good job of making it seem endless inside. There are some cool carnival/haunt props, like a huge animatronic clown head, and I like how you can’t really tell how much is how it’s supposed to look and how much is broken down or a storage area or something. Sienna inevitably sort of becomes this angel character as she battles Art, and it struck me how weird and upsetting it is to see 12-year-old Jonathan also involved and getting whipped and cut up. I think if he was gonna get killed I would agree with the pearl-clutchers that we don’t need to see this in a horror movie, but that’s not the case here. It’s like if The Goonies took a John McClane level beating in their adventure. It feels like he really faced danger instead of just being off limits because of his age.

I like the direction this sequel takes, picking up from the ending of the first to go into explicitly supernatural territory. There seems to be some predestination involved, since their dad’s brain tumor caused him to draw pictures of Art and his future victims. For a while I worried that Art the Clown was their dad. These fantasy elements make Sienna seem less like “part 2 heroine Sienna” and more like “the heroine of the TERRIFIER series, Sienna,” though Kristen the Dream Warrior or Alice the Dream Master seemed that way in various points of the ELM STREET series, so who knows? At any rate this leaves things at a good place to build from in an inevitable part 3.

I don’t want to make too big a deal out of it, but somebody will bring it up anyway, so I gotta address that this movie is 138 minutes long. That’s only a minute shorter than 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and it’s 11 minutes longer than DAWN OF THE DEAD. Most importantly, it’s 52 minutes longer than the first TERRIFIER! It’s a bigger movie, but is it almost-an-hour bigger? In my opinion no.

It’s honestly weird that they didn’t tighten it up more, which I think could be done even without cutting most of the dream sequence like I’d want to. But honestly it didn’t really drag for me, it was not a case like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: DE JA VU where the indulgence drags the whole thing down. I forgive it.

It’s pretty transparent that they want Art the Clown to be a “new Freddy” or some shit, so it’s interesting to compare this sequel to the approaches of sequels from the past. In the first movie he could’ve been just a guy in a costume until the end, so this follows the HALLOWEEN series and especially the FRIDAY THE 13TH series in making him more explicitly supernatural/undead than before. It follows Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN II in giving him a creepy child-in-clown-costume-apparition sidekick. It follows ELM STREET 3 and 4 in bringing in good guys and fantasy rules for how to battle him.

He’s silent like Jason or Michael, but otherwise more Freddy-like in his showmanship, smart-assery, and now possible dream powers. There’s also a direct homage to ELM STREET’s glove-building opening credits montage. But the advantage Art has over most previous attempts at making “the new Freddy” is the aforementioned silence. Just about every quasi-Krueger blew it by making annoying one-liners. Even the actual Freddy clawed himself in the foot by talking too much from part 4 on, making us realize what a terrible sense of humor he has, and watering down the franchise to the point that Wes Craven could no longer contain the ancient supernatural entity that inspired Freddy.

So far Art is safe from that type of downfall. There’s just no opportunity for bad puns. I think of him as this demonic embodiment of cruelty, a total bastard who goes around sadistically mauling people for no reason at all, enjoying it, making a joke out of it. While Freddy became a comedian, this guy is more of a troll, because the humor is usually for his benefit alone, though here I did laugh when he served a group of trick-or-treaters candy from a bowl made out of the real home owner’s head. (They were impressed.)

This is one of those movies that’s a challenge to review because I’m excited to have seen it and be writing about it, but I know it’s a very small group of people I’m talking to. I absolutely can’t recommend TERRIFIER 2 for casual horror fans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the hardcores are gonna love it either, since they tend to be so specific about what they’re looking for and not looking for. It will be too much for plenty of people and not done well enough for others. And then from whoever’s left you gotta cut it down to the ones who have time for a movie that long.

So I’m not making any guarantees or predictions. But if you’re down to clown…

I apologize for that pun, and more than that for going to such dark places in this review. I hope that wasn’t too much, but I think part of the appeal of horror is that it gives us the courage to look these things in the eye, or at least between our fingers. In a world of meaningless evil, it’s inspiring to see somebody win a round against Art the Clown, even though we know the motherfucker will pop right back up, smiling bigger and nastier than ever.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022 at 5:13 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

68 Responses to “Terrifier 2”

  1. Thanks for the warning on the real life murder (or whatever it was, didn’t read it) paragraph. Recently I’ve been around too many Debby Downers, who would just drop some horrifying shit on you in a conversation without askingyou first if oyu wanna hear it.

