CONTAINS SPOILERS, HA HA HA
For some reason, we've lost all our bogeymen. The slasher icons from decades past aren't slashing any more: Freddy and Jason were both badly rebooted and both putative franchises came to a juddering halt (though they're trying Jason again), and the new Michael Myers managed two generally awful instalments before he was abandoned as well (although they're trying to resurrect him again as well). A disastrously recast Pinhead was last seen in a placeholder quickie so they could hold on to the remake rights, and Phantasm's Tall Man turned up in a belated and thoroughly underwhelming Part 5, meaning that Jigsaw's pretty much all we've got left now. So maybe it's time we stopped bringing the old scary guys back for an audience that just isn't interested in reboots, maybe we should create some new original scary guys for new original horrors.
Maybe. But Art The Clown isn't it. The implacable, silent and relentless killer from Terrifier (there's no definite article on screen) is certainly creepy and unsettling when he isn't murdering people, when he's just sitting in a diner, in full costume and make-up, staring at the young women he's decided will be his victims tonight. When they find themselves stranded with an inexplicable flat tyre, and one of them needs to use the loo in an apparently empty building, it's only a matter of time before Art picks them off along with anyone else in the vicinity...
Well, okay, but why? Freddy and Michael and Jason had their reasons and rationales, albeit flimsy ones (very flimsy for Jason, though not for Mrs Voorhees), and even second-string slashers from things like My Bloody Valentine and He Knows You're Alone (and a hundred other third- and fourth-stringers) targeted specific people for specific reasons. There's usually a basic backstory behind them (not always: part of the power of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the absence of any kind of context), from sexual obsession to revenge for playground pranks or past trauma. But there isn't any depth or dimension to Art The Clown. He's just butchering strangers for no reason, and if the victims aren't significant to him then why should they be significant to us?
Art's signature is wanton bloody excess, and the splatter highlight of Terrifier has one of the women strung up by her ankles and then bloodily bisected from crotch to throat. It's a needlessly violent kill, more for the prosthetics guys to showcase their talents than for any narrative value, but the end result is like one of Troma's old gore movies where gratuitous schlock was all they had to offer. Elsewhere, Art The Clown actually uses the lamest and laziest and least imaginative weapon of all: a handgun, which as far as I'm concerned is cheating for a wannabe slasher icon of the future.
Terrifier isn't awful: it has a sort of old-fashioned retro charm about it and it does deliver on the blood and gore. But it, and its visually striking villain, just doesn't have anything that might make you want to come back for seconds in a year's time.