As Conor McMahon’s Stitches hits cinema’s today, I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at a special preview screening of the film last night in Leicester Square, and had the opportunity to catch up with the Irish filmmaker McMahon and leading star Ross Noble before the event.
Stitches – which follows the revenge plot of a zombie clown, coming back to life to kill those who ruined one of his parties and were the accidental cause of his death – is an unadulterated, gory comedy/horror – and although scary clowns are somewhat of a common horror device within film, Noble feels Stitches offers just a little bit more, well, scum.
“There have been scary clown films in the past but what makes Stitches quite creepy is there an underlying feeling of just scumminess to him, it’s not out and out aggression, there’s a lot of just general scuzziness,” he said.
Noble – who plays the role of Stitches the clown – used to be a children’s entertainer before going into stand-up comedy, and he tells us of how his past experiences came in rather handy when shooting this production.
“Before I did stand-up when I was a kid I wanted to join the circus so I learnt to juggle and ride a unicycle and do all that sort of stuff and then I did it, and after that started doing stand-up and just shelved all of those skills and then thought “well I’ll never use them again” and when I was flicking through the script I thought, “Oh, hello”,” he continued.
“I do all of the stunts, like when I get smacked in the face and all the falls and a bit where I’m up on a high wire, walking along a tight rope and I did that myself. I did all that for real, there are no mock-ups in it – and all of the juggling and everything, that’s all me.”
Meanwhile, director McMahon tells us of his delight of working alongside the hit comedian Noble, and what the Geordie improvisation expert brings to the role.
“I’ve always been a massive fan of Ross’ standup. It was hard to find somebody, I wanted somebody who was physically funny and also very funny themselves and also that hair is just perfect for a clown.
“Also, Ross used to be a children’s entertainer and he’s a big massive horror fan so all of that combined and it was a good match.”
Also fielding a host of questions to the public at a one-off Q&A session after the film had screened last night, McMahon is just thrilled to even be here in the first place – as he admits to having doubts the film would ever see the light of day.
“When you write something five years ago you go through all the different emotions of thinking it’s going to get made and then it’s not, and then even when it is going to get made, you don’t quite believe it’s going to be made. Making any film is tough, it’s a long road you know, but making anything is exciting.
“I was trying to play on the comedy than the creepy atmosphere and hopefully I’ve pulled it off.”
And for Noble, will we see him back on-screen in a feature film anytime soon? Stitches is just his debut film, but now he’s had a taste for it, it appears that his love of niche cinema will lure him back sooner rather than later.
“I love film and I love genre stuff like horror and sci-fi, fantasy type stuff – and for a lot of comedians they just want to be actors, just this idea to be taken seriously as an actor, but since I was a kid I’ve just loved this sort of stuff so I’ve always wanted to get into playing monsters, aliens, and stuff with prosthetics and explosions, that’s what I like,” Noble said.
“If somebody came along and said, “Do you want to play Hamlet?” I’d say, “Well, if I can do it as a ten foot burnt badger, then I’ll do it”. “
Well, when Noble’s badger-based Hamlet adaptation comes out – be sure to reserve us a ticket.