Warning! This article contains spoilers for Terrifier 2!Art the Clown returned bloodier than ever in Terrifier 2, sporting an appropriately unsettling post-credits scene that suggests a further sequel. Directed by Damien Leone (who has helmed every installment of the wider Art the Clown franchise), Terrifier 2 follows the further murderous exploits of the horrifying clown, one year on from the events of the first Terrifier. This time, Art (David Howard Thornton) focuses his attention on the brother and sister duo of Jonathan and Sienna Shaw (Elliott Fullam and Lauren LaVera), who seemingly have a connection to the killer clown. With reports of patrons fainting during Terrifier 2 pushing the splatter gore-fest into the mainstream, there is sure to be a lot of interest for the next sequel, which is teased during the latest movie’s conclusion.
Following Art’s apparent death, beheaded by the resurrected Sienna at the end of Terrifier 2, The Little Pale Girl who has served as Art’s ghoulish sidekick — and seems to embody the demonic evil presence responsible for Art’s immortality — comes to retrieve his decapitated head. The Little Pale Girl sometimes appears with glowing yellow eyes, a haunting feature that is then seemingly transferred to one of Art’s past victims in the post-credits sequence. Returning from the previous movie in the Art the Clown franchise, Victoria Hayes (Samantha Scaffidi) has been confined to a psychiatric hospital room where she mutilates herself, writing obscenities on the wall in her own blood. Her belly begins to bloat as if pregnant, and she ultimately gives birth to the now-living head of Art the Clown. Victoria’s eyes begin to glow yellow before revealing the words “Art + Vicky” on the wall surrounded by a bloody heart.
The reveal of Victoria’s glowing eyes suggests that either Art the Clown is able to retain control over his victims — The Little Pale Girl was Art’s first — or alternatively, the demonic presence within The Little Pale Girl has transferred to Victoria in order to ensure Art’s return. The only remaining question is how much of Art’s repeated resurrections is being controlled by Art himself, or an exterior force. With the news of Terrifier 3, though, viewers can hopefully expect a deeper exploration of the mythology behind the character in the next sequel.
When Victoria gruesomely gives birth to Art’s head, she appears to disembowel herself in the process. …-credits scene, much like Art, can be interpreted on a meta-level. The characters must suffer and die in order for Art — and the movies — to be reborn and continue to delight in future installments. The concept of evil never dying but merely being reborn is common in the horror genre, but depicting it so blatantly leaves the audience feeling unnerved as they exit the cinema. It elaborates upon All Hallow’s Eve, when Art the Clown’s exploits are viewed by characters on a VHS tape and then, despite them turning off the television, Art remains present, threatening to destroy the barrier between the viewer and the movie. Terrifier 2 continues this notion with the post-credits rebirth scene, which also serves to declare the character’s survival.
Terrifier 2 went to great lengths to make sure audiences knew that Art is not dead. In one of the many delightful subversions of its genre, Art’s return is repeatedly depicted at the conclusion of the current installment, rather than the beginning of the next. Many slasher movie sequels must go through the process of justifying the villain’s reappearance after seemingly being thwarted during the previous movie (as can be seen in the best Friday 13th sequel). However, Art transcends the constraints of these standard cinematic codes and declares his return immediately, furthering the notion that Art never truly leaves the audience.
Unlike Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, Art hasn’t been put away until being unleashed next Halloween by a cohort of unsuspecting teenagers; he is already on the loose and just waiting for the filmmakers to catch up. Terrifier 2 provided several further avenues of exploration, mainly unraveling the mystery surrounding Sienna and Jonathan’s father, his connection to Art, and the full backstory of The Little Pale Girl. That there are surviving characters proffers more potential than in previous installments, suggesting that these characters will continue as protagonists in the franchise. The Terrifier 2 post-credits scene brings these themes together and sets up further questions about Art’s demonic affiliation.
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