An Interview With David Howard Thornton

I had the privilege of interviewing the brilliant David Howard Thornton, here’s that interview.

First of all thanks for taking the time to do this

Q1: How did you get into the world of acting?

“I cut my teeth in the acting world doing church theater as a kid. Since I was shy and bullied in middle school though a complete clown and goofball at home, my mom encouraged me to get involved in doing community theater. After I got cast in my first show, I found my calling in life and continued to act in show both at school and in the community throughout college. However, I got a degree in teaching. It wasn’t until a year after my mother passed away from cancer during my final semester in college that I realized what would really make me happy in life was not teaching but entertaining others. I finished up my degree and then moved to NYC to pursue this path instead. I have not looked back since.”

Q2: Who were your favourite Actors/Actresses growing up?

“I have a sincere love of the great comics going all the way back to the silent film era and find much inspiration from many of them that are my favorites. Those include: Chaplin, Keaton, The Marx Brothers, Rowan Atkinson, Robin Williams, Mark Hamill, Doug Jones, Jim Carrey, and my dear friend/mentor Stefan Karl.”

Q3: Where you a Horror fan as a kid, if so what were your favourite Horror films?

“Not initially. My mother was absolutely terrified of the genre and that affected me as well for a long time. It was not until my senior year of high school when my cast mates dragged me to a showing of Scream 2 that I found that I enjoyed the genre. After that, I did a lot of catching up! I would say that my top favorites (besides Terrifier, course) are: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Omen, NES 3, The Exorcist, and the original Halloween.”

Q4: So how did you land the role of ‘Art’ the clown? Were you aware of the character already?

“I was. I came across a posting on a casting site seeking “a tall, skinny man with clowning/physical comedy experience” for “the role of a life time” playing Art. I knew the character and contacted my reps to get me an audition.”

“The audition was interesting since I had to improvise a scene where I hacked a guys head off on the spot as Art. My demented brain came up with a scenario where I cartoonishly snuck up behind my victim, knocked him out, took out a hacksaw from my bag and sawed off his head, tasted the head, didn’t like the taste, took out a salt shaker and added seasoning, tasted it again and liked it, threw it in my bag for a late night snack, and then skipped off on my merry way. Damien and the rest died laughing and immediately asked me to come in for a makeup test. It goes to show how important it is for actors to be able to think on the spot!”

Q5: What did you think when you first saw yourself in full make up?

“I freaking loved it! I’m used to crazy makeup, and always have fun playing around with what faces I can make wearing it. That is what I immediately did in the mirror. Just sat there and made faces.”


Q6: I love the fact the character is mute, was that a challenge?

“It was a fun challenge. I have a unique skill of being able to do over 200 voices, and I have always relied on that skill set as an actor. This took that all away from me. Luckily, my other skill set is physical comedy which comes from my love of the old silent films and actors like Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, and Stefan Karl (who I understudied as the Grinch for 5 years). I think of Art as if Freddy Krueger and Harpo Marx had an evil child. I have always wanted to tackle such a character and now had my chance. I love playing him and can’t wait to experiment with him more in the future!”

Q7: There’s been a lot of famous clowns in the Horror genre, did that put any extra pressure on you stepping into the character?

“A little. The main bit of pressure was how the fans would react to me versus the fantastic original portrayal of Art by Mike Giannelli. Mike did such a fantastic job with him and gave me a great starting place for my interpretation of the character. I’m a “fanboy” as well (especially over the Joker), and can be quite judgmental over how actors play certain known characters. I was afraid of the same judgement of myself from Art’s MANY fans! I hope I did not let them down!”

Q8: As a viewer it looked like you all were having great fun on set, what was the feeling amongst the cast and crew?

“Considering we only shot at night and we all were a bit loopy because of it, I did my best to keep things light and fun on set. We all got along great and there was much joking on set. Probably too much at times. I thought that was funny considering the extremely violent and horrible things we were doing. Got to love that juxtaposition!”

Q9: The ‘Art’ character and the film itself has become something of a hit, what’s your thoughts on how everybody’s reacted to the film?

“I’ve been floored by the response it has been getting! We thought we had something special, but we never expected this type of reaction. It’s been humbling and amazing! The thing I find the most interesting is how popular it has been despite getting very little main stream press coverage outside of horror fan sites. This just goes to show the power of the fans. They have been the one getting the word out there and making this the surprise hit that it has become! I’m very grateful!”

Q10: With the popularity of the film there surely must be a sequel, will we be seeing you back in greasepaint anytime soon?

“Oh yes! Damien is currently starting to write the sequel now! We correspond with each other on almost a daily basis with ideas etc. There is MUCH more that I want to do with the character before I take off that tiny hat for the last time.”

Q11: What is your view on the Horror scene nowadays?

“I think we are on the cusp of a return to the classic slasher and the fun/gory horror films. For over a decade, horror films have been way too tame and playing it close to the vest compared to the films of the 70’s and 80’s that so many love. They’ve been afraid of being too risque on the account of trying to put more butts in theater seats, and a lot of what horror fans love in these films has been lost. I think the success of “It” and the hype around the upcoming “Halloween” film is showing that fans are clamoring for a return to the basics in a way. I like to think that “Terrifier” is helping that as well, especially since we made this as a love letter to the older slasher films. Audiences want to see a great villain do horrible things to people! They always have, and they always will.”

Q12: Have you got anything exciting lined up?

“Right now, I am still filming the final season of the web series “Nightwing: Escalation” where I play the Joker as well as doing various voice over projects that I can’t comment on at the moment. I also have a whole slew of convention appearances that I am about to start doing starting in mid-July, so keep your eyes out for me on the convention circuit! As for other films, I’m still waiting for Hollywood to come knocking at my door. I’m open for business! Ha ha!”

Q13: Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

“Life is too short to not do what you love doing with it. That is the most valuable lesson I learned from my mother’s passing. Find something that you are good at and that you enjoy doing and try to do something productive with that, and be persistent in that pursuit.”

Q14: Do you have any last words for anyone reading this?

“The End? LOL! Just kidding. I just want to say a simple and sincere “Thank you!!!” to every single person that has enjoyed our film and has supported it. Y’all are the ones that have made all of this possible. We made “Terrifier” for the fans and hope you all have enjoyed it and will continue to support us in the future! There is a lot more Art to come! He’s got a lot more mayhem to cause and you are going to love it! honk honk!”

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