You’ve probably celebrated the spooky season this month by binging the best of what horror has to offer. Sometimes the best is of the campiest sort like the Scream franchise or the nostalgic like Nightmare Before Christmas or Hocus Pocus. No matter what you watch, chances are it’s not your first time seeing it. Behind all the familiar names, we found some hidden gems of horror, suspense, and thrills that you probably have never heard of. Here’s one of our hipster picks of Halloween:
by Adam Sellers
Disclaimer: This film is riddled with blood, gore, and worst of all: CLOWNS! Anybody with a weak stomach should turn away right now. You have been warned.
Let’s get it out of the way, clowns can be really freaky. Whether you were someone who was traumatized by last year’s multiple clown sightings or the newest It movie left some nightmare fuel, there’s no denying that clown scare many people or, at the very least, seem unnerving. Whatever the case, it feels appropriate at this time of year to bring up a certain clown movie that many have never heard of. That movie in question is the Irish horror comedy Stitches.
What is Stitches about? To put bluntly, it’s a slasher flick with a killer zombie clown. The plot revolves around a group of teenagers at a house party who are slowly being killed by Stitches the Clown, a once second-rate clown who was accidentally killed during a birthday performance by the aforementioned teenagers many years ago, and is now back from the dead to exact his revenge.
It has most the well-known classic slasher tropes, from a nigh unconquerable villain to a cast of rowdy teenagers who just want to have a good night all topped off with a bloody body count. Outside of the clown, it’s nothing too crazy as far as a slasher movie goes.
The teenager characters in the movie aren’t too spectacular, and many of them are only there to act as an archetype, such as the bully who constantly picks on the main character, the preppy girl who isn’t much nicer, the funny guy who eats a lot, and more. The actual protagonist isn’t any more memorable either, and neither are his close friends. It makes the first half of the movie where the setup takes place a bit boring to watch, but who watches slasher flicks for any of that anyways?
The real star of this movie is the villain, the aforementioned killer clown, Stitches. After getting himself killed in the first scene of the movie, he comes back in the second half to take bloody revenge, and boy is it entertaining! His killings all either incorporate clown themes or are humor based, often incorporating magic tricks (like pulling a rabbit from someone’s esophagus) and post-killing lines with clever wordplay. These moments can range from inventive to groan-worthy to somewhat hilarious. Either way, a lot of the horror is taken away from the killer by doing this, but the return is a great deal of humor.
Unless you have an extreme fear of clowns or gore, it’s hard to call this movie scary, but it definitely fits a horror comedy along the lines of the Evil Dead movies. Many of the moments are simply ludicrous, such as Stitches removing his red ball nose to sniff out his targets or seeing him ride a tricycle to give chase towards his victims. In fact, this might be the funniest clown movie to come out in recent years, if not in the entirety of film history. Of course comedy is subjective, however, and if you’re the type that can’t stand puns or wacky physical gags then this isn’t the kind of movie that would be enjoyable for you.
The word to describe this movie is “fun.” It’s hard to go into most slasher movies expecting actual quality, but that’s because slasher movies aren’t trying to be anything Oscar-worthy. People watch slashers to see characters killed off in a horrifying fashion. Characters should be defined, but not too defined as to detract from the real focus, and if the basic storyline is the same, then why bother reading too much into it? Stitches doesn’t excel in every department, but it hits the right notes to be entertaining. The deaths are gory and inventive, and we don’t care too much about our dying cast while knowing enough as to feel as if the deaths still mean something. At the very least, if a slasher film is intriguing enough to hold the audience’s attention, then it might just be enough to count as an enjoyable film.
Overall, Stitches is a gory and quite humorous piece of entertainment that shouldn’t be approached like a masterpiece, but like a fun experience. If the movie sounds interesting to anybody, it’s currently on Netflix’s streaming service and is worth the watch.
Daley is a Telecommunications (Video Production) major who also minors in Japanese. Through Byte she does graphic design, video editing, podcast hosting, visual effects, and most importantly writing. Daley does this through the scope of examining the impact pop culture has on our everyday lives.