  2. Vern, I think you’re spot on in that these movies do keep a distance – the violence is… performative? which is kind of a small detail but makes it different to most horror movies these days (and torture porn).
    That ‘discomfort laugh’ is very much what movies like these are after.

    Your review was enough to make me get over my distrust of killer clown movies (and the internet buzz, which I was also wary of) and watch the first movie in the leadup to Halloween, and it was a lot of fun! Not perfect, but a good, nasty, fun slasher. Even *that scene* was done in such an over the top way, with the clown kinda, well, clowning around to his audience (both us and the girl) that I was able to appreciate it and not worry about it in the same way I would have if, say, Dave DeFalco had done it. Grueling in a good way. I’m not saying every movie needs to button push like this, but I’m glad some still do.

    Knowing they course corrected without fixing what wasn’t broke is great news. I’m very much up for the sequel.

  3. I do–uh–appreciate that the filmmakers responded to the ‘gee, I don’t know… This stuff seems awfully close to torture porn…’ criticisms by having the follow-up include a seemingly twenty minute scene of a girl being tortured.

    There are many things you could accuse the filmmakers of, but ‘vague intentions’ is not one of them.

  4. I’m not gonna watch either TERRIFIER similarly to why I’m not watching HELLRAISER because I’m not an ultra-gore hound, but I wish them the best in diversifying genre cinema.
    Regarding SMILE, I saw it and I mostly liked it. It has “elevated horror”ish tendencies, being about (as usual) trauma, but it is also very explicitly about people being plagued by an evil spirit or demon that has rules for the most part and does depict a woman constantly having her reality upended and having to question everything, and some gnarly sequences where wild shit happens. Where it loses me is its ending, which left me confused about what I thought the movie was trying to say thematically. Especially since if it wanted to not go the more expected resolution, it could have went with something else the movie sure SEEMED to be setting up earlier, leading me to wonder if they did reshoots or script edits to change the original ending.

  5. I think part of its success can be attributed to a change we’re seeing in viewer preferences – people want to see maximalism. They want it over the top, crazy, and fun. Everything everywhere all at once, but for horror! There’s your winning ticket.

  6. After making do with aggressively minimalist horror for so long, can you blame us for wanting a little more?

    I was about to say that I was ridiculously excited for this but won’t be able to see it until the Blu-ray drops, but holy shit, it’s actually playing in my town’s shitty mall cinema! As this sight’s preeminent (possibly only) TERRIFIER fan, I never thought in a million years this aggresively niche endeavor would attract anywhere near this much attention. I thought maybe my days of going to the theater were behind me, but I may have to make an exception. I got tomorrow off. I’m down to clown. Fingers crossed I get to see an elevated horror fan puke on himself.

  7. Honestly I would be surprised if any of those puke and faint stories were true. Walkouts, sure. But that shit reminds me of all the horror stories people told back in the days about THE EXORCIST. My favourite was the one that my mother told me, about a school trying to scare the kids straight from watching horror movies, so they all went to see that movie with their teacher, only to run out mid-movie, puking like crazy.

  8. That said: I do appreciate the return of those old fashion marketing urban legends. At least this time it about “a little movie that could” and the stories were most likely tongue-in-cheek told by the director, instead of Netflix paying an advertising agency to convince people that a Sandra Bullock movie that nobody liked caused people to run into traffic with their eyes closed.

  9. This was a 2.5 million dollar movie. I don’t remember where I can source this but I remember reading that and I’m not the one writing the article. So. You source it. But the movie had a set budget for $250 thousand and made 4x that. It’s a 2.5 million dollar movie.

  10. Honestly I would be surprised if any of those puke and faint stories were true.

    Of course they’re true!
    I also have a bridge downtown you may be interested in purchasing…

    It reminds me when I somehow ended up with passes to an advance screening of Hostel, which also happened to be the critics screening. So it was at 10 am, not midnight or whatever. So, the studio person hands out press sheets and thanks us for coming, like a standard press screening. But then, this guy with very gelled hair comes bounding up the aisle with a cordless mic. It’s Eli Roth! And he’s going to ‘ballyhoo’ the crowd of twenty critics (?? !! ??)

