Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stitches - You'll Die Laughing

Director: Conor McMahon
Writer:  Conor McMahon, David O'Brien
Stars: Tommy Knight, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Ross Noble, Valeri Spelman
Runtime: 86 Minutes
Rated: R for Ice Cream Scoop Neurosurgery, High Heel Tracheotomy, Clown Shoes 

Stitches marks the film debut of English comedian Ross Noble. Noble plays professional clown Richard “Stitches” Grindle - about the worst fucking clown you'll ever see. He arrives to entertain children at a boy named Tom's birthday party. Stitches is my favorite type of clown, the type of clown who always looks forlorn, like he's just moments away from blowing his brains out. He's as unenthusiastic about performing his tricks as the kids are about watching him. Throughout his performance the kids are mean and disinterested, they throw things at him, one of the girls gives him the finger. These kids, like most kids would be during a terrible clown act, are basically total douchebags the whole time. During a trick, one of the kids named Vinny sneaks behind Stitches and ties his shoelaces together. Tom takes a soccer ball and hits Stiches in the face sending him tumbling backwards. He trips and falls face first onto a huge butcher knife that was left blade up in the dishwasher for some reason.

After his death we learn there is some kind of strange voodoo clown council, led by a Paul Giamatti looking guy. They meet in an old mausoleum and perform some goofy ritual involving painted eggs. Tom witnesses this ritual and the clown cabal warns Tom that a clown that doesn't finish a party can never rest in peace.

Six years later, Tom is still haunted by the incindent. He sees visions of clowns roaming the hallways at school. He even daydreams of a clown dis-membering Vinny during science class. Tom's 16th birthday is fast  approaching and he decides, fuck that clown council noise, I'm having a party. The party goes pretty well at first, but before long Stitches the clown returns from the grave to exact his revenge on Tom and his friends.

That's really all there is for the set up. Very basic The Burning style slasher motive, prank goes wrong, the prankee seeks revenge. I'm normally not big on clown horror. I've never really found clowns frightening, and I don't like the look of them, so I've never really liked them as horror villains. However, here it actually works quite well. Director Conor McMahon (Dead Meat, 2004) has filled his film with some truly striking imagery and  inventive murder scenes. This thing gets quite gory, and the best part, aside from an umbrella through the skull bit and an eye socket knifing most of the gore seems to be practical effects, including some brain scooping, intestinal balloon dogs, and a truly hilarious exploding head effect.

While not every effect quite works and some jokes don't quite land (and don't get me started on the absurdity of the clown council stuff) I found this to be a very entertaining way to kill 86 minutes. Slasher fans, check it out. 7/10.

Things to watch for:
Girl on girl headbutt
Strawberry Pie Filling Overdose
World's first slasher with gag reel over the end credits
I didn't catch her name, but this chick:

April Fools' Day screenings in select cities on April 1, 2013. For fans who can't catch the rampage on the big screen, STITCHES will be available on VOD, Digital Download, Blu-ray and DVD on April 2 from MPI /Dark Sky Films.

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