Killer clowns aren’t an overwhelming presence in the horror genre, but they always seem to hit home when they make their appearances. Taking someone like a clown who’s supposed to be funny, friendly, and every kid’s best friend, and adding a homicidal spin to him is always a recipe for horror gold. Iconic horror clowns such as Pennywise from IT and Captain Spaulding from House of 1000 Corpses/Devil’s Rejects have some new company in Richard “Stitches” Grindle from the new UK horror-comedy aptly named ‘Stitches’.
Stitches features well known British comedian Ross Noble as disgruntled clown Richard “Stitches” Grindle. Stitches meets his untimely demise during young Tommy’s birthday party thanks to some kitchenware and a bunch of 10 year old brats. Still haunted years later by memories of Stitches’ head spewing blood all over his face as a young boy, Tommy has transformed into an introvert without many friends. His couple of friends decide to throw a big party to try to pull him out of his shell and capture the heart of his longtime crush, Kate. Now finally under the same roof, newly undead Stitches hunts down the now 16 year old brats that led to his death.
The group of high schoolers contains all your typical teen stereotypes: the player, the fat/gay friend, the evil bully, the equally evil bully’s girlfriend, etc. The entire cast does a good job portraying the stereotypes, and it’s nice that the actors are all young and not in their mid-twenties trying to act younger. One of Stitches’ strengths is in setting up its cast of victims and giving you some to root for getting away, and some to root for getting as grisly a death as possible. The true star of Stitches is, quite obviously, Ross Noble portraying the zombie-clown Stitches. Noble’s comedic timing comes into play here and makes most of the comedy bits pay off. Noble adds a lot of ticks and quirks to Stitches that makes him truly his own.
The crowning jewel of the film is easily the kills, which are all incredibly fun and inventive. It’s weird calling kills fun, but when a clown is punching kids with his slinky arm and making balloon animals out of a guy’s intestines it’s hard to not grin at the gory excess of the film. For each specific kill, the cinematography is off the charts as well. Every time someone gets offed, the camera goes into slow motion and zooms in, which looks amazing each and every time. It gives the film a special touch, especially for such a low budget.
If you’re looking for a movie to watch with some friends and have a good time, Stitches should be at the top of your list. Director Conor McMahon has crafted a great throwback to old slasher films and this one could end up becoming quite the cult classic. The ending of Stitches sets up a possible sequel, and I’d gladly attend the next party Stitches crashes. Stitches is now available on DVD/Blu-ray everywhere.