    “So, on a serious note, there’s been people getting sick and passing out at these screenings. So if you’re starting to feel ill, there’s exits at the rear, and one up here to the left. Nobody’s going to think you’re a pussy or anything. Well, we might think it, but we won’t say it” –Pause for laugh that doesn’t come– “What am I talking about? You guys can take this shit!” –pause for ‘woo’ that’s never said– “But seriously, people have been getting sick. It’s wild…”

    I looked back at the studio lady who seemed like she was the one who was going to be sick…

    Per the norm, she was by the door as we filed out, thanking us again for attending and making sure we had press sheets. So I had to ask:

    “Did he know this was a critics screening?”
    “He knew… He’s… An enthusiastic guy…”

  11. The puke stories sounded like bullshit to me, too, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

  12. No one’s had to do with only minimalist A24 horror. You get a few of those a year, most of them are low budget things that go to streaming.

    This year aside from Terrifier 2 you had Scream, Nope, X, Pearl, Men, Prey, Beast, Smile, Barbarian, V/H/S/99, Hellraiser, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween Ends, Crimes of the Future, The Black Phone, Day Shift, Deadstream, Dashcam, Godforsaken…not a lot of slow paced crybaby movies in there, and of course plenty of others. And shit for all the old guys out there you even got another shitty Fred Olen Ray movie.

    2021: Malignant, Army of the Dead, Last Night in Soho, Halloween Kills, The Fear Street series, V/H/S/94, Candyman, Antlers, The Sadness, Shadow in the Cloud, Willy’s Wonderland, The Forever Purge, A Quiet Place Part II, Spiral: From the Book of Saw, Wrong Turn, Psycho Goreman, Pussycake. This isn’t including all the small movies…this is a batch of pretty energetic, crazy-ass movies (not even all work) and some pretty good ones (don’t care for the sequels which I didn’t see). As for slow ones you got what, the Night House? And not only are they energetic many of these are pretty damn gory too.

    2020: Less good crop and a lot of mid tier crap, but you still got The Invisible Man, Underwater, Host, The Hunt, Anything For Jackson, Freaky, The Grudge, Peninsula, Vivarium, Castle Freak.

    It’s not until you get to the previous year that you get the twofer of The Lighthouse and Midsommar, but there were still plenty of other movies that were not A24 style. Horror has actually been pretty damn good. People act like Hollywood has always been releasing Return of the Living Dead constantly back in the day, instead of also a bunch of Roberta Findlay movies (and A24 style horrors like The Changeling or Heaven forbid Don’t Look Now).

  13. I could believe someone puking in Terrifier 2, but because they’re drunk off their ass or something. I can’t see someone throwing down cash to see that movie who would actually get sick at it. Kind of like people got sick at Blair Witch but it was motion sickness, not the Terror of the Screen.

  14. CJ – The fainting/puking stories just came some from people tweeting about their friends (one including a photo of EMTs tending to them). No doubt the producers were happy that it got picked up by EW and Variety, but it really doesn’t seem to have been an intentional marketing ploy.

    https://ew.com/movies/terrifier-2-fainting-vomiting-art-the-clown/

  15. Travis- Not exactly sure what point you’re trying to make but last I checked 4x 250k equals one million not 2.5 million.

  16. The fainting/puking stories just came some from people tweeting about their friends (one including a photo of EMTs tending to them).

    And the bridge buyer is…

    (if you pay someone $20 to ‘pass out’ in a crowded screening, something tells me one or two people are going to tweet about it. They use to pay people to wig the fuck out during screenings of Exorcist knock-offs, as if the movie itself possessed them. Twitter just wasn’t invented then, so they had to pull it in every town they booked. The kids have it so easy these days)

  17. I just it looked at the tweet, and passing out only seemed to occur during it’s Fantom events one-night-only run

    'Terrifier 2' - Uncut and Uncompromised, Indie Slasher Carves Out $400,000 Thursday Night Box Office!

    Terrifier 2 is unprecedented. We brought an uncut, uncompromised, 138-minute-long ultra slasher to 900 movie theaters across the country

    Gee, I wonder how they knew which screening to put a ringer in?

  18. Wait, they remade castle freak and somehow I miss it for two years straight? What the hell-

    -Reads some reviews-

    Well, ok, but I’m still watching the hell out of it.

  19. Mr. M: you are definitely not the only fan of the first TERRIFIER. It’s a movie I struggled with AN aspect of for a little while recently, but I’ve also watched it like 4 or 5 times since 2016 (and I’m not always the biggest rewatcher) AND after part 2 I can place it in a broader context, so I’ve let go of that doubt I had and I trust my first-time-watch reaction, which was “this is an instant Slasher classic.”

