Color, 2000, 93 mins. 2 secs.
Directed by Josh Miller
Starring Pat Casey, Andy "Hippa" Kriss, Maria A. Morales, N. David Prestwood, Jack Shreck, Josh Miller
Intervision (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD), Sub Rosa (DVD) (US R0 NTSC)
Presented "in glorious mono," the SOV cult item Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! is a goofy little homegrown slasher semi-spoof most famous now as the $500 calling card for the team of Josh Miller and Pat Casey (credited here as Worm Miller and Patrick Casey), who went on to bigger things with National Lampoon's Dorm Daze and the two Sonic the Hedgehog movies. Shot on DV in Bloomington, Minnesota over one month during the summer of 2000, this one first turned up from Sub Rosa and easily ranks as one of their best acquisitions thanks to a genuinely hilarious script that manages to tap into post-college unease with a little horror flair.
Here we get the misadventures of Herman Schumacher (Casey), who's just graduated from St. Olaf College with a world history degree and out on his own. After hitching a ride with a doobie-smoking, Beatles-loving architect who jokes about being a serial killer, Herman finds a flyer for an open roommate spot where he ends up moving in with four other guys. His room is still decorated with all the clothes and belongings of his mysterious predecessor, Thaddeus, but Herman's more focused on finding a job at first to notice how truly weird everything is -- including markers with missing guys' names out in the backyard. Soon he's dealing with a mystery involving claims of a local cult, relationship woes with his sex-crazed girlfriend (Morales), a terrible day job digging holes with fellow world historians, something Sasquatch-like in the basement that keeps stealing his socks, and a homicidal roomie living under the same roof.
Imagine a genre-flavored remake of Better Off Dead made for the cost of a paper boy's fee and that's pretty close to the flavor of this absurdist little treat. It's almost disorienting to see an SOV project with a screenplay this snappy, complete with multiple fun ideas crammed into every scene. Obviously the cheapness of it all will be a stumbling block for some viewers, but if you're used to panning for gold out in the wild, there's a lot to enjoy here. The Sub Rosa DVD (which had a really terrible cover) came out in 2003 with a modified 10th anniversary reissue later, but both went out of circulation ages ago-- and good luck finding a copy anywhere now.
Fortunately that doesn't matter anymore since Intervision finally brought the film back into circulation on Blu-ray in 2022 as a ridiculously stacked special edition that outdoes most major studio efforts. All things considered, it looks really good here with the upconversion yielding some of the better results of all the SOV discs out there right now. The English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track sounds as good as it could with clear dialogue and amusing music choices, and optional English SDH subtitles are provided. Miller, Casey, and actor Andy Kriss (who hasn't acted since but is really funny here) provide a very energetic commentary track (in lieu of the much more free-form one on the DVD) that covers just about everything you could want to know while acknowledging some of their rookie shortcomings (like the pacing for the first 10 minutes). Miller and Casey also provide an upbeat video intro (6m8s) about the remastering and the film's place in their lives, while "Still Stabbing After All These Years" (39m7s) is a video conference reunion with the cast and crew looking back at their lives in Bloomington, the way their paths all crossed (with public access TV playing a big role in high school), and lots of stories from the shoot.
Ported over from the Sub Rosa release is "The State of Stabbing Mike" (18m15s), an account of how an aborted earlier project paved the way for the end result we have now. Also included is a 3m55s reel of two alternate endings (#1 is a lot better), while a big bonus carried over from the 2013 reissue is Sledgehammers at Dawn (83m26s), a far lesser seen Miller and Casey production set in Minnesota's Forsaken Zone, which has seceded from the U.S.A. and is now populated with weirdos and hellholes. Frank (Casey) has just come back from L.A. in time for a massive royal power struggle that can only be resolved with the might of a sledgehammer. You'll see a bunch of familiar faces here, and while it's a much looser and weirder film than Stabbing, there's no doubt it still had the same hands guiding the whole thing. Again you get a Miller and Casey intro (6m27s) explaining how the whole silly thing came together (shot in both Minnesota and L.A. without a finished script), something you find out more in a new commentary track with the pair and Drew Ailes. Carried over from the earlier release is a very off-the-cuff "party" commentary by Miller, Casey, actor Sean Hall, and "anyone else at the party who wanted to talk," which features drunk people wandering in and out at their leisure. Finally you get the funny short film "Magma Head" (33m18s), subtitled "A Film Best Viewed Drunk," with Casey having some very strange escapades trying to realize his dream film project. Also, it probably is best viewed drunk. That one also comes with a Miller and Casey video intro (4m3s) and a commentary by the duo with actor Craig Sherman, all of which explains how the whole thing evolved under daunting scheduling problems. Finally the disc wraps up with three bonus short films: "Big Hit Little Fish" (4m18s) and "Free Chair" (5m31s), both Super 8 Loyola Maramount student films by Miller from 1998, and "Special Studies Film II" (1m35s), a quickie originally included as the intro short for the 2003 DVD release.
Reviewed on May 28, 2022.