Terrifier 2 has Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp written all over it.
David Howard Thornton’s performance as the movie’s terrifier acts like a corporeal cross between Chaplin’s Tramp — his hat! his facial expressions! he even busts out the duck-waddle walk at one point!— and a sadistic mime.
His character’s name: Art the Clown.
His calling card: drawing “Art” in blood over his utterly defiled corpses.
Which got me mulling the overlaps between Chaplin’s Art and Terrifier’s Art:
They relish in the art of devising and executing (pun intended) practical cinematic spectacle, rooted in the human body. Audiences marveled at the handmade ingenuity and at the clever physical and creative audacity of Charles’ stunts, all while laughing at the (harmless?) pain inflicted on his fictional person.
Terrifier‘s artistic ingenuity also revolves around inducing pain, albeit of a sicker variety. “Marveled” might be the wrong verb, but Terrifier makes its bones (pun!) by reviling the audience with the extremity of its guts and gore, all while leaving them impressed with the practical wizardry required to pull off such excess.
A key component of the connection between Tramp and Terrifier: there’s not a computer in sight to undermine our awe at what human hands can achieve through illusion.
Chaplin invented unforeseen ways to dazzle audiences on a purely practical level, to such a degree that his craft left audiences wondrously wondering how he managed to think of and do it all.
Terrifier operates (THE FUCKING PUNS) by a similar logic, coated in carnage. Is there an Art (his name! his calling card!) to conjuring and seamlessly nailing (P-U-N-S) the worst ways to mutilate the human form, fictionally?
The fact that Art laughs at his brutalized creations feels like the movie challenging the audience to consider this question.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed my considerations!
Perhaps “enjoyed” is, yet again, the wrong word choice…