  20. Watching it on a screening link at home the length didn’t bother me. But it did prevent me from seeing the only local 10:30 pm show so I guess they were hoisted by their own petard?

    One thing I like is how Art provokes reasonable people. Like if you’re a store clerk and some clown is miming shit at you and counting singles and pennies, it’s going to piss you off. And Art is counting on that because he’s far more vicious than the annoying clown you’re expecting at that point.

    The lesson is be patient with clowns I guess?

    Also I’m sure the puking stories are exaggerated but I love how much faith people put into marketing departments to pull off a hoax like that. Have you MET marketing people and their ideas of viral sensations? That said, those stories and the surprising box office are what put this on my radar so mission accomplished.

  21. The operative question here is. How many more people are puking and fainting at showings of Terrifier 2 than at say Top Gun Maverick or Ticket to Paradise?

    I’m sure people faint and puke in Pixar film screenings too. Out of a sample of hundreds of thousands or millions. Correlation does not equal causation.

    Maybe they undercooked the hot dogs at the concession stand (very presumptive of me to assume that Merkins eat hot dogs at the cinema but…)

  22. If anything those damn hotdogs are OVERCOOKED! I worked in a small movie theatre back in the day and we left those fuckers on for days, until they totally shriveled up. I was like who’s going to buy one of those things? NO ONE.

  23. Looks like that guy who got woozy was a friend who got talked into going to the movie by a gorehound horror fan, so I could see him getting sickened. I was once involved in a no-budget fairly crap horror movie that had some gruesome scenes and people walked out of that at festivqal screening…and I’m sure it was way less effective than that movie. And at the premiere a few people walked out too, like girlfriends of people in it.

  24. I didn’t hear any stories about people throwing up at The Rise of Skywalker, and if that movie can’t make people vomit, nothing can.

  25. Travis corrected himself on Twitter, he misheard a Youtube video.

    As for the fainting, that’s fine, you don’t have to believe it’s real, maybe it’s not. I just think it is because it seems very plausible that someone would be grossed out in packed screening, and if they really called EMTs as a stunt I don’t think they’d have the discipline to just leave it at “ha ha, my friend almost passed out.” Also it would be a corny stunt.

    For the record I almost walked out on the adrenaline shot scene when I saw PULP FICTION the first time ’cause I thought I was gonna puke. And I witnessed a person running out the exit door of a RESERVOIR DOGS screening and immediately puking. It happens.

  26. Upon further investigation it seems the passing out guy is in Seattle, so it was likely in the same theater I saw it. I should go interview the staff there. (Also I’d now bet money it really happened. Look at the guy’s Twitter account. Just some dude who likes horror movies and soccer, thinks it’s funny that he got interviewed about it, has moved on with his life.)

  27. I thought the puking stories were a marketing ploy too, but my podcast cohost and I were at a screening in NYC two weekends ago and someone puked during the scene with the possum guts. I took a picture and tweeted it and one of the executive producers, Steve Barton saw the tweet and came on our show.

    Link below for non-believers:
    https://twitter.com/TheBOBoysPod/status/1584562861644599296

  28. There are tweets of my bridge too:

    Hit me up if interested

  29. Okay, you don’t have to believe in puke, but eventually you’re gonna run into it. It’s out there and it will come for you.

  30. Okay, while it seems like it wasn’t a marketing ploy (at least not originally), I still have trouble believing that it actually happened or that it was specifically triggered by the movie. I remember when apparently one audience member fainted at the premiere of FROZEN (The one about people stuck on a ski lift, not the Disney musical) and I buy that, because the person seemed to have a fear of heights. Or that people were fleeing screenings of THIRTHIRTEENEN GHOSTS, because the editing and sound mixing caused some kind of photosensitive reaction. But unless whatever made them feel sick was connected to a traumatic real life memory, I doubt that anybody who actually likes to watch horror movies like the guy who claims to have it happen to him, would have SUCH a reaction to fictional violence.

  31. I mean, don’t get me wrong, when I saw The Fly in 1986 some lady in front of me barfed in her popcorn bag

    The difference is, two weeks later Entertainment Weekly wasn’t running a “Lady Barfs in Popcorn Bag During Screening of ‘The Fly'” story.

