Tag Archives: children are evil

Watch a clown smackdown

stitches2STITCHES

3 Stars  2012/18/83m

“You’ll die laughing.”

Director/Writer: Conor McMahon / Writer: David O’Brien / Cast: Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Gemma Leah Devereux, Shane Murray Corcoran, Eoghan McQuinn, Thommas Kane Byrne, Roisin Barron, Hugh Mulhern, Lorna Dempsey.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “Oh, look, what a perfect pair: A dick and a c***.”


And here it is, slasher movie number 600. My therapist would have a lot to say.

Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. Some clowns are supremely creepy, others not. But there’s always been that sinister vibe since John Wayne Gacy moonlighted as a children’s clown while burying dead boys under his house, Tim Curry’s turn as Pennywise in IT, and then those sad ones in French circuses that are as depressing as they are unsettling.

Clowns in slasher movies aren’t necessarily a new thing; Victor Salva’s quasi-slasher flick Clownhouse had three of the bastards tormenting some kids, post-Screamie The Clown at Midnight featured a particularly stupid looking one offing teens at an old theater. And now from the unlikely shores of Ireland comes Stitches

Naff party clown Stitches appears at young Tom’s tenth birthday and suffers the slings and arrows of his guests, one of whom ties his shoelaces together, soon after causing him to lose his footing and land eye-first on an upturned knife in a dishwasher cutlery drawer – something yet to turn up in a Final Destination movie.

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Guilt-ridden, Tom discovers a funeral procession of clowns after hours, who conduct a voodoo ceremony in his honour scarring the lad for years to come, not to mention putting the wheels in motion for some deserved revenge.

Six years later, Tom’s friends cajole him into throwing a party while his mother is away. Though clearly not over what happened and popping Hynocil (!) to rid him of his daily hallucinations, Tom reluctantly agrees. In a timely fashion, Stitches is resurrected from the grave and returns to the big old adult-supervision-free house in the middle of nowhere to reap vengeance on the kids who humiliated him all those years earlier. And a poor cat.

Grisly and bloody demises soon befall those who venture off alone, including decapitation, umbrella through the eye, brain-scoop and, most memorably, a case of inflated head syndrome. It’s all executed with its tongue firmly forced into the cheek, albeit it occasionally with dodgy CG effects, but they certainly didn’t hold back on the grue and every sick moment is played out with relish. Eventually, it’s down to Tom and long-time crush Kate to stop the red-nosed fiend.

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The last time the Irish riverdanced with slice n’ dice was the miserable Shrooms and, before that, Evil Breed (a.k.a. Samhain). Comedian Ross Noble is clearly having a ball with the role, spouting enough puns to give Fred Krueger a run – clearly operating under the influence of the Springwood Slasher, complete with Tom’s meds and the whole children-hunted-by-undead-guy schtick. The teenagers fulfill their contractual stereotypes: nasty girl, horny guy, perv, camp fat-ass, emo, et cetera, efficiently enough, although the script never ventures beyond these tropes. Tom and Kate are pleasant enough leads but their doomed friends almost blur into one, like a rained-on portrait of a stock slasher movie victim.

It’s a fun film, stirring up memories of Brit-flick Tormented (which would make a great double-header) as well as Elm Street, but is as shallow as it is bloody, lacking in a few explanations where they may have helped, committing that cardinal sin of allowing the character who caused the accident to live. There’s also a confusing smorgasbord of accents at play, predominantly Irish, but I wasn’t sure where it was supposed to be set.

For some unadulterated splatstick, you can’t go wrong, and while there have been scarier clowns, few are as inventive as Stitches.

Blurb-of-interest: Gemma Leah Devereux has a teeny, tiny role in Comedown.

Icky ways to go: Nosebleed from hell… To hell

Unless you have your fingers permanently jammed up there, or, like Jeremy Melton, the stress of skewering your childhood tormentors causes one, nosebleeds are scary. When I randomly get one with no prior warnings, my first thought is normally: “Argh! I have a brain hemorrhage – I’m dying!”

In the case of this poor doomed schmuck, who models a very fascinating pair of glasses, from the Small Town Zealot range in Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, a nosebleed in church DOES mean death, but, rather than an internal medical cause, He Who Walks Behind the Rows is dishing up a big dose of voodoo via one of his juvenile followers…

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The trickle begins…

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And becomes a flow…

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And then a tide…

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Should’ve gone to Specsavers.

To the devil… bad hair

bloodspell2BLOODSPELL

2 Stars  1988/18/88m

A.k.a. The Boy from Hell; To the Devil a Son

“Daniel has just become eighteen. Time to meet his real father.”

Director: Deryn Warren / Writer: Gerry Daly / Cast: Anthony Jenkins, Aaron Teich, Theodora Louise, Edward Dloughy, Alexandra Kennedy, Douglas Vale, John Reno, Susan Buchanan, Arthur Alexander, Christopher G. Venuti, Kimble Jemison, Heather Green, Jacque J. Coon, Tia Lachelle.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “Everybody is gonna be dead around here before you guys wanna do something about it!”


One of those demonic-child-cum-slasher things that has Jenkins as Daniel, a recently come-of-age teenager who is dropped off by his distraught mother at the St Boniface ‘Evaluation Center’ for troubled kids.

