ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with pro wrestling legend and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho about his role in Damien Leone. scary 2. “Y2J” talked about her love for the franchise, her scene, and more. The film opens today in theaters in 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 endorsed the first one and gave it a platform through Talk is Jericho, which is how I and a lot of others heard for the first time.
Chris Jericho: That’s great to hear because that was my goal because when I saw that movie, Rich pointed it out to me. [Ward] de Fozzy, Fozzy’s guitarist, said, “You have to see this movie.” And I was like, “What is it?” And he showed me death with a saw, the famous death, and I couldn’t believe it. I haven’t seen something like that in a long time, you know, you watch a lot of horror movies, you’re almost numb to that. But that one got me and then I saw the movie, how gritty it was.
Obviously, Art the Clown was the most iconic movie killer we’d seen in 25-30 years. And from the beginning, he was so fascinating because he really is a clown, honking horns, riding tricycles, being a clown, but being one of the most ruthless killers I’ve seen on film in a long time. He’s not just a stab, he’s like [does dozens of stabbing motions]. The dichotomy between this goofy, funny guy and then this violently brutal killer really hooked me from the start. So that’s what I wanted to do, proclaim from the rooftop to my 12 million followers on social media. If you like horror movies, you have to see scary. And it worked, and there was a lot of buzz about it. And like I said, to me, it was something I hadn’t seen in years, and I see a lot of horror, and this one just clicked for me with a combination of all of those things.
You got to be a part of the second movie and your post-credit scene was shot in a mental institution. You are eating disgusting food with Halloween theme. How surreal was that experience? Because it must be easy to scare you when you’re in a real mental institution.
Well, it was also weird because it was October and it was like three in the morning, so it was cold. The institution was, as you said, creepy. It wasn’t dirty, but it wasn’t the cleanest of places either. It really fit the vibe of scary. Like I said, it was just a sandy spot, and that scene was actually much longer, which led to the actual ending of the movie. Another horror movie came out in the same time period, over the last year, that had the same ending, so we had to re-edit and re-shoot it. So it was actually a longer scene than that. But either way, it was great to be involved and see all the passion of the people behind this project and it leaves the door open for scary 3 for me.
Yeah, I mean the dream has to be killed by Art the Clown, right? Would you like to appear in Terrifier 3 and be dismembered in a memorable way?
We had discussed a few different ideas when Damien was putting the script together and there was actually also another great idea that just didn’t fit with the narrative of the story. But yes, of course. You know what I want to say? And I think, once again, it’s there to do more. But either way I think scary 2, when you’re talking about “how are you the first?” Well, I’ve been saying that if one is Kill them all by Metallica, two is Puppeteer. It’s the same vibe, but it’s much more advanced and a better movie. Although scary 1 It was a great movie too, this one has gone above and beyond to really take that legacy and push it forward in a whole new way.
Yeah. You’re always representing horror through your social media, through your podcast, and you’ve incorporated some horror elements into your own wrestling work with the Painmaker gimmick that you had, which is a cool mix of metal and terror. What kind of inspiration do you get from this kingdom that you can reuse?
Well then, when I came back to Japan and had the fight with the old Chris Jericho from WWE and it really didn’t fit the vibe of what I wanted to do, and it was just a much more brutal and violent attitude than me. Dyed. I just thought, well, what would a serial killer look like if he was a pro wrestler? That’s how Painmaker became a thing, it was just my kind of interpretation of, let’s say a serial killer had a wrestling match, what would he do? How would he be, how would he act? And that’s where the Painmaker came from. So, what’s more, he’s not really influenced by a movie per se, but influenced by that vibe of, what would a killer look like? How would he feel? What would he do? And that really helped kick-start that character. There’s a lot more of a killing intent with Painmaker, so anytime I have any kind of really violent deathmatch, that’s when you’ll see Painmaker.
Awesome. You’ve done some acting before. You had some great scenes at MacGruber. How did the idea come about?
Originally in the script, the role was much smaller and he knew Will Forte was a Groundling. I studied with the Groundlings for a year, they’re an improvisational comedy troupe in Los Angeles. So I just kind of improvised, just threw out a couple of improvisation lines, and Will followed suit. And that scene went from two lines to 12 lines, whatever, just us getting better and going back and forth. I was like, “What do I have to lose? They don’t like it, they’ll just tell us to shoot the scene again.” But they liked it and said, “Well, yeah, that’s great.” And then we did it a couple more times. Now the improvisation has become part of the script and the scene is memorable. And like I said, I was like, I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ll just see if Will wants to do some improv like Groundling. And he did. So, it was a lot of fun and that’s where it started.
I remember Lorne Michaels was there, and I was sitting in Video Village, which is where everybody watches and everybody knew he’s gotten better, but he didn’t know Lorne Michaels was there because he’s obviously a saturday night live movie. After the scene was over, they said, “Lorne would like to see you.” I’m like, “Lorne?” “Yes, Lorne Michaels. Yes, he has been watching. I was like, “Oh no.” So I go out there and it really is… his voice is like Mike Myers in Dr. Evil, like Dr. Evil is Lorne Michaels, right? “Hi Chris” or whatever. And he says, “I see you did some improv.” And I was like, “Yeah.” And he says, “Very funny. Very funny stuff. I enjoyed it,” and that was it. But I was like, Lorne Michael said it was fun!
That is incredible. You’ve been working for decades, but right now you’re peaking creatively, both in wrestling and in music. You are doing a great job in AEW, Fozzy has been exploding in the last two years. “I Still Burn” is very good. How amazing is it that you have been able to incorporate all of your knowledge and still improve yourself when so many people will peak at this point?
So I’ve gone and seen The Rolling Stones twice in the last year and I’m seeing Mick Jagger, who was 79, now he’s 80, I think, and he still looks like Mick Jagger, and he still sings like Mick Jagger. He’s a time warp, man. It’s like he’s 80, man, it doesn’t matter. That’s when it really started to work: I still look like Chris Jericho, I still work like Chris Jericho, so age doesn’t really affect me. Some people have complexes about it and that’s fine, but for me, I think I’m having a career year here in 2022 because I’m reinvigorated and creativity is flowing. I had a little physical transformation, which makes you look like Chris Jericho, and as long as you can keep it up, I’m more inspired than ever.
And the same with Fozzy. I mean, I think the band has grown a lot. Like you said, “I Still Burn” is one of the most played songs on the radio this year. “Judas” just got gold. I mean, there’s a lot of buzz, a drive behind the band than ever before, and we’ve been like this for 22 years. So for me, it’s not age, it’s what you’re doing with your experience to continue to create great moments and do great work that anyone who’s a fan of yours can be proud of. Now there will always be people who are not your fans. You know what I want to say? I can’t change that. All I care about is people appreciating my work and making new fans with the work I’m doing. That’s been working really well, and that’s the mindset.