Thursday, 14 August 2014

Stitches (2012)

Scary clowns are nothing new to the horror genre. In fact, many clowns are scary just by being clowns. Many people are terrified of them, it's a very common thing. Grumpy clowns are nothing new either, with the juxtaposition of cheery exterior and dark, depressed interior often making for some great comedy. Stitches takes these things, throws in a load of practical gags and gore effects, and gives audiences a new killer clown who is both scary and grumpy.

Ross Noble is the titular character, a clown who is as unenthusiastic about his work as he is incompetent. If you hired him to entertain your kids then you'd be demanding your money back after five minutes. As he consistently fails to keep some children amused, Stitches is set up to be the victim of a prank. In true horror movie fashion, that prank goes horribly wrong. Fast forward to a number of years later. The kids who were at the last show Stitches ever performed are all ready to have a very different kind of party. They're now teenagers, interested in alcohol and sex (not necessarily in that order). But Stitches is about to put in an unexpected appearance, and he has a new twist on many of his old tricks.

Directed by Conor McMahon, who also co-wrote the movie with David O'Brien, Stitches is a comedy horror that derives most of its laughs from a mix of absurdity and excessive gore. It falters during the first 15 minutes or so, but soon gets the balance right and defies the odds to become an amusing mix of laughs and bloodletting. And it has the best use of the Cutting Crew song (I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight that I can think of.

Noble is a lot of fun as the killer clown, dealing with teenagers in a deadpan manner that makes it all the more amusing for viewers. Tommy Knight is the main young man who ends up trying to stay alive while the clown piles up the corpses, Shane Murray Corcoran is another potential victim, and Gemma-Leah Devereux is Kate, the third member of the main characters to really care about. These three do well enough, as does the entire supporting cast (with Lorna Dempsey particularly helping to brighten up proceedings, for me anyway), and whoever managed to get the kids in the opening scenes to really match the teenagers they then become deserves a pat on the back.

Stitches is one that many will find easy to dislike. It doesn't attempt to be subtle, clever or original. But it does aim to entertain, and it completely succeeds in that department.


Remember, every copy of my book sold, which includes this review and thousands of others, gets a few pounds in my pocket, and gets you a good read (if I say so myself).

The UK version can be bought here -

And American folks can buy it here -

As much as I love the rest of the world, I can't keep up with all of the different links in different territories, but trust me when I say that it should be there on your local Amazon.

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