This is because his satanic dad turned up out of the blue and wants to convert sonny boy into a vessel of evil, primed to create the antichrist with a girl of his choice. He chooses suicidal Debbie, whose Chrissie Hynde-look-a-like boyfriend Charlie is suspicious of the newcomer, especially when others at the center begin dropping dead.

First to go are the nasty kids, who meet grisly accidents that include being sucked into a woodchipper; the drop-in therapist is provided with a portion of heart attack-to-go.

Having noticed that Daniel is present at every one of these incidents, Charlie attempts to convince the live-in counsellors and Debbie – in overwrought Pleasence fashion – that Daniel is evil incarnate. Daniel then makes off with Debbie for The Sexening – unless Charlie can lumber to the rescue.

Although not as predictable as the set-up might have you believe, there’s not a whole lot more than sub-par anxious shouting for dialogue and one of the most vulgar wardrobes in movie history. Attach a sappy group-hug ending and the last chance for an inventive shock all but drains away.

Passable and entertaining for lovers of bad 80s fashion and hair, but the spell it attempts to cast is a dud.

Blurb-of-interest: Theodora Louise is actually Twink Caplan, who most famously played the flustered teacher Ms Giest in Clueless. She has the worst hair here.

Enter Sand(ler)man

shortcut2THE SHORTCUT

2 Stars  2009/15/82m

“Some urban legends are real.”

A.k.a. Avoid the Shortcut (UK)

Director: Nicholaus Goossen / Writers: Dan Hannon & Scott Sandler / Cast: Drew Seeley, Shannon Woodward, Katrina Bowden, Dave Franco, Josh Emmerson, Raymond Barry, William B. Davies, Kent Allen, Nicholas Elia.

Body Count: 9


Believe it or not, Adam Sandler is the exec producer on this DVD flick, which comes from the horror arm (Scary Madison) of his production company (Happy Madison).

Nicely made and acted but totally uninvolving and virtually bloodless, this PG-13 quickie begins at Homecoming 1945, where, in the usual small town Americana, a couple of teen sweethearts go into the woods where rape is attempted and the girl, at least, is confronted and catapulted to death by a loitering kid.

The scene is instantly problematic: The male teen-slash-rapist is “being shipped off to Germany” to fight the Nazis, despite the fact World War II had completely ended by mid-1945 and, unless I’m wrong, Homecoming occurs around September… Does he die? Shrug. It’s elided completely, leaving the poor female victim to suffer both his aggression and then also be killed by the psycho-kid.

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Things fortunately improve for the next hour, as new-kid-in-town Derek (Seeley) is made aware of ‘The Shortcut’, a through-private-land forest route where kids have been disappearing on and off for years. After his little brother Tobey takes the dare to go through and encounters a mad old man and a slain dog, Derek finds himself recruited by school jock Taylor, whose dog has been missing for three days.

A trip to ‘The Hartley Farm’ in the middle of the forest proves that the old man is certainly not operating with a full deck and Taylor is convinced his dog has been killed. He, Derek, friends Mark and Lisa, and object-of-lust Christy, opt to carry out a little surveillance and break into the property to fetch proof.

Instead, they find another old man shackled inside the house and foolishly try to set him free, unleashing more horror on themselves.

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The Shortcut eventually shunts into action-gear in the last 20-25 minutes, once the bloodless killing begins and the teens go on the run. It’s over all too quickly before an obnoxious, contrived beyond palpable acceptance of the human mind, twist is thrown from the outer field. It sucks, is treated as a joke and robbed the film of an affable two-and-a-half-star rating.

In the slim ‘for’ column, the cast are good and the characters not revolting teens of the kill-them-now persuasion for a change, but it’s just so one dimensional plotwise, for which the only antidote is to make sure the scary parts are genuinely scary – and here they’re not. A mangled hand is about as grisly as the violence gets, everything else is either off camera or claret-free.

About the only scary prospect The Shortcut had was the possibility Adam Sandler might be in it, but Jack & Jill was far more terrifying.

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Blurb-of-interest: Katrina Bowden was in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil the following year.

Stay home

THE-FOREST-2THE FOREST

1 Stars 1981/18/79m

A.k.a. Don’t Go in the Woods 2

“If you go down to the woods today… You might never get out alive!”

Director: Don Jones / Writer: Evan Jones / Cast: Dean Russell, Elaine Warner, John Batis, Ann Wilkinson, Michael Brody, Jeannette Kelly, Corky Pigeon, Becki Burke.

Body Count: 7

Dire-logue: “I don’t know about splitting up, it’s usually not a good idea.”


It rarely gets worse than this bizarro and painfully dull Californian campers-in-peril flick – like there weren’t enough of them in 1981?

Two couples, who both drive horrible brown cars, venture into the wilderness and become the target of a cannibalistic loon who is haunted by the perky ghosts of his dead children. They, in turn, are haunted by the ghost of their abusive mother, who Daddy killed before losing it.

Elements of The Shining inexplicably creep into the otherwise sub-standard opus, as the ghost-kiddies help the heroine find her missing husband and save the day. But neither she, the kids, the killer, or anyone else in the entire film registers a modicum of empathy as they deliver over dramatic lines for trivial situations and under dramatic responses to fucking ghosts!

Pay attention to the jazzy sax music that plays during one of the murders, where the victim fights the killer with half of a bicycle (!) and the lyrics to an early song: “There’s nothing to fear… people do disappear in the dark side of the foreeeeest.”

If The Forest must teach us anything, it’s that… that… Aw, hell, it can’t teach us jack.

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