MONSTERZERO NJ’S FINAL GIRL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2022 RUNNER UP!
This year’s MonsterZero NJ’s Final Girl Rookie of the Year was the talented Amber Midthunder from Prey…but…there is another actress who blew us away with her impressive late entry into the 2022 horror arena in the gore-tastic sequel Terrifier 2, that opened just this October! She plays Sienna Shaw a girl who catches Art the Clown’s (David Howard Thornton) attention in the worst way. She was so awesome in her very first feature horror film that we had to create a runner up spot to give her a shout out! So here is MonsterZero NJ’s Final Girl Rookie of the Year runner Up…
Lauren LaVera! A beautiful and talented actress we want to see more of!
Photo Credit: Joe Kelly/via IMDB
There’s no telling where this beautiful and talented actress will show up next! The surprise theatrical success of Terrifier 2 has gotten her much deserved attention and she appears to have a few projects currently in the works! Hopefully she’ll return to the horror soon, as she made a kick-ass final girl!
And don’t forget to check out our previous HalloweenHotties!
Head over to the HalloweenHottieslistings! to read them all!)
It’s a year after the Miles County Massacre and Halloween approaches. Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) is resurrected and now accompanied by a demon (Amelie McLain) in the form of a murdered girl, who is also dressed just like Art. This malevolent mini-me points Art in the direction of Sienna Shaw (Lauren LaVera) and her younger brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam), whose deceased artist father seemed to have predicted the coming of the homicidal clown. Art leaves a trail of brutalized and bloodied victims as he and Sienna are destined to collide.
Gruesome slasher sequel is written and directed by Damien Leone who also did the editing and the abundant gore FX. It’s not what could be called a fun slasher as Art’s kills are cruel and sadistic and his victims are kept alive as long as possible as he mutilates and brutalizes them. It can be very unpleasant. The gore is practical make-up, and the FX are quite impressive and effective. Even one like myself who has been watching horror for over fifty years winced a few times. The film didn’t need to be 138 minutes long but also didn’t feel like it was over two hours and Leone wisely uses the time to let us catch our breath, so all the brutality remains effective. It is his best flick yet and he is honing his craft with some disturbing sequences, and a very impressive visual eye. The are some supernatural elements that go unexplained but do work and the abandoned carnival funhouse showdown is quite brutal and effective. Thorton’s Art is creepy as ever, yet can still make you chuckle, and Lauren LaVera makes a really strong and resilient heroine. Sienna is beaten, whipped, stabbed and yet keeps giving Art all she’s got. Complete in her armored angel Halloween costume, she makes quite the opponent for the crazed killer clown. Overall, this is a sick and twisted slasher made by a director who is showing some definite growth with each film and with a really strong final girl/leading lady in Lauren LaVera.
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Terrifier is the first full length horror to star spooky Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton), who previously appeared in a few stories of writer/director Damien Leone’s 2013 Halloween anthology flick All Hallows’ Eve. It’s Leone’s second film and the story is once again set on Halloween, as gal pals Dawn (Catherine Corcoran) and Tara (Jenna Kanell) are on their way home from a party. They encounter a scary clown and while Tara is legitimately scared, Dawn teases him. This begins a night of horror as the deranged clown corners the girls in an old apartment building basement. Art plans a horrible fate for both of them, as well as Tara’s sister Vicky (Samantha Scaffidi) who is on the way to pick them up and unaware of the psychotic clown awaiting her.
Written and directed by Leone, the director does show he can build tension and can produce some very creepy moments. It’s almost a shame then that he also likes to wallow in Herschel Gordon Lewis levels of gore, as the film can be creepy enough, at times, without having to drown us in severed limbs and cruelty. Let’s just say simple stabbings and shootings are not Art’s style. The clown villain is disturbing even without his blood-soaked antics, and one wonders if Leone had dialed it back a bit, the film would have been more effective. As is, the constant hacking and dismemberment wears out its welcome and we become numb to it even before the 82-minute run time is up. It’s also a bit disappointing that the story switches attention from Tara to sister Vicky, about halfway through, as Tara was proving quite the fiery opponent for Art and had a stronger presence than the demure Vicky. Leone also knows how to find and utilize some really creepy urban locations and one might feel the urge to shower after spending so much time in the basement labyrinth Art uses as his house of horrors. For those who think this sounds a bit misogynist, there are two male pizza parlor employees and a pest exterminator who demonstrate that Art dismembers everyone equally. The gore FX are fairly effective and are quite abundant as you can guess.
The cast do just fine, especially our three lead females. Jenna Kanell makes the biggest impression as the tough and feisty Tara. She gives Art a good fight and as stated, it’s a shame focus switches to Vicky when she arrives to play designated driver. It’s not that Samantha Scaffidi isn’t a decent final girl; it’s just Tara was a more interesting character. Vicky is more of a damsel who needs saving, while Tara was a fighter. Catherine Corcoran was cute and sexy as Dawn, but, unfortunately, we all know what happens to the sexy blonde in a flick like this, so…Rounding out David Howard Thornton is very effective as the silent Art. The actor projects the clown’s lunacy and lethal-ity quite well using only body language and his expressive eyes. There are also some supporting characters, homeless people and unsuspecting exterminators, to serve as clown fodder and they are fine for their purpose. Flick also features an opening scene cameo by All Hallows’ Eve‘s sexy Katie Maguire.
The film has its moments and the Art character is effective. Leone does manage some tension and legitimate scares and gives the flick some atmosphere. If anything takes it down a few notches, it is that relying on such extremely graphic gore and the constant acts of brutality by Art, by the last act, we are more tired of it, than unsettled by it. Still, Leone has a little something and Art is very creepy as creepy clowns go. Worth a look if you like your horror brutal and bloody.