Bloody Disgusting’s “Terrifier 2” will probably not win any Oscars at next year’s Academy Awards. Heck, it would be a pleasantly amusing surprise if the second Art the Clown slasher flick received any Oscar nominations, even in tech categories related to make-up or visual effects.
But the filmmakers behind this season’s breakout horror film — OK, the season’s *other* breakout horror film (all due respect to “Smile”), have officially pitched themselves for Academy consideration.
Producer Steve Barton told TheWrap on Friday that the submission was legitimate and by the book and that the motivation for filing it was mostly because they could. After all, it’s free to submit a film, and it seems to have gotten the Academy’s attention.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) November 2, 2022
“That’s also a win,” Barton said. “They know we’re coming.”
The obviously tongue-in-cheek teaser for “Terrifier 2,” (embedded below) which highlights the film’s shocking staying power and its fan-driven buzz (two things that don’t always directly correlate), notes that the film has officially been submitted for Academy consideration.
Barton confirmed that there are at least tentative plans to send out award seasons screeners, either physical DVDs or online digital copies. Promotion beyond that is a question of spending money for what is essentially a good-natured practical joke partially for the sake of free publicity.
Yes, it tickles the soul thinking of stereotypical Academy members, or really anyone who isn’t a genuinely committed hardcore horror movie fan, being “forced” to watch Art the Clown’s excessively gruesome follow-up entry as part of their year-end awards season screening sprint.
Damien Leone’s “Terrifier 2” is an unrated and gore-filled slasher epic which continues the not-so-heartwarming adventures of its silent, gleefully homicidal killer clown antagonist (played by David Howard Thornton). It’s a continuation of the 2016 underground slasher flick which was briefly popular on Netflix in late 2017, partially because it popped up on the service right when the first “It” was breaking box office records.
That a sequel exists was a surprise, more so that it ended up with a 850 theater nationwide release (from Thursday to Tuesday in various theaters) on the weekend right between “Smile” and “Halloween Ends.”
It overperformed in early October, earning $805,000 over the Friday-Sunday portion of a $1.36 million Thursday-Tuesday debut. In its second weekend it earned $1.03 million (+28%) despite dropping to 700 theaters. It jumped a “Greatest Showman”-worthy 70% in weekend three for a $1.7 million gross and then expanded to 1,555 theaters over Halloween weekend for a $1.9 million weekend gross.
It has earned over $8.6 million domestic and may crack $10 million by the time it exits theaters. This, despite mostly playing for one or two evening showings per night at participating multiplexes.
The majority of the film operates within the realm of extreme horror content, save for one midfilm murder that probably goes above and beyond the pale. It is still certainly a more challenging watch for those with weak stomachs or strong moral fibers than something like the latest “elevated” A24 horror romp or even an unapologetic old-school slasher like “Scream.” It’s closer to the 1970’s grindhouse films, pictures that were sometimes (in the United Kingdom) called “video nasties” and tended to get banned overseas and were subject to protests and performative backlash.
At 138 minutes, it is long, but to be fair its first act is mostly focused on developing its final girl (Lauren LaVera), and you can see every drop of its 20 gallons’ worth of blood onscreen. It’s the very definition of “not for every taste,” and there are plenty of those who would consider themselves horror movies fans who would, no judgment, nonetheless pass on this one.
In terms of Oscar potential, it’s objectively no more absurd than any number of (arguably harmless) “for your consideration” campaigns waged every year by studios in order to keep their high-profile clients happy. For example, did anyone actually think, back in 1997, that Michael Jordan was going to be nominated for Best Actor in “Space Jam”?
It is amusing to consider “Terrifier 2” ending up in the Thanksgiving weekend screeners pile alongside “The Fabelmans” or “Till.” Nonetheless, the film remains a genuine under-the-radar, fan-driven, word-of-mouth theatrical success. It’s another example of how horror films like “Freaky,” “A Quiet Place part II,” “Barbarian” and “Smile” (and, if you count them as monster movies, “Godzilla Vs. Kong” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”) have helped to keep multiplexes alive in between periodic tentpole releases since late 2020.
Moreover, it’s another example of how lower-profile films targeted as smaller-sized but committed demographics (“Christmas With the Chosen,” “RRR,” “BTS: Permission To Dance,” “Demon Slayer The Movie,” etc.) can pull consistently solid grosses even as studio programmers and non-tentpoles become riskier as theatrical bets.
While “Terrifier 2’ probably won’t pose a threat to the likes of “Tár,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” or “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” it remains one of the year’s most refreshing theatrical success stories.
“If the Academy had a sense of humor,” Barton said, “they’d let Art the Clown come up to the stage and present an award.”