Monday, September 8, 2014
Stitches (2012) A Party Clown's Revenge
Sometimes late at night, I roll through Netflix and see what's out in the ether. Stumbling across this oddball British-Irish horror comedy about an undead clown seeking revenge on a kid after being killed at a birthday party, I really wasn't expecting much. But strangely enough, I ended up pleasantly surprised by the gory slapstick intentional cheese-fest that was Stitches.
Director Conor McMahon seems to be following the Peter Jackson path of starting off a career by turning grant money into bloody splashes of manic-comic theater. You see a little inspiration from Jackson's early offerings like Bad Taste and Dead Alive, where over-the-top gore leans more toward the humorous. Stitches doesn't take itself too seriously, offering up a wild premise, stereotypical-and-we-know-it characters, and circus-themed dispatching of those characters.
So it goes like this: Stitches (comedian Ross Noble in his film debut) is a local clown hired to perform at young Tom's birthday party. Tom isn't such a bad kid, but his friends range from somewhat to extremely obnoxious. They taunt Stitches who, admittedly, isn't a very good clown. The taunting takes a tragic turn when an accident the kids cause leaves Stitches with a huge kitchen knife through his eye into his skull. The night of Stitches' funeral, Tom stumbles across a strange ritual as clowns honor their comrade. Years later, it's Tom's (Tommy Knight of The Sarah Jane Adventures) 17th birthday, and he has a pretty understandable fear of clowns. He's anxious and rather wimpy but his friends want to throw him a blowout, even though he's unsure. The party includes all his friends from the original party, as well as his longtime crush, Kate (Gemma Leigh Devereux). Before too long, though, an unwanted party guest makes his grand return: Stitches, resurrected by some strange magic the clown cult instilled. Stitches arrives and takes out each of the teenage partygoers from years before in sickeningly creative and often hilarious ways. Brain scoop, balloon pump, umbrella - so weird, yet so Peter Jackson-ish. It's then up to Tom and Kate to figure out a way to send Stitches back to Hell - or wherever undead clowns go.
Stitches is a rousing debut for Noble, who nails it in his first film. He's snappy and slovenly, spouting 80's-style one-liners usually associated with supernatural killers. "He had to...head off." "Now that's...food for thought." Stitches is a killer clown, to be sure, and we've seen many of those, good ones and not-so-good. But obviously, this film doesn't take things too seriously and just wants to tell a funny, wildly splattered tale of redemption for one kid and the ability to make intestine balloon animals for one not-quite-dead clown.
So make sure you treat that clown at a kid's party right. Put away those knives and don't let your kids be obnoxious.
Until next time, here's the trailer: