I started watching and writing almost immediately after watching 2016’s horror film, Terrifier. I found myself so smitten with Terrifier and Art the Clown, that I had to know more. After a bit of research I learned that Damien Leone created Art the Clown as part of a short horror film called the The 9th Circle. The response to the character was good so he did another short film, also called Terrifier. In 2013, Damien Leone assembled these pieces into a Halloween horror anthology called All Hallows Eve. This is the review of that film.
It should be noted, Art the clown is played by Mike Giannelli in this film. He is replaced by David Howard Thornton in the feature film Terrifier. The character of Art evolves considerably within the confines of this film.
All Hallows Eve, the Unifying Thread
A woman named Sarah, played by Katie Maguire, babysits Tia and Timmy on All Hallows Eve. After taking them trick-or-treating, Timmy finds a VHS tape in his trove of goodies. Of course, he wants to watch the film. At first Sarah resists, but eventually, she agrees to do a quick screen of the film to find that it is just a horror movie. Still apprehensive, she agrees to let the children watch the film. Although the film does not title the first episode of the anthology, research reveals that The 9th Circle is the first up.
Clowning Around the Train Station – Episode 1
The first episode of All Hallows Eve begins in a train station. A woman named Casey minds her own business, reading on a bench. Eventually, she looks up and sees a strange clown, Art the Clown, sitting on a bench across from her. At this point I do not remember any reference to the clown being named Art, so I am not sure how he was referred to in 2008 when The 9th Circle was released. Anyway, I digress. At first Art annoys Casey, but then tried to make friends by giving her a flower. When Casey realizes that the flower is filled with roaches she recoils. While distracted, Art sedates her with a well placed hypodermic needle in her hand.
Welcome to the 9th Circle
When Casey comes to, she finds herself fettered by a long chain. She shares a dark space with two other women, also chained. Inexplicably, an unseen force violently drags one of the women away by the chain. This leaves Casey with one other survivor, Kristen. Rather than await for their fate, the pair decide to follow their chains. Once they find the end of the line, they try to break the chains with a rock. Believe it or not, this is where things get weird.
First, a giant monster slaughters Kristen with a meat cleaver. Inadvertently, the monster cuts Casey’s chain allowing her to flee. Quickly, she finds herself trapped in a room with several hooded figures. The dark catacombs are filled demons and monsters. Casey witnesses a demon remove a fetus from a pregnant woman. To conclude the episode, one of the demons rapes the Casey.
The action shifts back to Sarah and the kids in the living room. Horrified, Sarah pulls the VHS tape from the machine and tell the kids to go to bed.
Art the Clown’s associate with the demons reveals a secret about him. There is something supernatural about Art. Art possesses a connection with the supernatural. I spent the entirety of Terrifier wondering if Art was just a guy in a suit, or if he had some supernatural connection. Clearly it is the latter.
Invaders from Galaxy Space Station Midnight – Episode 2
Once the kids are in bed, Sarah bides her time before their parents get home. Something keeps drawing her to the VHS cassette. Eventually, she relents and inserts the cassette back into the VCR. Thus begins the second episode. Caroline, played by Catherine Callahan, just moved into a new countryside home. Talking to her friend, she exclaims how wonderful she feels now that she has left the hustle and bustle of the city. She looks forward to the quiet life. In that conversation she mentions her boyfriend an artist. Apparently he just painted an unsettling portrait that sits covered up in the corner. Suddenly, she sees a flash of light. The power to house drops out.
Bewildered and scared, she feels as though something hides from within the house. Eventually, she discovers that an alien crashed outside her house, and it now stalks her. Caroline manages to protect herself several times by fighting back. In one last attempt to hide, she takes refuge under the stairs. Just when it seems that she is going to get away with it, her phone rings, giving up her position. As the alien drags her away, reaching for anything she can find, Caroline pulls the cover off of of her boyfriends painting to reveal a portrait of Art the Clown.
Golden Shower at the Gas Station – Episode 3
Sarah, still unable to decouple from the movie, continues to watch the the 3rd horror episode. A nameless woman travels the road late at night. She makes stop at a gas station. There, the gas station attendant is forcefully escorting Art the Clown off of the premise because he urinated on the floor and smeared feces all over the bathroom. Art supposedly leaves.
The attendant fills her tank while making small talk. Suddenly, they hear a loud noise and the attendant goes to check on it. Eventually, curiosity gets the better of the girl, and she goes inside to check on the attendant. To her horror, she find Art cutting the attendants head off with a hacksaw. She screams and runs for her car, peels out and drives away.
