Interview: Chris Jericho on filming Terrifier 2 scene in a mental institution

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with professional wrestling legend and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho about his role in Damien Leone’s Terrify 2. “Y2J” talked about his love for the franchise, his scene and more. The movie is out today in theaters across the US.

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

“Art the Clown, resurrected by a sinister entity, 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 series? Because you really got behind the first one and gave it a platform through Talk is Jericho that I and so many others first heard about it.

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

Obviously, Art the Clown was the most iconic movie killer we’d seen in 25-30 years. And right out of the gate he was so riveting because he really is a clown, honks his horn, rides a tricycle, is a clown but is just one of the most vicious killers I’ve seen in a movie in a piece time. It’s not just a plug, it’s like [does dozens of stabbing motions]. The dichotomy between this goofy, funny clown guy and then this just, violently brutal killer just grabbed me right out of the gate. So that’s what I wanted to do was proclaim from the rooftops to all 12 million of my social media followers. If you like horror movies, you must watch Terrify. And it worked and there was a lot of buzz about it. And like I said, for me it was something 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 were supposed to be a part of the second movie and your post-credit scene was filmed in a mental institution. You’re eating some gross Halloween-themed food. How surreal was that experience? Because it should be easy to scare yourself when you are in an actual psychiatric institution.

Well, it was strange too because it was October and it was about three in the morning so it was cold. The institution was, like you said, it was creepy. It wasn’t like dirty, but it wasn’t like the cleanest places. It just fit the mood really well Terrify. Like I said, it was just a gruesome place, and that scene was actually much longer, leading to the actual ending of the movie. Another horror movie came out in the same time frame, within the last year, that had the same ending, so we had to re-cut it and re-shoot it. So it was actually a longer scene than that. But whatever, it was really cool to be involved and just see all the passion of the people behind this project and it leaves the door open for Terrify 3 for me.

Yeah, I mean the dream is going to be 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 the script together, and there was actually another good idea that just didn’t really fit the narrative of the story. But yes, of course. You know what I mean? And I think once again that it is right there to do more. But anyway, I think Terrify 2, when you talk about “how top 1?” Well, I said if you are Kill them all by Metallica, two are Master of Puppets. It’s the same vibe, but it’s just so much more advanced and so much better a movie. Though Terrify 1 was also a great movie, this one has just gone above and beyond to really take that legacy and move it forward in a whole new way.

Yes. You always represent 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 mix of metal and horror. What kind of inspiration do you get from this realm that you are able to recycle?

Well, then 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 was just much more of a brutal, violent attitude that I had. I was just thinking, what does a serial killer look like if he was a professional wrestler? How Painmaker became a thing was just kind of my 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’s 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 like? What would he do? And that really helped get that character up and rolling. There’s a lot more of a murderous intent to the Painmaker, and that’s why whenever I have some kind of really violent death match, that’s when you want to see the Painmaker.

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

Originally in the script, the part was much smaller and I knew Will Forte was a Groundling. I studied with the Groundlings for a year, they are an improv comedy troupe in Los Angeles. So I just improvised, I just threw a few improv lines and Will went with it. And that scene went from two lines to 12 lines, whatever it was, just from us improvising and going back and forth. I thought, “What have I got to lose? They don’t like it, they’re just going to ask us to shoot the scene again.” But they liked it and they said, “Well, that’s great.” And then we did it a few more times. Now the improvisation has now become part of the script and the scene is memorable. And like I said, I was like, I had nothing to lose, I just want to see if Will will improvise as a Groundling. And he did. So it was a lot of fun and that’s where it started.

I remember Lorne Michaels was there and he was sitting in the video village where everybody was watching and everybody knew I had been improvising but I didn’t know Lorne Michaels was there because obviously it’s a Saturday Night Live movie. After the scene was done, they said, “Lorne wants to see you.” I say “Lorne?” “Yes, Lorne Michaels. Yes, he’s looked.” I thought, “Oh no.” So I go out there and it’s really… his voice is like Mike Myers does it in Dr. Evil as Dr. Evil is Lorne Michaels, right? “Hi Chris” or whatever. And he says, “I see you’ve done some improv.” And I thought, “Yes.” And he goes, “Very funny. Very funny stuff. I enjoyed it,” and that was it. But I was like, Lorne Michael said I was funny!

It is fantastic. You’ve been working for decades, but you’re peaking a bit creatively, both in wrestling and music right now. You do a great job in AEW, Fozzy has blown up the last few years. “I Still Burn” is doing well. How crazy is it that you’ve been able to incorporate all of your knowledge and keep improving yourself when so many people want to peak out at this point?

So I went to see The Rolling Stones twice in the last year and I see Mick Jagger who was 79, he’s 80 now I think 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 to sink in: I still look like Chris Jericho, I still work like Chris Jericho, so age really doesn’t affect me. Some people have hung up on it, and that’s fine, but for me, I think I have a career year here in 2022 because I’m revitalized and the creativity is flowing. I had a bit of a physical transformation that makes you look like Chris Jericho and as long as you can keep it going I’m just more inspired than ever.

And the same 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 buzz, a momentum behind the band than there’s ever been before, and we’ve been going for 22 years. So for me, it’s not age, it’s what you do with your experience, to keep creating great moments and doing great work that anyone who’s a fan of yours can be proud of of. Now there will always be people who are not a fan of you. You know what I mean? I can’t change that. All I care about is the people who appreciate my work and gain new fans with the work I do. It’s worked really well and that’s the mindset.

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