Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Terrifier 2
Terrifier 2‘s Art the Clown never says a single word, with his silence making him a much scarier villain. The supernatural killer Art the Clown debuted in The 9th Circle, a 2008 short film written and directed by Damien Leone. Art the Clown would gradually make more prominent appearances in other shorts and the horror anthology movie All Hallow’s Eve, before finally getting his own horror movie franchise in the Terrifier films.
As in his previous appearances, Art the Clown never speaks in Terrifier 2. Even with Art’s complete lack of dialogue, Terrifier 2 has become a major Halloween season hit against its small $250,000 budget. As for why Art the Clown chooses to remain silent, this character trait is both a dramatic choice and an approach that speaks to his status as more of a mime than a clown. Given that mime’s communicate through gesture rather than speech, making Art silent makes total sense, as well as enhancing his sinister presence.
In an interview with Dread Central, Damien Leone explained that a lack of scary clowns in slasher movies led him to create Art the Clown as a new killer clown. Leone also revealed that he used Pennywise of Stephen King’s IT as a kind of inverted model for Art, saying “I tried to do everything the opposite of what Pennywise is”, making Art bald and black and white as a contrast to Pennywise. Leone also specified other differences he intentionally created between Art and Pennywise, notably “Pennywise speaks, Art doesn’t”.
While Pennywise is likely the first scary clown to spring to mind for most audiences, the juxtaposition between Art the Clown and Pennywise has pushed the former to wider mainstream recognition. Art’s silence is arguably his biggest difference from Pennywise, who relishes every chance to frighten the Losers Club with his evil taunts. In fact, Art never uttering a word is one of the most essential aspects of his horror movie potency (itself also evidenced in Terrifier 2 causing audience members to pass out.)
Art is less like a traditional clown and more of a mime with his use of very expressive, animated body language. With the extremely sinister appearance of his clown make-up and diabolical grin, Art the Clown’s silence makes him a chilling presence even when he is not in the middle of horrifically murdering one of his victims. In fact, the build-up to Art’s kills is often a textbook example horror movie scares drawing their power from the anticipation for them, Art’s murder of a costume shop clerk in Terrifier 2 being one of the best such examples.
Art the Clown also knows that the image of his face and smile alone is a far more effective tool for sending chills down the spines of his victims than any spoken words could ever be. Given his monstrous spin on a typical clown’s appearance and how viciously he slaughters his victims, Art the Clown is even scarier than Pennywise due to his understanding that actions speak louder than words. While audiences seeing Terrifier 2 will never hear the voice of Art the Clown, he is a far more memorable slasher movie villain because of his silence.
NEXT: Every Art The Clown Movie Ranked, Worst To Best