A clown's job consists of entertaining kids. How hard can it be? Stitches isn't your typical clown, or maybe he is. He drinks and fucks whenever he gets the chance, and does the occasional job when he has to. He goes to perform for a rich birthday boy, but the kids are not happy. One of the kids pranks Stitches by tying his shoelaces together, but this innocent joke will be the death of Stitches. Many years later he returns for his revenge.
Yeah, clown movies. What a bunch of assholes they are. I mean, the bad ones are. You know them - "Camp Blood", "Scary or Die", "S.I.C.K. Serial Insane Clown Killer", "Dead Clowns" and so on. I have never been scared of clowns, nor do I find them funny (who does?), so my ties to the genre are quite weak. But everyone have to admit that there are some really entertaining ones. Anything from the cult classic "Killer Klowns From Outer Space" to Marcus Koch's splatter party "100 Tears", or even the rarely mentioned "Klown Kamp Massacre". Generally, these are movies that have found more to offer, they're not just built around the premise of a clown that kills. And when they are, like "100 Tears", they are just so iconic and splattery creative that they're fun. "Stitches" is another one in the line of successful clown horrors, one that follows a similar path of many (a killer clown) but knows exactly how to use a clown character in the correct way.
Stitches the clown doesn't really enjoy working with snotty kids, he'll rather stay home, drink and have sex. But a job is a job, and so he leaves to do a show for the kids at Tom's birthday party. The kids hate Stitches act, and make the day hell for him. Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately - this will be his final show as his shoelaces are tied together and he trips face-down on a kitchen knife. Years later, on Tom's 17th birthday, he's ready to have a party again after the traumatic memory of the death of a clown. And Stitches returns from his grave to get revenge on the kids that taunted him, made a fool out of him, and finally killed him.
Stitches is the perfect bad clown. He's a lowlife asshole, he looks wretched in his costume and he does all the bad things you don't want someone who is near your kids to do. From the opening scene, we know that he's a bastard. But he's a funny bastard. Miserably funny, something which works so well when a comedian is playing the role. It's not just pointing at a clown and saying "look how he's behaving!" - his attitude alone is performed so well that it makes it funny. I fell in love with the character in the opening sequence, which made me excited for the third act when he finally came back from the dead to seek revenge. The second act, which doesn't consist of any Stitches, is also a pretty entertaining one where we get to know the late-teen versions of the kids from the beginning. They're not the typical slasher movie fodder. Not just characters that you want to see die. They're keeping the entertainment level high enough until Stitches returns, even if they're not that special in the grand scheme of things. But they are true characters - not just puppets.
There are some fun gore scenes in the movies - or gore gags, rather. Anything from an umbrella through the head of a woman, to Stitches scooping someone's brain like ice cream. Most of it is surprisingly well made, too, though there are weak moments with very obvious CGI. Aside from those CGI moments, its creativity and solid effects help make "Stitches" an even more fun and memorable clown movie. It never goes to the extreme levels as "100 Tears", but few movies do anyway. What this one has to offer is plenty enough to please.
"Stitches" was a really fun clown movie from Ireland. It had actually funny moments, good characters, solid gore gags, and most importantly a clown that we love. The story was simple but with some cleverness to make it all work. Stitches returns because supposedly a clown always has to finish his performance, which is explained to us by a clown from a sect, who follows it up by saying that a joke is never funny twice as a warning of what's in store. The clown isn't over-dressed to beat us over our heads with the fact that he is a clown. His costume fits his attitude - he just doesn't give a shit. When he returns as the zombie clown, he's still not over-done. He mainly looks the same, except with a stitches up eye. There was no need to do much else with him, because the filmmakers found exactly who Stitches the clown was and what was needed to make him entertaining. Anyone doubting the clown horror subgenre should give this one a spin, as it succeeds with everything that the majority of them don't.