  32. And please don’t take my skepticism as a dig against the movie. I’m not sure if I will ever watch it, but I have no beef with it and am actually quite proud of some guys making an independent horror movie that doesn’t seem to suck and even becomes a bit of a mainstream phenomenon.

  33. I don’t know about the reports specifically for this movie, but I was at the midnight screening of Neighborhood Watch at Fantasia and somebody passed out and they had to call the paramedics. The host announced it after it was over and we all cheered. A guy also passed out at a prenatal class we were taking when they showed the epidural go in. So it happens! :)

  34. In my lifetime, I have puked at home, work, school, bars and restaurants (almost always in the bathroom), the supermarket, the Smithsonian, and probably other venues I’m forgetting– but I don’t think I’ve ever thrown up at a movie.

  35. The only movie that ever made me throw up was EDDIE MURPHY DELIRIOUS but that’s just because I was laughing so hard. Back in Brooklyn, I did once puke over a police barrier at a black Hebrew wizard parade on Grand Army Plaza at like 2:00 in the morning after doing too much blow at an underground casino/speakeasy in a basement somewhere in Crown Heights. That was probably my most cinematic puke. I don’t like being out past 9:00 these days so I doubt I’ll ever top it. But I’m going to see TERRIFIER 2 in a couple hours so I’ll let you guys know. Fingers crossed.

  36. Okay, I guess I’ve got to throw this out there.

    I saw Blair Witch opening night with a PACKED house. The theater was, like, two-thirds empty by the end. A shucking.

    But THE big one was Saving Private Ryan on opening night. SO many people openly weeping and wailing, elderly women being escorted out, literally people screaming aloud, kids balled up in their seats sobbing…
    It was unreal.

    Runner-ups: The Raid in a packed house at the Alamo DT. That was awesome, everyone was juking and jiving and shadow boxing.

    And The Descent. Opening night, in a dark, loud theater was gangbusters. You could hear people shaking next to you. And the jump-screams!?!

  37. I think I puked while watching Lady Terminator at the Alamo but that was a Weird Wednesday and I was fucking drunk before it even started.

  38. Can’t say I’ve ever been around anyone puking at a movie, but I can believe it happens. I’ve seen people have panic attacks (well, more heard than seen I guess because it was dark) in a few movies. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever puked from seeing something no matter how gross it is. But smells on the other hand will get me. So I suppose if I were to go to some smell-o-vision screening of something like Terrifier 2, I might puke.

  39. Let me restate that I was drunk as rat in a sock thrown in a pond.

    But I’ve seen some walkouts on stilted legs. Hell, when I saw Breakdown there were older couples walking out.

    Some people really do go to the cinema, pick a flick and have no idea what they’re in for.

    I shrug at it, mostly, at my age.

    Cinema hoists itself on its own petard, we are expected to criticize now, it’s the only discourse on film anymore. So, as William Castle as these antics are or aren’t, God I appreciate a film as simple as this is getting buzz.

    This might be the start of a new cycle of goopy slasher supernatural shit that, say, Maj has been rooting for.

    Do I want to cancel A24 flicks? Fuck no.

    Do I want more of Terrifier-types? Fuck yes.

    I’m just leaning back in my chair enjoying the diversity and proliferation of horror flicks now. It’s really easy for me to weed out what I like or don’t dig.

    Do I miss passing VHS boxes at the grocery store that promised “sights you’ve never seen”? Yes, yes I do.

    But evolution happens. The hot ticket burns up. Tastes change. Social occurrences color the themes in retrospect. Yadda yadda yadda, and I’m tired today.

    Just look at them as films, guys. Not a personal journal of those involved. Violence in a horror film (mostly, I won’t get into Chaos) is, frankly, what we’re there for.

    Talk up all the suspenseful stalk sequences of film but know this: they pay off. Blood is shed. That’s why we choose to watch these films.

    We all want horror that doesn’t “wimp out”, yes?

    And when one comes along we all get hyper-opinionated over it. It’s a ghoulish gore-fest meant to capture the video-nasties era of cheap but big ideas splattered across the run-time.

    Pfft.

    You buy the ticket, you take the ride. I ain’t gonna Indian give on that.

  40. I haven’t seen Terrifier 2 yet, I wasn’t really planning on it, but Vern’s review has me convinced I may appreciate it more than the original, besides that I’m a glutton for punishment, so I’ll see if giving me a protagonist to root for make it feel like less of a slog.

