Today: July 17, 2024


Clowns are creepy b*stards.

Clowns are
creepy b*stards.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s Ronald
shilling Happy Meals to lardy kids, Tim Curry’s Pennywise murdering lardy kids in Stephen King’s IT or Sergei the Meerkat in that recent Compare The Market commercial where he’s joined the circus looking
for dignity, clowns are just plain scary.

With their painted faces, cheery red noses and forced
jollity they lull you into a false sense of security before smacking you in the
face with a custard pie or drenching you with gunge.

They’re sinister, untrustworthy, you can’t relax around a
clown, you must always be on your guard.

Sure, that flower they’re offering you may squirt you in the
face with nothing worse than water but it could just as easily have been
corrosive acid. And while the
contents of that comedy bucket they ‘hilariously’ throw over the crowd at the
circus is just glitter, it could just as easily have been human faeces. Hell, half the enjoyment of watching
clown porn comes from the dread and uncertainty of just what type of custard the
participants will take a face full of.
So, if you suffer from coulrophobia – the irrational fear of clowns
(though we all know there’s nothing
irrational about it), maybe give Irish horror comedy Stitches a miss.

Drunken, misanthropic, down-on-his-luck clown Richard
‘Stitches’ Grindle (Geordie comic Ross
) scratches out a living performing at the birthday parties of the
local rich kids in a small Irish town.
When one particularly unruly bunch of nine-year-olds sabotages his act,
Stitches is left with more than egg on his face; a freak accident leads to his
death, impaled through the eye by a kitchen knife.

Seven years later, traumatised, clown-phobic teenager Tom (Tommy Knight of The Sarah Jane Adventures), whose party so memorably ended
Stitches’ career, is left home alone on his birthday and is bullied into having
a party by his more outgoing mates.
What starts out as a few quiet beers with some of the boys soon
escalates when everyone in school gatecrashes, turning Tom’s house into party
central. But one uninvited guest
is determined the party will be a scream.
You see, a clown can’t rest until he’s completed his final gig and
Stitches has been waiting seven long years for revenge…

Crude, funny and cartoonish, you know where you are with Stitches from the first scene, the film
opening with funnyman Noble in full clown make-up and costume shagging a buxom
clown fetishist in a squalid caravan while she ecstatically yells: “F*ck me
clown!” Like the rest of
writer/director Conor McMahon’s
film, it’s not subtle but it is funny.
Owing more than a little to Reece
’s Mr Jelly from BBC2’s Psychoville,
Stitches is a drink and drug-fuelled
scumbag who hates kids almost as much as he hates himself and Noble is
obviously having a ball delivering some truly awful (but hilarious) Freddy Krueger-style one-liners as he
murders his way through the young cast of caricature Irish teenagers familiar
from decades of American high school horror flicks. Though refreshingly, they actually look like normal Irish
teenagers (spotty, gawky, chubby) rather than the perfect, aerobicised Aryan
twenty- and thirty-somethings Hollywood serves us.

The script is fun, the performances from the young cast are
fine, and Tommy Knight and Gemma-Leah
(as emo-chick love interest Kate) have an easy chemistry. There’s some great visual gags, the
over-the-top violence and gory deaths are amusing and gruesomely inventive; the
kid who doesn’t like balloon animals is disemboweled and has balloon animals
made from his intestines, the overeater has his skull opened with a can opener
and his brains decanted with an ice cream scoop.

Ultimately, what sets Stitches apart is its gleeful,
unrepentant nastiness. It has no
redeeming social message, its not trying to comment on society, it doesn’t have
any other purpose than to provide the kind of entertainment best accompanied
with beer and whooping mates. It’s
mean, nasty, irredeemable fun as subtle, and as funny, as watching Lady Gaga
slip on a banana skin, tumble down a flight of stairs and land in bath of pig
slurry. Yup, it’s that amusing.

David Watson

David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email:

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