Eat your heart out, Killer Klowns from Outer Space! I thoroughly enjoyed this film and I am not afraid to admit it. Before viewing this film, I was very quick to judge that this would be an ill-conceived, low-budget, piece of trash. Sure, clowns can be scary. But most of the time, clown horror films fail to live up to the expectations of It, only leaving room for the cheesy and uninspired. The plot for this one is in no way original or stimulating, but it sure packs a punch with over-the-top gory death scenes.
The film opens at Tom’s birthday party where, of course, a clown is the entertainment. This hapless clown named Stitches gets hit by a soccer ball and falls in the kitchen where a knife plunges straight into his eye. Tom stands in utter shock as his own face is splayed and splattered with the clown’s blood. Six years later, the young boy is now a teenager and is still disturbed by that horrific moment from his past. Tom’s visual disturbances and active imagination create some pretty fun and nasty scenes, like envisioning his teacher as a clown ripping the balls off a fellow classmate and tying the whole package to a balloon that floats away. Yeah, that happened. Tom is obviously afraid to be home alone so when his mother goes out of town he invites one of his friends over who proceeds to turn the invite into Tom’s birthday party AKA a bloody reunion for all those who attended Tom’s ill-fated party years ago.
I know the synopsis doesn’t sound all that interesting, but just wait for the death scenes. This is what the movie is all about. Tom’s worst nightmare has come true. A clown who doesn’t finish his act can never rest in peace. Stitches is back for revenge and the party attendees get slaughtered one by one in the most absurd, humorous, and horrific ways imaginable. Imagine Stitches using a can opener to pry open the skull of a teenager and using an ice cream scooper to spoon out the brains to save for later. Don’t forget to top off the brains with a little blood sauce, of course! It’s hard not to smile at something as sick and stupid as that. Director Conor McMahon’s approach to extreme gore is very reminiscent of old-school Peter Jackson films.
Even though many of the characters are clichéd in this film, I think the casting is realistic and smart. Unlike Hollywood films that cast big-busted, twenty-five year old girls to play sixteen year olds, this film chooses ‘normal’ and appropriately aged actors. Obviously a plot with a killer clown back from the grave isn’t realistic, but the approachable cast makes this a more well-rounded film. As for the clown, I am not crazy about Stitches’ makeup. He surely could have been scarier. But this film is more intended for laughs than scare, I suppose.
This Irish film is fiercely funny, fresh, and gory. The limb-ripping, blood-splattering ridiculousness creates a template for absurdist horror at its finest. With intestine balloon animals and one of the best head-exploding scenes I have ever seen, this movie would be a blast to see in 3D. The creativity is endless with awesome effects. Horror aficionados rejoice! Only true horror fans will enjoy this one. Stitches is sure to earn its place in cult-following status in the near future.
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