Why Slasher Sequel Terrifier 2 Has Such A Long Runtime [Exclusive]

Envisioned as "the last 15 minutes of most slashers," Damien Leone's deranged clown horror "Terrifier" has been a cult hit since its 2016 release; its sequel is surprising audiences not with its violence, but with its length. "Terrifier 2" comes in at a 138-minute runtime, a wild number for the buckets-of-blood type of story being told. /Film's Ryan Scott got a chance to sit with writer-director Damien Leone, star David Howard Thornton, and wrestler Chris Jericho (who makes a cameo appearance in the film) at Austin's genre destination festival Fantastic Fest, where the movie is playing to midnight crowds. Leone explains how his sequel ended up running nearly two and a half hours long:

"It was totally organic. It was just the story that I wrote and I didn't realize how long it was going to be until I got in the editing room. I said, 'Oh boy, this is sort of unprecedented.' But again, it was my story that I loved; everything I wanted to do with these characters and having them more fleshed out and tell this more traditional narrative. Plus, we had these really sort of unorthodox sequences in the movie that kind of set it apart from other traditional slashers.

But there were scenes that I didn't even bother editing that we shot, because I knew they weren't going to drive the narrative or anything. There's tons of amazing movies that are well over two hours. And if a movie's good and it's not just loaded with filler, it'll fly by. And we've gotten that, people have told us that the movie flies by, they don't feel like it's that long at all. I'm proud of it. We break a lot of rules anyway, so might as well have a slasher that's an unprecedented run time."

I think that's something that people just want to complain about.

"Terrifier" is a feature-length vehicle for Leone's deadly reveler Art the Clown. Mute but theatrical, Art was played first by Mike Giannelli in Leone's short films "The 9th Circle" and "Terrifier," followed by an appearance in Leone's 2013 anthology film "All Hallows Eve." A crowdfunding campaign made a feature-length spin-off for the clown possible and that's when David Howard Thornton took over as the boogeyman of Miles County, slaughtering its citizens every Halloween like a sleazier Michael Myers.

The runtime of "Terrifier" is 86 minutes, typical of a slice-and-dice slasher movie with few frills. Highlights include a suspended young woman being sawed in half, decapitations, scalping, and outrageous mutilations, all executed with impressive practical effects. That wild energy was like a magnet for professional AEW wrestler Chris Jericho, who briefly appears in a cameo role for the sequel. Jericho dismisses concerns about the unorthodox length of "Terrifier 2," explaining to /Film:

"That's the thing too, when you hear length, people always get really concerned with their length. But if you look at what people are watching, it's all the new eight episodes of ... "House of the Dragon" came out. I want to binge it. And I think, who gives a s*** how long? It's either good or it's bad. Some of the best movies ever are three hours long. Some of the worst movies ever are 80 minutes long. So I think that's something that people just want to complain about. I think it's exciting because it gives you an extra hour of Art and the crazy s*** that Damien's thought of." 

It looks like Art the Clown will have more time to kill this time around. "Terrifier 2" releases in the U.S. on October 6, 2022.