All Hallows Eve – Another Hint at the Supernatural
As the woman flees, she continues to see Art miles down the road. In one instance, she sees him holding a sign by the side of the road that says ‘CIRCUS’. Again, this answers the question that I had when watching Terrifier (2016). Art apparently possesses supernatural powers. Eventually, Art appears in the woman’s backseat and tries to suffocate here with a piece of cellophane. The woman crashes the car and takes refuge in an old shed. She bars the door with a metal pipe. In another odd turn, Art chooses to burrow through the dirt and emerge from the floor of the shed instead of breaking down a 1/2 inch plywood door. He’s magic I tell you.
Art, NRA Member, Hand Gun Enthusiast
After stabbing Art and fleeing from the shed, the woman runs back to the road. She flags down a car. The man agrees to giver he a ride to the police station. Art the Clown pulls up along side of his car and blasts the man in the head with a handgun. At the time that I watched Terrifier (2016), the idea of a slasher using a gun seemed strange. Now I understand that handguns are standard operation procedure for Art. Bullet in head, the car crashes violently into a tree, rendering the woman unconscious.
Upon waking, the woman finds herself tied to a work-bench. To her horror, she realizes that Art has not-so-surgically removed her limbs and carved obscenities into her flesh.
The VHS Movie Is Over, Or Is It?
Sarah, now completely disgusted with the film, turn off the the television. The phone rings and a woman frantically screams that someone is trying to kill her. Suddenly, the television turns back on. The screen depicts a dark, dank basement. Art peeks around the corner and slowly approaches the screen. Eventually, he starts to bang on the screen, threatening to break through. Then the picture on the television changes to the living room and Sarah.
Art appears on the sofa behind her. She turns frantically but sees nothing. On video, Art is still there, approaching her from the back. In a panic, she struggles to remove the video from the VCR. Eventually she pulls the VHS tape from the slot and smashes on the floor. She breaths a sigh of relief then hears a child scream.
Sarah runs to the stairwell and sees Art covered in blood laughing both silently and hysterically. He points ominously at the kids door, then disappears. Believing that she is hallucinating she rushed to the children’s room to find them both decapitated. He painted his name , ‘Art’, on the wall in their blood. Now I finally know how we know his name.
So Much to Say About this Film
Overall, All Hallows Eve is flawed but entertaining horror film. Watching start to finish, Damien Leone betrays its origins as a compilation of past works. Art the Clown clearly evolves into something else after the first episode. This can be quantified both in looks and behavior. It is forgivable, but also legit. The second episode lies orthogonal to everything else in the film and quite frankly feels like 20 minutes of filler. The alien looks more than ridiculous, and the scenes are way to dark.
For continuity, Damien Leone planted the painting of Art as if it were a shocking surprise. There isn’t a person in the room that didn’t fully expect that painting to depict Art once unveiled.
In both episode 1 and episode 2 Damien Leone evokes a smattering of Rob Zombie, specifically House of 1000 Corpses. In episode 1, the transition from reality to a den of demons reminded me of the descent into Dr. Satan’s lair and the wacky events that followed. It felt like the the same WTF moment. Likewise, when the woman wakes up on Art’s workbench in episode 3 it reminded me of Denise Willis’ horror upon waking up on Dr. Satan’s operating table.
All Hallows Eve – Solid Work from Damien Leone
Despite all of that, I found myself very entertained by All Hallows Eve. The 3rd episode is so good that the dubious 2nd episode fades from memory quickly. This film actually sets the precedent for many of the surprises in Terrifier (2016). This includes Art’s propensity for doodoo graffiti, handguns and the use of syringes for delivering knock-out drugs. Damien Leone goes all the way dark with the nude dismemberment scene and the child decapitations.
Surprisingly, I felt that this earlier movie provided much better cinematography and better seamless integration of the soundtrack with the flow of the film. Here Damien Leone also uses the technique of using a vintage filter. It felt poorly done in Terrifier, but here it feels much more authentic. It also provides a great foreshadowing device to indicate that Sarah is still in deep trouble after destroying the VHS tape.
Overall, All Hallows Eve overcomes its weaknesses and puts forth a solid anthology for your Halloween viewing pleasure. Damien Leone introduces one badass bad guy, Art the Clown.
Between Terrifier and All Hallows Eve, Damien Leone has built a little horror empire. A third installment of Art the Clown is on the way in the form of Terrifier 2. I must admit, I am intrigued.
All Hallows Eve (2013) - Introducing Art the Clown - Malevolent Dark
Director: Damien Leone
Date Created: 2013-01-01 00:00