Dark Sky Films // 2012 // 87 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // May 6th, 2013
Somewhere between Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Evil Dead II lies the birth of true horror comedy black as pitch, and Stitches proudly carries the wacky torch in oversized shoes and pancake make-up. It's full of clown humor, gore, and even a healthy dose of gratuitous nudity. This import from Ireland will have you laughing until you gag. It's a fun ride for horror fans who are tired of playing with their Pennywise action figures and praying for a sequel to Clownhouse.
A not so great children's party clown (Ross Noble, Ross Noble: Unrealtime) dies while working for an ungrateful group of snot nosed brats. Due to some supernatural laws which involve mumbo jumbo over eggs with faces, the clown rises from the grave to exact vengeance on the kids ten years later when they are teens throwing a raging house party. Death has come back to haunt them, and even the clown from It seems a pretty pansy by comparison.
Stitches is a fun horror film fully aware it is not anything other than a gory lark sending up the '80s "kill the kids" genre. It's a film that never shies away from going way over the top with gore including a sequence where someone's male member is ripped off and tied to a balloon. Then a later kill showcases intestines tuned into a balloon animal. That's not even scratching the surface of the bizarre ways these kids meet their maker at the hands of an evil Barnum and Bailey reject. Ross Noble is an Irish standup comedian, so he brings a unique physicality to the zombie clown that works well to sell the idea of a bitter undead prankster. All the kids who act as bait for the killer clown's revenge are fully fleshed out enough for us to get a sense of them before they become party tricks gone wrong. It all comes together to be a grotesquely giggle-worthy horror flick that should have genre fans clapping with glee.
The Blu-ray has done a great job of servicing the feature. The digital transfer is spot on with hardly a blemish or misstep. It looks crisp and clean with a lot of vibrant detail and nice black levels. The Blu-ray is certainly worth the investment given the obvious love and care taken in getting this one on disc. The DTS-HD Master Audio matches the visuals with a nice use of surrounds and layering the effects well. Extras include a lively and playful commentary by director Conor McMahon and star Ross Noble who discuss the project with exuberance. There is a twenty minute making of featurette which gives you a look at all the major players. We get a couple minutes of bloopers which are fun to see, and there is also the trailer if you want a peek at how this was marketed.
Fans of killer clowns and over the top gore are going to find Stitches an irresistible blend of true scare mixed with terribly funny moments. You're never sure whether to laugh or gag, and that's the genius behind what is going on here. It's a simple project that gets the formula right, and manages to make all the trappings we've seen time and again work the way they should. It's a B-movie that makes no apologies for reveling in it's "so bad it's good" moments, and this one's best viewed late at night with some inebriated friends. Horror fans should love this one, and it's well worth hunting down on Blu-ray.
Not guilty by reason of sheer insanity and a true love of the slasher genre.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Dark Sky Films
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated R