Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to professional wrestling legend and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho about his role in Damien Leone’s Terrifier 2. “Y2J” spoke about his love of the franchise, his scene, and more. The film releases today in theaters across the United States of America.

RELATED: Terrifier 2 Interview: Director Damien Leone Talks Gore, Lines He Won’t Cross

“Resurrected by a sinister entity, Art the Clown returns to Miles County to terrorize a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween night,” reads the film’s synopsis.

Tyler Treese: Chris, as a horror fan, what did you find most refreshing about the Terrifier franchise? Because you really got behind the first one and gave it a platform through Talk is Jericho, which is how myself and so many others first heard of it.

Chris Jericho: That’s cool to hear because that was my goal because when I saw that movie, it was pointed out to me by Rich [Ward] from Fozzy, the guitar player from Fozzy, he said, “You gotta check out this movie.” And I was like, “What is it?” And he showed me the hacksaw kill, the famous kill, and I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen anything like that in a long time, you know, you see a lot of horror movies, you’re almost desensitized to it. But that one got me and then watching the movie, just how gritty it was.

Obviously, Art the Clown was the most iconic movie killer that we’d seen in 25-30 years. And right out of the gate, he was so riveting because he really is a clown, honking horns, riding tricycles, being a clown, but just being one of the most vicious killers I’ve seen in movies in a while. It’s not just one stab, it’s just like [does dozens of stabbing motions]. The dichotomy between this goofy, funny clownish guy and then this just, violently brutal killer just really hooked me right out of the gate. So that’s what I wanted to do was proclaim from the rooftop to all 12 million of my social media followers. If you like horror movies, you have to see Terrifier. And it worked, and there was a lot of buzz about it. And like I said, to me, it was something that I hadn’t seen in years, and I watch a lot of horror, and this one just clicked for me with a combination of all those things.

You got to be a part of the second film and your post-credit scene was filmed at a mental institution. You’re eating some gross Halloween-themed food. How surreal was that experience? Because it has to be easy to spook yourself out when you’re at an actual mental institution.

Well, it was weird too because it was October, and it was about three in the morning, so it was cold. The institution was, just like you said, it was creepy. It wasn’t like filthy, but it wasn’t like the cleanest of places. It just really fit the vibe of Terrifier. Like I said, it just was a gritty location, and that scene was actually a lot longer, which led to the actual ending of 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. But either way, it was really cool to be involved and just see all the passion of the people behind this project and it leaves the door wide open for Terrifier 3 for me.

Yeah, I mean the dream has to be getting like killed by Art the Clown, right? Would you like to show up in Terrifier 3 and get dismembered in a memorable way?

We had discussed a few different ideas, when Damien was putting together the script and there was actually another great idea as well that just didn’t really fit the narrative of the story. But yeah, of course. You know what I mean? And I think, once again, it’s right there to do more. But, either way, I think Terrifier 2, when you’re talking about “how do you top 1?” Well, I’ve been saying if one is Kill ’em All by Metallica, two is Master of Puppets. It’s the same vibe, but it’s just so much more advanced and such a better movie. Even though Terrifier 1 was a great movie too, this one has just gone above and beyond to really take that legacy and move it forward in a completely new way.

Yeah. You’re always representing horror through your social media, through your podcast, and you’ve kind of incorporated some horror elements into your own wrestling work with the Painmaker gimmick you had, which is a cool blend of metal and horror. What kind of inspiration do you get from this realm that you’re able to repurpose?

Well, so when I went back to Japan and had the match with old WWE Chris Jericho and it didn’t really fit the vibe of what I wanted to do, and it just, it was much more of a brutal, violent attitude that I had. I just thought, well what does serial killer look like if he was a pro wrestler? That’s kind of how Painmaker became a thing, was just my kind of interpretation of, let’s say a serial killer had a wrestling match, what would he do? What would he look like, how would he act? And that’s where the Painmaker came from. So it is more, not really influenced by a movie per se, but influenced by that vibe of like, what would a killer look like? What would he feel like? What would he do? And that kinda really helped get that character up and rolling. There’s much more of a murderous intent with the Painmaker, which is why any time I have some kind of a really violent death match sort of a thing, that’s when you’ll see the Painmaker.

