Art the Clown is a fictional character in the Terrifier slasher franchise created by Damien Leone. The character originates from short films in which he was portrayed by Mike Giannelli. However, he gained popularity when he was featured as the central antagonist in the anthology horror film All Hallows’ Eve (2013).
Leone wrote the feature-length Terrifier (2016) as a standalone film focusing solely on the antagonistic Art character and his pursuit of the sister’s Tara (Jenna Kanell) and Victoria Heyes (Samantha Scaffidi). Giannelli, who had retired from acting before this film’s conception, was replaced by actor David Howard Thornton. While the film itself received middling reviews, Thornton’s portrayal received critical acclaim for his use of body language. As of 2020, Thornton has filmed scenes for the upcoming sequel Terrifier 2 (2021).
Art has become a popular figure in the horror genre. He has been featured in a variety of merchandise such as action figures and in body tattoos. In August 2020, it was announced that the character would be featured in a limited edition comic book retelling of the 2016 film.
The character made his debut appearance in the 2008 short film The 9th Circle which follows his pursuit of a young woman named Casey (Kayla Lian) in an empty train station on Halloween night. Merely a supporting character in this film, Art abducts Casey and brings her to a satanic cult to be sacrificed. Art made his next appearance in the 2011 short film Terrifier, where he stalks and torments a young woman who witnesses one of his previous murders. The character made his feature-film debut in All Hallows’ Eve (2013) which incorporates the prior two short films as segments on VHS tapes that Sarah (Katie Maguire) watches with the children she’s babysitting on Halloween night. Art enters the real world and murders the children for a terrified Sarah to find.
In Terrifier (2016), on Halloween night, Art fills a garbage bag with a variety of weapons and begins wandering the streets of Miles County. He stumbles across the drunken Tara Heyes (Jenna Kanell) and Dawn (Catherine Corcoran), the latter who provokes him. He slashes Dawn’s tires and follows them into a nearby pizzeria and finds himself fixated on the distraught Tara. He murders the two girls and anyone in his path. He later begins a hunt for Tara’s older sister Victoria Heyes (Samantha Scaffidi). After running her over with a car, he mutilates her face and commits suicide upon police confrontation, leaving her severely mutilated.
In Terrifier 2, following the mutilation of Victoria and his suicide, Art has become an urban legend in Miles County due to his body disappearing from the morgue. A year later, he is resurrected by a sinister entity and must hunt down the teenager Sienna Shaw (Lauren LaVera) and her younger brother Jonathan (Elliot Fullam) on Halloween night.
Art is set to return in the comic book retelling of the 2016 film.