Stitches the Clown (Ross Noble) is a children's entertainer, but he is far from one of the most accomplished around, plying his trade at birthday parties for hard cash to unimpressed tykes. Today he is set to go to the party of Tom, who is having a good time with his friends at his parents' large house, he being the most well off of all of them, or at least they were having a good time until Stitches shows up. They react to his tired antics with derision, popping his balloon animals and throwing ice cream at his ventriloquist's dummy, but then go too far, tying his shoelaces together and knocking him over...
Oh dear, if only the dishwasher hadn't been open then poor old Stitches wouldn't have fallen on the carving knife, which went right through his eye, into his brain and poked out the top of his head. Naturally, he was the worse for wear after that, in fact he was dead, but how dead is he? This was the concoction of by now fairly seasoned Irish horror movie maker Conor McMahon where he was showing the signs of having been brought up on a diet of American slasher flicks as he attempted to create a Freddy Krueger for the British Isles by casting stand-up comedian and comedy panel game stalwart Noble in the role of the supernatural killer who exacts revenge on those who did him wrong.
Not right away, of course, he has to wait till those party kids are teenagers otherwise that would be in terribly bad taste, wouldn't it? Well, it was still in terribly bad taste, but it was meant to be funny, as the starring role for a real life funnyman would indicate, though the question remained whether a comic who delivered his own material would be half as effective working from someone else's script, especially as he had to act menacing at the same time. The answer to that was hearing Noble's usually friendly to a fault Northern accent making with the Krueger-esque quips did elicit a few giggles, no great belly laughs but at least you could see what McMahon and his co-writer David O'Brien were getting at.
Which was a bunch of gory chortles basically, although such was the way the plot was set up Stitches doesn't actually start with the slice and dice until the movie was almost halfway over. Until then, this messed around with setting up the characters, who in by now traditional near the knuckle horror flick style were an obnoxious gang of potential victims, all the better for us to feel very little disappointment when they were finally offed, which suggested cold feet in getting us to care very much beyond appreciating the absurdities when the setpieces began. Well, they weren't all obnoxious, as Tom (Tommy Knight, familiar from The Sarah Jane Adventures on TV) and the girl he carries a torch for (Gemma-Leah Devereux) are quite nice really.
So obviously they're marked out from the beginning as final boy and girl, the ones who can send Stitches back to the grave. Because the title villain was off the screen for a long stretch in the first half, the script gives Tom an anxiety problem for which he needs medication, which seems to make him suffer hallucinations, so in a completely gratuitous scene he envisages his best friend getting his genitals ripped off by the teacher. Stuff like this smacked a little of desperation, but if you found that offputting then you'd better not stick around for once the killer clown stepped up such sequences as him booting someone's head off with his big shoes or making a balloon animal out of someone's intestines (the signature gag) were not for the faint of stomach. Part of the reason this managed a fair degree of entertainment rested on the performance of Noble: he was having a whale of a time and it showed, his goodnatured comedy persona amusingly subverted by having him play the baddie. Music by Paul McDonnell.