HEY…STOP STABBING ME!

by Dionisio “Don” Traverso Jr.

I bought this movie on a dare.

Yes, that’s right. I own this piece of twisted cinema. I don’t regret it, either, especially since it’s now not only hard to find on DVD, but much more expensive if you do.

I used to hang out at a chain bookstore while waiting for a ride home from work. One of the supervisors there prided himself on having a more-than-good selection of obscure cult movies in the DVD department, and we would have great discussions about the various odd films we’ve seen over the years while giving each other suggestions on the next one to check out. What was great was that he would tell me about upcoming releases of many really obscure titles.

One day, I walked into the DVD department and he rushed up to me, saying, “I’m glad you’re here! I have just the movie for you! And it’s cheap! You gotta get it and tell me how it is!”

“Wait. What?”

“Dude, you have to buy this! It’s only four bucks. If you don’t like it, you’re not out much, or you can bring it back to me and I’ll buy it off you. Wait till you hear the title. You’ll love it.”

“Ooohhhkay. What’s it called?”

And he showed it to me.

Yeah. It’s called “Hey…Stop Stabbing Me!”

Looking at the DVD cover, I knew this wouldn’t be a big budget production, and I was right. When I saw it was filmed on video, I braced myself for what I had thought would be a descent into fake blood, boobs, and bad acting. What I got was something very much different.

It’s directed by Worm Miller (a.k.a. Josh Miller), who also co-wrote with Patrick Casey, who stars as Herman Schumacher, recent college grad with a major in World History. He is almost literally thrust into the world and hitchhikes home to Bloomington, MN with Hugo (played by Jack Shreck), a man who threatens to kill him repeatedly but ends each threat with “just kidding” and then steals his luggage once he drops Herman off. Herman then finds his parents have sold the family home and moved away. He asks his best friend to put him up, but he can’t, because his wife, who’s never met Herman, pathologically hates Herman.

Sitting in a gutter now and down on his luck, he finds a flyer. Someone’s looking for a roommate! Things are looking up! Until he gets assaulted by a 12-year-old boy. But wait! The boy’s hot sister Carrie (played by Maria Morales) apologizes for her brother Mark (Colin Hall) and makes a date with Herman! He goes to the house and meets Blaine, who accepts him immediately as the new roommate! He also inherits all of the previous roommate’s clothes and possessions! Then Herman calls a number for a World Historian job that Hugo had given him before stealing his stuff. After a very short phone interview, he gets it, starting the very next day!

Then things get weird.

Actually, things have been weird since the beginning of this flick. They just get weirder. The World Historian job consists of digging holes in a field in a shirt and tie. Hugo shows up again, selling Herman’s stuff back to him piece by piece. There’s a hairy creature in the basement stealing Herman’s socks. Then there’s the roommates: Blaine (N. David Presswood), initially friendly to Herman, then not when he catches Herman mistakenly using his comb, which he then constantly reminds him of while threatening him; Alan (Sean Hall), jack of all musical instruments, master of none, who like all “great” artists changes his name to Chartreuse; Icky (played by director Worm/Josh Miller), affable but eternally ill; and Damon, who likes Herman A LOT, and tends a garden with signs not with the names of plants, but of the previous roommates. This last thing eventually gives Herman pause. Might one of his roommates be a serial killer?

Look at what I’ve described so far. This shouldn’t have worked. In fact, as a horror comedy, it doesn’t work. There are no scares to be found, but that’s OK. “Hey…Stop Stabbing Me!” is not a horror comedy. It is a great absurdist comedy. It’s goofy, juvenile, and smart, usually all at once. And funny. Funny as hell.

Patrick Casey is great as the nebbishy and at times not-too-bright Herman, as is Andy Kriss as the sinister and also at times not-too-bright Damon. The rest of the cast excellently fill out this crazy world, full of twists, turns, and some WTF moments. In retrospect, this movie isn’t just an absurdist comedy. It’s a Midwestern Absurdist comedy.

For having a budget of maybe $500, Miller and Casey do a great job of keeping things looking mostly professionally done. The climax is not overly bloody, but bloody enough, as well as hysterical.

Five cheese curds out of five!

(P.S, The DVD came with a bonus film by Miller and Casey called…Sledgehammers At Dawn! In that one, they crank the Midwestern Absurdity to 11, but that’s a review for another time!)

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