I will now consider Terrifier 2.
They say spooky season is upon us, and the spate of horror films available in popular cinemas is evidence of that. I will take this opportunity to turn my attention toward the arcane and occult for a moment or two. As I have mentioned before, the realm of lightless shadows and weirder lights is my natural state and all other notions are the emanation of an avatar formed in the stew of charged quantum states. As you do.
I don’t need to list the abundant praise that has been heaped upon this recent installment of this punchy indie franchise. I am not here to take a contrarian tack – much of this praise is deserved and the meta story of Damien Leone’s creation is enough to overwhelm the jaded chambers of the still beating heart of this Gen X’er. There is an indie film zeitgeist here, and it recalls the up from the depths successes of the past. Consider Halloween, et al.
Leone has learned well from these films, as there is an artfullness to his creations that feels familiar to students of sincere horror cinema. Yes, horror clowns are a trite trope. Yes, misogynistic violence is so tired and obvious.
Have you seen this clown? Did you watch the ultimate late night pizza creeper scene in Terrifier? Did you see this mime monster for what it was? Or at least, what you thought it was?
Terrifier 2 and Art the Clown
Let us consider Art the Clown. Across the major films in Leone’s story, Art has followed the established arc for big screen slashers. Origin, demise, and undeath. While we can debate the grey lines of art and commerce as it relates to the competing needs to both destroy the evil force and keep it around for sequels; the fact is there is something deeply occult about the transcendence of these creatures. They are essentially performances of Ascension, drawn from Vasilius Nekron and its many acolytes and would-be initiates. I cannot say if Leone is an initiate of Vasilius, but a working has certainly enveloped his work of Art, so to speak.
Those of us who are casually acquainted with the Work of Vasilius know there is a liminal space; possibly Jungian, possibly Magickal, possibily something altogether uncanny, that art of the imagination can occupy. Different artists will describe their experiences in different ways, of course.
Some artists channel, some have visions, some hear voices, some even claim to be subject to degrees of possesion. Underlying all of these attempts to explain the uncanny is a basic idea that the imagination is subject to powers that are equally unreal and undead. An initiate of Vasilius could strive to bring that unreal power under their control, if only for a brief span of human time.
What is the unreal, after all, if not the realm of phantoms, of spirits, of shadow faeries and the universal “bump in the night”? Fear is a defining feature of the Unreal. If something is real, it can be understood, it can be destroyed. If something is real, it can be known and understood.
Art the Clown is a manifestation of this Unreal. I cannot say to what degree this manifestation was present in each of the parts of its creation. Let’s not dismiss the performance work of actors Mike Giannelli and David Howard Thornton, who represented Art for the cameras. While Damien Leone is undoubtly the human force at the center of the Terrifier universe (Writer/Director/Makeup FX), we should open ourselves to the possibility that a Vasilius initiate has brought Art the Clown into our world, using Leone as unwilling tool of the Work of Vasilius.
I should probably take a moment to offer some words of context. When I was in high school, a math teacher gave me a D when I turned in a very ornate and demonic pentagram for a geometric shape assignment. She refused to hang it in the classroom, explaining to me that according to her religious beliefs a representation of evil was in fact an evil thing. I laughed through my anger. I don’t know to what degree her fundementalism belonged in a public high school, but all in all I decided to take it as a win. If my drawing invoked such a response in her, then I could take that as point of pride.
Anyway, aren’t I sort of saying the same thing? Am I saying that Art the Clown is an evil thing and is an expression of an evil force in the world? I am not. I did not think that a demon was going to emerge from my drawing and take Ms. Geometry to hell. I do not think that Art the Clown will emerge from the screen and unleash mayhem in the world outside of the cinema. Not because it is impossible, but because I do not believe there is an initiate with the mastery to make this so. You could make the case that whoever has done the work to bring Art the Clown to our awareness might very well want this to happen, but as is often the case with initiates, they greatly overestimate thier own abilities.
Terrifier 2 bends toward the weird in a way that is an intriguing development for the project. While it is, honestly, a little bit uneven, the introduction of deeply occult elements is an exciting evolution. Honestly, I might not have even considered the film as being part of a larger Vasilius Nekron project if not for the tell-tale semiotics of the Unreal that span the end of Terrifier and the entirety of Terrifier 2.
However, the signs are there, so it is best to consider what is in the shadows behind the shadows.
“It is, therefore, no argument against ceremonial magic to say that it is “absurd” to try to raise a thunderstorm by beating a drum; it is not even fair to say that you have tried the experiment, found it would not work, and so perceived it to be “impossible.” You might as well claim that, as you had taken paint and canvas, and not produced a Rembrandt, it was evident that the pictures attributed to his painting were really produced in quite a different way.” – Aleister Crowley
“Soon I discovered that this rock thing was trueJerry Lee Lewis was the devil” – Ministry