A throwback for fans of grindhouse theater.
TERRIFIER pays homage to the grindhouse/double feature era. Although clearly shot in present-day (cell phones, car models, etc), director Damien Leone and cinematographer Christopher Cafaro perfectly encapsulate the feel of grindhouse cinema with the use of pop zooms, sharp cuts, orange/black coloration, and distinct score.
There is no doubt that Art the clown/mime is the star of this film. Mike Gianneli portrays him superbly: he’s creepy, he’s volatile, he’s deadly and he’s memorable. Art is a deadly “entity” ala Pennywise — but he disposes of his victims in the vein of Jason Vorhees (a gorehound’s supernatural killer so to speak). Leone has a franchise-worthy antagonist in Art moving forward.
Nitpicky detractors will wonder why someone with a 21st-century model car and cellphone is waiting on a gas station attendant to fill up her car. They will also wonder why said gas station attendant is necessary for directions when a smartphone is readily available for our protagonist. Others will appreciate the budget constraints & look past them.
Without saying too much about this short film, it plays out much like an urban legend reminiscent of a scary story from a mid-90’s anthology book. The killer is an inescapable entity that haunts his prey. Leone successfully captures this nightmarish feel: it’s welcomingly nostalgic in a morbid kind of way.
Terrifier is a technically sound short film. Damien Leone wrote, directed, edited, produced and provided special effect/makeup — this is his baby. If you are a horror junkie, you are in for a treat and should go ahead and check it out here.