    The only movie that has made me puke is the rampage from “Meet the Feebles”, and it wasn’t even my first time seeing the movie.
    it would have been 22 years ago, but the evening had already included a 40 oz of Old Stock and some shots of cheap rye and fireball ( bourbon dredges flavoured with cinnamon, for those who don’t know), and as I was selling dime bags as my after school job, the joints were being passed back and forth like a merry go round, but despite the argument that I could easily blame my intoxication, I distinctly remember having a good time up until that Hippo cracked, and then I remember my disgust giving way to nausea and having to excuse myself to excise my disgust.

  41. I’ve never seen any barfing at the movies. Thank God, because I have sensitive gag reflexes and would probably end up joining them. However, I had an old boss who pissed her pants (and the theater seat) when she saw CARRIE but it was because her friend had already seen it and grabbed her at the end when the hand came out of the grave.

  42. One of my earliest memories is puking my guts out to Pete’s Dragon and Bedknobs and broomsticks – that’s not on the films, though, I was seriously ill.

    I went to see The Fountain with a friend, and the cinema was completely empty except for a trio of teenaged girls. I’m guessing because they thought it was a romantic movie with Hugh Jackman.
    The trailers in front of it included Norbit and some other deeply shitty comedy, at which they laughed their collective asses off and very loudly expressed their enthusiasm to see them. They commented on all the ads, all the trailers, and kept on talking until the studio logos were done, at which point they politely settled down.

    By the point at which Hugh Jackman is doing Tai Chi in silhouette against the universe, though, one of them let out a “What. The. Fuck!”
    None of them puked or walked out though, so good on them.

  43. A trio of teenage girls a row or two behind me applauded at the end of FRED CLAUS, and to this day I periodically wonder if that was sincere or sarcasm

    (Applauding at films isn’t really done in the UK, the only other time I witnessed it was at FAST FIVE)

  44. My favorite is a little girl vomited in the press screening of Bourne Supremacy after the car chase. I asked Greengrass to answer for it the next day. He laughed but didn’t change his shitty style.

  45. ME: One for TERRIFIER 2, please.
    CASHIER: I’m supposed to tell you that this is like the worst, most disgusting and violent and disturbing movie ever.
    ME: I’m counting on it.

    Ladies and gentlemen, it delivered. This movie does everything it says on the tin. It is utterly repulsive. It is the most vicious, gratuitous, and excessive film I’ve ever seen in a movie theater. And I saw THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE in the theater.

    I walked out of that theater feeling better than I’ve felt in months. It reminded me of why I like horror in the first place.

    Catch it if you can, folks.

    And if you bring a friend, make sure it’s someone you can afford to lose. They might not look at you the same afterward.

  46. Happy for you, Maj. We all deserve such satisfaction.

  47. A good marketing gimmick would be to pass out free barf bags for this.

  48. Pacman, I will always remember how I watched ICE AGE 2 opening night in a Canadian movie theatre. (It was my birthday, SLITHER wasn’t playing nearby and I’m still a huge defender of ICE AGE 1 [and 3].) The audience applauded! Not just at the end, but also during cartain scenes. For ICE AGE 2! I just assume reacting like that is a North American thing, because the only time I ever saw a German movie audience doing something like that was during a STAR TREK night in 1998, where all eight movies were shown. And I don’t count that, because it was a special event full of nerds.

  49. In Argentina it was pretty common to clap at movies – I remember Dead Poets Society got a standing ovation, even. But I haven’t seen it happen here in the UK a single time, except for BFI festival showings with some of the makers in attendance.

  50. I’d come across Ichi the Killer and finally got the dvd a couple of years after it came out, I’d have been about 18. I was so pumped/terrified for it I made a point of having a bin next to me while was watching it in case I was so disturbed by it I found my self needing to urgently vomit. I didn’t puke, but it still didn’t disappoint!

    I went to see the lives of others with my father when it came out. It was in a small theater attached to the University where my dad used to lecture and was part of a special presentation where an expert on East Germany gave a talk to add some extra context.
    It’s a brilliant movie and has one of the most perfect final lines of all time (if you’ve not seen it yet wait ling enough to forget I said that so you don’t go in with any expectations) – credits start and my dad next to me starts to lose it a bit, saying appreciative quiet oh, ohs! and bursts into spontaneous applause. Most of the theater joined it. He’s in a care home now wiyh dementia but that memory of unbridled joy is one of my favourites.

