Good clown horror is usually hard to come by but if you’re looking for a fun, clown based slasher, look no further than Connor McMahon’s Irish production STITCHES.
Rude clown Stitches with his grumpy demeanor is a terrible entertainer. After arriving late to young Tommy’s birthday he is mercilessly pranked and accidentally killed by the group of party-going kids. Years later, an awkward, traumatized Tommy agrees to throw another birthday party but can’t help but feel a sense of impending dread. His worries are well placed once the clown returns from the dead seeking revenge on the sniveling brats who caused his death in jokingly clown-centric fashion.
To get a sense of Stitches, we open on him in full clown make-up, mid coitus. Similar to another clown’s intro in DEVIL’S REJECTS but with the added gag of that “honk” horn during thrusts. He realizes he’s late, suits up in a montage and heads straight to a kids birthday party. He’s foul mouthed, horribly disheveled, blunt and a danger to those around him. Stitches is a very gruff personality and his line of “Everybody Happy?!” doesn’t exude a sense of enthusiasm. Ross Noble is having a grand time behind the make-up being a disorganized mess.
Years later these kids are barely even friends anymore, some are even antagonistic. A dynamic I appreciated so when they finally wind up at the party together I found it worked well that the filmmakers took the time to establish the world and character motivations before rushing into the kills. To some it may feel a bit slowed down after the opening but there’s some torment and Freddy Krueger styled hallucination torment to keep you entertained until the murders pick up. Once Stitches is brought back into play the film ramps up and its final minutes delivers on plenty of bloodletting.
The effects are excellent.
Top notch practical work that are super clown specific and hilariously over the top. I loved so many of them that it’s hard to pick a favorite but I appreciated how scenes were allowed to breathe a little bit and play long enough to go from the violence and hit that comedic beat before cutting away. Stitches is certainly not the most terrifying villain, since he mostly does clown schtick (unless you’re afraid of clowns) and the way he is brought back into play in the film is unique and highly bizarre, which would be a shame to spoil, just know that it’s an interesting take on clown culture.
What Else is Up STITCHES’ sleeve?
The Blu-Ray of Stitches looks great. It’s got a dingy, sort of color palette but still remains crisp and vibrant. The audio is good and there are some great soundtrack cues that had me in hysterics. I’d definitely appreciate seeing this with a crowd in a theater but settling for the home viewing isn’t too shabby with this release.
The Making Of , highlights some moments on set and brief interviews with the director and actors. They really have an affinity and passion for the horror genre. They set out to make an over the top movie that they wanted to watch, I think they succeeded. If you have an extra 30 minutes after the movie it’s a great look into the process and you learn a few interesting details; why they chose a clown, what Ross used to do before acting, it delves into the characters, effects and shooting the movie.
During the credits viewers are given a look at some goofy outtakes and silly freeze frames and if that tickles your funny bone then the Bloopers special feature gives a more extended look at the goofy stuff. Line flubs, silly faces, laughing. Just the cast having a good time on set, it’s a fun watch for a few minutes.
The Trailer for the film is included.
There is a Commentary track featuring star Ross Noble and Writer-Director Conor McMahon that you can listen along to while watching the feature and it’s funny, informative and gives some good insight.
STITCHES is a pretty classic slasher-comedy that may be a little slow in the set up but greatly pays off in the back end. It leans more in the ridiculous comedy category than a straight up horror but the gore is cartoonish and over the top with some excellent effects work. Sure, you may find yourself groaning at the endless murder puns but it’s a wonderfully subversive tribute to some classic horror films as well as being a darkly twisted entertaining film in its own right. I wouldn’t mind taking another look inside the film’s universe with its strange clown ways.
Review by Bro “J” – Jonathan Killoran
We received a copy of this blu-ray for our review. All opinions are our own
Stitches [Blu-ray] is available on Amazon.com.