Conor MacMahon's undead killer clown horror Stitches is out in cinemas tomorrow, and Bleeding Cool was given the opportunity to sit down with the film's monster: stand-up comedian Ross Noble, who makes his feature film acting debut as the eponymous zombie jester*.
Noble stars opposite Tommy Knight, who is best known for his role as Luke Smith in Doctor Who and spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. Knight plays a teenager called Tom haunted by an early birthday party, during which he and his friends quite literally heckled the visiting clown to death. Deciding to move on from the past, Tom throws his first birthday party since the ill-fated clown massacre, unwittingly invoking to dead clown to return and finish his act.
Ross Noble on why clowns are evil
I think it predates [Pennywise], I think that It just tapped into it. Anyone that's been to a circus, which have been around for hundreds of years … Kids have been getting freaked out by clowns for a long time. The reason clowns are frightening is that you've got this sort of projected happiness on their face, but then the eyes are … It's a bit like if you take a piece of paper, and you have no emotion in the face, you just have these eyes knocking about. A bit like Jason with the hockey mask, or even Hannibal Lecter when he's got that mask on. I think there's something about a very still, immovable face, especially when you add to it a big painted smile.
Clowns are so in your face, so brash …When you're a kid, if you experience that, it stays with you.
Ross Noble on being an evil clown
With Stitches I did genuinely try to – because the obvious way to take it is that it's a comedy film, a horror-comedy, so the obvious way to take it would be the Beetlejuice way of making it very over the top and a bit wacky and crazy – I wanted to do exactly the opposite of that. I wanted to bring it down and make it quiet and controlled … as sinister as possible.
Ross Noble on improvised dialogue
In the party scene Conor said, "Kids, just shout at him, just heckle him." So one of the kids goes, "You're not me dad!" and I go, "I could be." The crew all laughed, so we had to film it again because you could hear people laughing.
Ross Noble on special effects
I was there with the cat going, "Really? Are we really doing this? Really?" They'd made a prop cat to look like the real cat, and while I was going like this [waves arms] the cat, one of the legs actually came off. I just went, 'Its leg's come off, can we do that again?' and the crew were like, 'No, it'll be fine, no one will notice.'
With the rabbit as well … I pull a rabbit out of a kid's throat and when I put my hand in his throat, that was a rubber model. Then when I pull it out that was just a really bad stuffed toy rabbit, just lubed up with KY Jelly. Then when you see it in my hand it's perfectly clean, doesn't have a thing on it, because we didn't want to get a real rabbit and cover it in lube. Also because I was wearing white gloves and trying to hold the rabbit in one hand – this really soft, fluffy rabbit – and it was already swaying in the breeze.
Because Bleeding Cool is a classy website, I won't make any distasteful jokes about "lubing the rabbit". That would be inappropriate.
Stitches is in cinemas from Friday October 25th. Check out the trailer below.
*Now there's a combination of words I never thought I'd find myself using.