Awesome. You’ve done some acting before. You had some great scenes in MacGruber. How did that come about?

Originally in the script, the part was a lot smaller and I knew that Will Forte was a Groundling I studied with the Groundlings for a year, they’re an improv comedy troupe in Los Angeles. So I just improv’d, I just threw a couple improv lines, and Will went with it. And that scene went from two lines to like 12 lines, whatever it was, just from us improving and going back and forth. I was like, “What have I got to lose? They don’t like it, they’ll just tell us to shoot the scene again.” But they did like it and they said, “Well yeah, that’s great.” And then we did it a couple more times. Now the improv has now become part of the script and the scene is a memorable one. And like I said, I was just like, I got nothing to lose, I’ll just see if Will wants to do some improv as a Groundling. And he did. So, it was a lot of fun and that’s where that started.

I remember Lorne Michaels was there, and he was sitting in video village, which is where everybody kind of watches and everyone knew that I had improv’d, but I didn’t know that Lorne Michaels was there because it’s obviously a Saturday Night Live movie. After the scene was done, they were like, “Lorne would like to see you.” I’m like, “Lorne?” “Yeah, Lorne Michaels. Yeah, he’s been watching.” I was like, “Oh no.” So I go out there and it really is…his voice is just like Mike Myers does it in Dr. Evil, like Dr. Evil is Lorne Michaels, right? “Hello Chris” or whatever. And he’s like, “I see you did some improv.” And I was like, “Yeah.” And he’s like, “Very funny. Very funny stuff. I enjoyed it,” and that was it. But I was just like, Lorne Michael said I was funny!

That is awesome. You’ve been working for decades, but you’re kind of peaking creatively, both in wrestling and music right now. You’re doing great work in AEW, Fozzy’s been blowing up the past couple years. “I Still Burn” is doing great. How wild is it that you’ve been able to incorporate all of your knowledge and still better yourself when so many people will peak out by at this point?

So I went and saw The Rolling Stones twice over the last year and I’m watching Mick Jagger, who was 79, he’s 80 now, I believe, and he still looks like Mick Jagger, and he still sings like Mick Jagger. It’s a time warp, man. It’s like he’s 80, dude, it doesn’t matter. That’s when it really started kicking in: I still look like Chris Jericho, I still work like Chris Jericho, so the age thing really doesn’t affect me. Some people have hangups about it and that’s fine, but to me, like I think I’m having a career year here in 2022 because I’m revitalized, and the creativity is flowing. I kind of had a little bit of a physical transformation, which makes you look like Chris Jericho, and as long as you can keep that going, I’m just more inspired than ever.

And the same thing with Fozzy. I mean, I think the band has grown so much. Like you said, “I Still Burn” is one of the most played songs on the radio this year. “Judas” just went gold. I mean, there’s so much of a buzz, a momentum behind the band than there ever was before, and we’ve been going for 22 years. So to me it’s like, it’s not the age, it’s what you’re doing with your experience to continue to create great moments and do great work that anybody that’s a fan of yours can be proud of. Now there’s always gonna be people that aren’t a fan of yours. You know what I mean? I can’t change that. All I care about is the people that appreciate my work and making new fans with the work that I’m doing. That’s been working out very well, and that’s the mindset.

By Dave Jenks

Dave Jenks is an American novelist and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Between those careers, he’s worked as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, divemaster, taxi driver, construction manager, and over the road truck driver, among many other things. He now lives on a sea island, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, with his wife and youngest daughter. They also have three grown children, five grand children, three dogs and a whole flock of parakeets. Stinnett grew up in Melbourne, Florida and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. His next dream is to one day visit and dive Cuba.