Mom: “You’re late.” Stitches: “And you’re fucking ugly.”
Fear of clowns, or Coulrophobia, seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon, as discussions of this disorder exist mostly online (as opposed to in official psychiatric publications). You can blame Pennywise, Capitan Spaulding, or John Wayne Gacy but whatever its source—fear of clowns is real.
A film that seeks to capitalize on this phobia is Stitches, a 2012 British/Irish Horror movie written and directed by Conor McMahon.
Read my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: The pic centers on Richard ”Stitches” Grindle, a jaded workaday kids’ birthday clown, whose one-liners are witty in a way that’s just not for kids. He falls victim to a fatal party mishahp at the hands of a group of particularly nasty children. Years later, the group of now teenagers attend a party at which Stitches is the uninvited guest of honor, returning to avenge his untimely death.
Stitches is foul mouthed, lecherous, dirty son of a bitch, with no business even attempting to entertain children. Still, those kids that did him in were exceptionally impish. And while they all played a part in the clown’s untimely meeting with the business end of a cake-knife, poor Tom (the birthday boy) is singled out for a waterfall of blood to the face. 6 years later, he’s popping pimples and fists-full of pills in an attempt to keep his overwhelming coulrophobia at bay, all the while spying on the next door neighbor from his Treehouse of Horrors.
Tom (Tommy Knight) remembers the ominous warning he received from a bizarre, perhaps ghostly clown at Stitches’ funeral: “A clown who doesn’t finish a party can never rest in peace.” That’s why he’s not celebrated his birthday since the terrible incident. Still, he folds to peer pressure when his friends decide to throw a Project X style shin-dig while his Mom is out of town. It’s the perfect opportunity for Stitches to return from the grave (looking surprisingly not much worse for wear) for some well-deserved payback.
To say that Stitches’ dispatching of teens is over-the-top is like describing Hell as lukewarm. The filmmakers have taken just about every clown cliché and subverted it to an extreme. I really don’t want to give too much away, but a balloon animal twisted out of human intestine is just one treat awaiting viewers of Stitches.
A Horror comedy about a killer, undead clown could very easily have been a disaster, and the film’s success probably has everything to do with Stitches himself. Ross Noble has created a uniquely hilarious antihero with a Beetlejuice aesthetic and the wisecracking wit of Freddy Krueger.
Is 90 minutes too long for a running clown-gag? Probably. Still, this one-trick-pony packs some serious kick. A group in a good mood (perhaps having some drinks and a joint or two) will no doubt find some hearty laughs. Just know going in that what you’re seeing is completely ridiculous—and deliciously disgusting.
3 out of 5 Dead Clown Heads.
|Release Date||April 1 2013|
|Studio||Dark Sky Films|
|Starring||Ross Noble, Tommy Knight|