  51. Absolutely loved this – think the thing that makes it
    for me – and the reason why I think the people saying this is mean are missing something significant – is just how sweet it is. It’s something very few slashers, or films generally with a rep for being extreme, has. There’s an earnestness to its characterisation of Sienna – it is a very OTT, gory film – but it is sweet and sincere too! It’s the big thing that makes this work, in a way your human centipedes and serbian films and so on dont at all – there kind of is a balance of light and shade.

    Agree part of why this film has connected really is because Art reads as a kind of amped up online troll –
    I think this one develops that theme a bit further with the siblings. Sienna is characterised as basically a ‘good fan’, creative and constructive, making fanart and cosplaying and being generous – whereas Jonathan is on a path to being a ‘bad fan’, being edgy and online in a bad way, learning that’s a bad way to behave.

  52. I really like your reading of Jonathan vs. Sienna there, Steven. I think I was on the edge of picking up on that, but you got me there. I like that his obsessions are worrying to Sienna but it doesn’t make him a bad person. Also, we hear from their mom that Sienna has done things that made her worry there was something wrong with her. They both have that potential but hopefully won’t turn into Art the Clowns.

  53. Sorry for the off topic nitpick, but I am once again reminded that I somehow saw a completely different HUMAN CENTIPEDE than anyone else.. wasn’t the gore and grossness mostly implied / hidden behind bandages etc? I remember being surprised but what a restrained film it was. The sequel not so much.

    My pick for the most extreme theatrical release I’ve experienced would be the EVIL DEAD remake

  54. Yeah, I’ve always said that it’s surprisingly tasteful for what it is. Classy, even. I only referenced it because it’s the most notorious movie I’ve ever seen in the theater.

    The second one, though, actually is the unrepentant filth the original is accused of being.

  55. Finally got around to seeing this. It’s a legitimate almost-great horror movie!
    I love how its ‘course correction’ is in part to add an almost as sexualized, much more violent kill than in the first one, and then (SPOILERS?) doing in a dude in a weirdly sexualized way as well, but more importantly to add a story and likeable characters with some emotional honesty and to bring out the sense of perverse fun that was already present in the first movie, but more hidden.

    I didn’t like the dream sequence either -it felt like part of a much crappier movie- and there was a little too much flab, to the point where by the end I was getting a little impatient, but those are pretty minor complaints. I was seriously impressed, and the more I think about it the more I like it.
    Sincerely, thank you all for getting me to see the series. When I first noticed the internet going crazy over this for some reason I thought this would all be edgelord crap like the last puppetmaster, but it’s the perfect antidote to that: heart-felt, and bursting with ideas, enthusiasm and cool stuff to show fellow gorehounds.

  56. To everybody’s surprise, this movie actually passed the German ratingsboard completely uncut a few days ago.

  57. This started off as what I like to call “awful-some”, a kind of so-bad-it’s-good. By the end, tho, I was fully invested in Sienna’s story (despite her silly name-is ‘Sienna’ a legit name nowadays?) and am totally looking forward to a Terrifier 3 and more of the developing mythology of Art and his world.

    But the highlight of this incredibly awful year will be my having seeing this on the big screen with a dozen Arkansan dumbshits who most likely had no idea what they were getting themselves into and just cackling my ass off from the front row while they winced and gasped. No puking or fainting, I don’t think, but it still feels like a miracle that this silly little grotesquerie made it all the way to the Malco theatre in Fort Smith, AR. For a few moments, it was almost worth being stuck back in my hometown after 15 years in Austin.

  58. Looks like the strangulating reign of A24 is over! Coming to theaters near us is an 80s Christmas slasher with an evil Santa, and you know it will be archly 80s because Joe Begos is making it and that’s the only style he knows! And the actor who plays Art the Clown RETURNS to beat records playing an evil killer Grinch! So much quality shit coming to us.

  59. If that Grinch movie will be released. So far there has been no official word from the Dr Seuss estate yet, but making a horror movie based on a kids book character that is NOT in the public domain, doesn’t seem like a smart move to me. Wouldn’t be surprised if there are already a bunch of lawyers checking if this might not count as protected parody at all.

  60. “Dude, woah, I’ve got an idea for a movie! What if The Grinch…stayed Grinchy?!? And maybe said “Fuck” a few times?!?”

