Why Terrifier 2's Ending Underwent A Major Change

This article contains major spoilers for "Terrifier 2."

The Halloween season may be behind us, but "Terrifier 2" fever is still going strong. For well over a month, the hardcore splatter flick has become a box office sensation in the world of independent horror, along with ushering in the era of the MegaSlasher, according to Mike Flanagan. When it comes to the killer whose presence has garnered the most attention and disgust this year, look no further than the sadistic Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton).

In the pantheon of killer clowns, Art makes Pennywise's approach look like child's play. When Art comes for you, there's a 90 percent chance you're not making it out of the encounter alive, let alone with all of your skin intact. The pantomime slasher approaches his kills as if it's about to be the funniest thing he's done all week. Thornton has even talked about molding his dedicated performance based on the expressionistic comedy of silent movie clowns like Charlie Chaplin.

Over the span of 2 ½ hours, which is usually unheard of for a slasher flick, Art torments a teenage girl named Sienna (Lauren LaVera), who shares a mysterious connection with the demon clown, along with all of her friends and family. Around the time that we reach the film's gory climax at the Terrifier haunted attraction, you're waiting for Sienna to finally give Art a taste of his own medicine, and boy does she let him have it.

The demonic Little Pale Girl (Amelie McLain) walks away with Art's decapitated melon, leaving room open for a sequel, but the true final moments of "Terrifier 2" have something different in mind.

The mid-credits scene was initially longer

In the film's mid-credits scene, we see a security guard (Chris Jericho) and a nurse (Leah Voysey) working the graveyard shift on Halloween night at the Miles Country Psychiatric Hospital. While they converse, the disfigured Victoria Heyes (Samantha Scaffidi), Art's final victim from the first film, starts profusely bleeding in her room. When the nurse goes to check on her demented laughter, she discovers a horrifying sight, as Victoria has given birth to Art's head. But that bonkers ending looked entirely different at one point.

In an interview with ComingSoon.net, Jericho talks about how they had to retool the ending they actually shot because a recent horror flick beat them to the punch:

"That scene was actually a lot longer, which led to the actual ending of [the] movie. Another horror movie came out in the same timeframe, over the last year, that had the same ending, so we had to recut it, and re-shoot it. So, it was actually a longer scene than that."

Asking for logic in the same film where a killer clown hands out candy to trick-or-treaters through a decapitated head is futile, but it did seem odd that Jericho just kind of comes and goes (the AEW wrestler is a massive fan of this franchise). He doesn't even rush to come to check out Victoria's demon spawn. There's something that feels incomplete after spending that whole scene with him at the front desk, only to not give his character any sort of reason for being there.

Jericho was vague when talking about the movie that made "Terrifier 2" cut the intended finale, but director Damien Leone gave a very strong hint as to what it could be.

Art nearly went full Malignant

While doing a Reddit AMA, Leone was asked to clarify Jericho's statements. While he didn't outright say the exact movie that mirrored his original ending, Leone name-dropping the director of the project made it much easier to connect the dots. "They didn't steal our idea. We just happened to have the same one! It may or may not have had something to do with a recent James Wan film," says Leone.

You're reading that correctly. Leone has all but confirmed that the original ending to "Terrifier 2" would have closely resembled that of James Wan's "Malignant." Baby Art is by no means a bad conclusion, but it's difficult to think of losing the demon clown going full Gabriel. Leone didn't elaborate on how closely the two film's endings were. Going off of how Wan's film concluded, however, you have to wonder if Art instead sprouted in the back of Victoria's head before going on a destructive killing spree throughout the asylum. It's easy to see why Leone went in a different direction, though.

"Terrifier 2" is its own grimy beast of a grindhouse flick. Folks will remember the grotesque mutilations as an extension of Art, but "Malignant" is also its own thing. In the span of a year, Gabriel has been embraced as a figurehead of the horror community. There's truly no separating the parasitic killer from that incredible police station rampage. With that said, it would be very interesting to see what Leone exactly had in mind for Art's final impression with whatever footage still exists. Here's hoping we get to see it someday.

"Terrifier 2" is now playing in select theaters nationwide, in addition to streaming exclusively on Screambox.