Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stitches (2012): WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF THE CLOWN (Horror)

The year of the clown is upon us. Earlier this year (or perhaps it was late in 2012) I reviewed No Clowning Around, Rob Dimension's dark clown feature that was emotive, intelligent and maybe wasn't a horror picture but a picture of horror with a down on his luck clown, Mumbles, as the protagonist. Shortly there after I began hearing buzz about a little movie called Stitches, a clown horror movie. There was  period of time not all too long ago when clown horror was all the rage and the movie making machines saturated the market with, to put it lightly, shit. Piles of clown shit. Grease paint on the pavement. Bad movies. Stitches had the look and sound of all the other clown features I had come to despise in recent years. I didn't even want to see it. I barely looked at the cover. Then a whimper of hope came from Shawn Savage of The Liberal Dead who made it quite clear that this movie had something special. That's why I'm writing this review now instead of speculating or forgetting that Stitches even existed.

Check out the trailer to see if this is something in which you'd be interested. Doesn't quite have the same feel as all the clown horror your used to right?

When a deadbeat clown shows up to tackle a kid's birthday party, he doesn't suspect that he might be the butt of life's cruel joke; Stitches doesn't make it through the party alive. Apparently if a clown doesn't make it through their performance at a birthday party they must some how revisit and relive it and/or kill the attendees which is exactly what you get in the Second Act of Stitches.

Conor McMahon's film is brilliant. It's funny when it needs to be and gross when it must be. Creatively gross mind you. This isn't a realistic blood/gore romp through an anatomy lab or autopsy. The care and detail as well as the look of the gore is outrageous. The splatter is from here to eternity and doesn't stop at the walls or the ceilings. This is the kind of gore that transcends the standard properties of latex and corn syrup. Very practical. Very powerful. Think Dead Alive only more colorful with a bit more wit, less the zombies, more the serial killer ghost clown. It's all used to comedic effect that is perfectly timed. It's colorful and rich and the set design and costume work is surreal and almost Beetleguese at times.

Ross Noble's performance is iconic and inspired. It's probably not every day that you get the opportunity to pump a guys head up with an air pump until... well... you know. Boom. It's not every day you get to play slap stick clown while you're having a knife wrenched through your goddamn brain. Noble is a very physical performer but that doesn't change that he delivers his lines brilliantly. Often times creeping me out, a feat that isn't exactly Sunday morning brunch which got me excited to tell ya'll about it. Plenty of good performances to go around and all of the child actors that participate in the opening sequence should be commended. I hope they don't have nightmares. Scratch that... I hope they have beautiful nightmares and write about them and make great movies just like McMahon.

This is just another great example of Dark Sky Films doing a good job. Solid movie and a rich, colorful Blu-ray that gores the screen and leaves streaks. Both Noble and McMahon do commentary for the film, there's blooper reel and a making of segment. This is a fan ready disc and sure to be a cult classic. Dark Sky has got Frankenstein's Army coming later this year which has me mega excited (this may also be the year of the Frank film with I, Frankenstein and The Frankenstein Theory releasing). Dark Sky is also responsible for Sleep Tight which is just plain sick in all the greatest ways though a bit slow for my taste.

If you enjoyed Killer Klowns from Outer Space but aren't excited to see a remake or a sequel this might be the movie for you. It's funny, creative and over the top (like over the top of the top). Don't let the cover art fool you. This isn't another Kill Joy flick. Did I mention it was shot in Ireland? Enjoy this "ghost clown from beyond the grave" flick. Tell your friends.

Tell them it's the year of the clown!

Make sure to check out the other feature mentioned in this article, No Clowning Around HERE. Also keep an eye out for the Eli Roth produced clown picture to hopefully be released later this year. This could be the start of a new awakening in a subgenre which would be good for horror and could weed out the zombie saturated market that continues to this day.


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