  61. Well, if Blood and Honey can get a release despite Disney… (Pooh and piglet are fresh off PD, but not Tigger, because he appeared in a latter book; guessing they’re saving him for the sequel. And Pooh can’t have a red shirt, because that’s a Disney… trademark, I guess. These laws are weird.)
    And if the Terrifier 2 success can give Begos a boost that would be awesome; the guy deserves a wider audience. I was kind of expecting hollywood to take all the wrong lessons from it (and there’s certainly time for that) but yeah, the effect on smaller stuff is looking pretty good.

  62. I always like remembering that OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL had to be careful not to infringe on the specific shade of green for the Wicked Witch of the West that is owned by WB via their acquisition of the 1939 film.

  63. I’m absolutely no expert in copyright law, but I can imagine that even if they avoid calling the horror Grinch “Grinch”, his look alone might already cause some trouble. At least that Horror Pooh movie was as mentioned about a character who is now in public domain, as long as he isn’t wearing specific outfits or mentions certain friends.

    Copyright is a bitch. I will always remember that interview where the creators of KIM POSSIBLE weren’t allowed to make a PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN reference in one episode, although they were both Disney productions. Or how the creators of PHINEAS & FERB had to go through lots of red tape for a throwaway joke about HOWARD THE DUCK, although by that time Marvel was already part of Disney.

    Granted, Dr Seuss isn’t Disney (yet?), but the people who made that not-GRINCH movie were either really smart or really dumb.

  64. Some of that is probably more weird Disney corporate siloing that has been going on since the early Eisner days than copyright per say, and yes I will be mentioning BONKERS soon, how did you guess? That’s why Donald only appeared in very few episodes of DUCK TALES even though he was a central character in several of the comic stories they were adapting, because they had some rule about their main characters not appearing in TV shows outside of brief cameos, that was apparently only flexible to the point of brief cameos. I guess that got relaxed a few years later when they gave non-Sports Domestic Goofy his own show, and then even further with SAD OLD DONALD VS HIS RADSOME TEENAGE NEPHEWS: THE SERIES (know as QUACK PACK in some regions), although they apparently kept that iron clad for a few more years with Mickey, leading to a (here it comes!) episode of BONKERS where a character who is obviously Mickey is kidnapped, but he’s never explicitly named and only seen in shadows with the occasional voice chirp, which obviously is funnier and more entertaining than just having the character appear and not do much, but is still kind of odd in retrospect. Ironically PHINEAS AND FERB probably could have referenced Howard the Duck as often as they wanted if it *wasn’t* a Disney show; going back a while but CAROLINE IN THE CITY had at least one memorable HTD in-joke.

    Although I think other companies, specifically Warner Bros, have also adopted Disney’s “siloing” approach at time, although apparently not enough to stop Ken Russell characters appearing in SPA2E JAM.

    (Have you seen any of HAMSTER & GRETEL btw CJ? It’s not bad)

  65. Sadly haven’t seen it yet, but after the one-two punch of PHINEAS & FERB and MILO MURPHY, I will watch anything from Marsh and/or Povenmire.

  66. NOT a fan of Begos. I really hate the indie “I grew up in the 80s and let me just replicate it with red lights and synth music” stuff. Although at least his earlier stuff seemed more interesting at least in concept, now looks like even his plots have devolved.

    The Grinch people are probably alright…not to say they still can’t get the shit sued out of them. But anyone know about the Scream mask? They were going to use that mask which was already made and just get the rights to it…but I guess there was a point they weren’t sure if it was going to work, so they made a knockoff just in case. Which is juuust different enough to avoid copyright. Like, the nose is a bit different. But the difference is so low, that you actually see the mask in the movie in a close up even…cause they had to start shooting it before the deal was made. In the scene where Henry Winkler gets killed, that’s the knockoff.

  67. Eh, like I said, no copyright expert, but I guess making a knockoff of a cheap Halloween mask is a bit different than using a character from a beloved childrens book for a horror movie, even if you avoid using his name and make him look juuuuust different enough, maybe even pull the “It’s a parody!” card.

    But I can also see the Seuss estate going the ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW route, where Disney simply decided to not drag the people who illegally filmed a movie at Disneyworld to the court, because they (correctly) assumed the movie would slip into obscurity quickly and they didn’t want to give them the attention for that stunt.

  68. If anything I’d rather take my chances with a killer Grinch than copying a mask, because to me that seems more defensible as being a parody of something rather than a straight copy.

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