This Gorefest Will Keep You in Stitches
coul·ro·pho·bi·a (kool-ruh-foh-bee-uh) noun An abnormal fear of clowns.
Sixteen-year old Tom (Tommy Knight) has good reason to be afraid of clowns. At his eleventh birthday party, Stitches the clown arrived late and became the victim of a series of cruel pranks by his obnoxious friends. How cruel? Well, the last one left Stitches lying dead on the kitchen floor. And, as Tom’s birthday approaches, not even the anxiety pills he pops like candy keep him from seeing an angry clown around every corner.
It turns out that “a clown who doesn’t finish a party, never rests in peace”. Sure enough, Stitches rises from the grave to exact his revenge on the original party guests, now horny teenagers, at Tom’s seventeenth birthday bash. Stitches (the clown and the movie named after him) has a hellish sense of humor; the deaths are both creative and ironic. For example, to the kid who popped his balloon animal six years ago, Stitches makes a balloon animal out of his intestines.
To say Stitches is gory would be an understatement. The deaths are beyond over-the-top. Yet, somehow, they aren’t completely ridiculous. In fact, the entire movie plays much better than you’d think. There’s the kernel of a sweet story buried somewhere within and, even with the gross-out humor, it manages to be kind of scary. The line between comedy and horror is very deftly straddled by Irish writer/director Conor McMahon (Dead Meat, The Disturbed).
Only in two areas does the excess wear thin. First, its horrors are often tied to images of a more innocent activity, usually involving food. For example, this isn’t a death, but when Tom starts to pop a zit on his chin, the next shot is an egg splattering into a frying pan. That elicits either a laugh or a groan, but when it happens with every kill, it loses the effect to continue doing so. Second, every death includes several shots of blood splattering on walls, floors or windows. We get the point; it’s not necessary to see it every time. We know that ramming an umbrella through the back of a girl’s head is going to cause blood to fly.
On the other hand, if you’re paying attention, Stitches is full of humorous little details. For example, every time the camera pans through the living room at the party, the same couple is making out on the couch. They’re there when people arrive at the party, they’re there as characters pass during the party and they’re still there as mayhem ensues.
I’m not as fond of the killer clown’s one-liners; they’re less original than his kills. But the script itself has some hilarious plays on words. My favorite is the mock social network used in the movie, “My Face”, obviously a mash-up of My Space and Facebook. When Tom denies intentionally not inviting the resident bitch to the party, she says, “You invited everyone to come on My Face.” Stitches may be rude, crude and socially unacceptable, but I also found it to be pretty darned funny.
Stitches is by no means great cinema, it is however a more entertaining movie than I would ever have imagined. If you can stomach the gore, then it’s a treat I would definitely recommend.