Still Stabbin’ After All These Years

| Alex Kies |

A man stands in a white hallway, wearing a white t-shirt that is splattered with blood. Blood streaks down his cheeks. He is holding an ax, which is dangerously close to the camera.

Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! plays at the Trylon Cinema on August 17th. Visit for tickets and more information.

World historian Herman Schumacher graduates from college into a shot-on-video split-level nightmare. His family won’t return his calls, his old friends don’t like him anymore. He works, dressed in a shirt and tie, digging holes in the forest. His girlfriend might be cheating on him. Something is stealing his clothing. His roommates are acting stranger and stranger and disappearing almost as quickly as his clothes. Everyone he speaks to seems to be part of a shadowy cabal of Comparative Literature majors.

That was everything I knew about Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! when I blind-bought the jam-packed Intervision Blu-Ray a few years ago, and I was not disappointed. You will not be either. 

A grainy image of a man dressed in a white button down mowing over another man with a lawnmower. The injured man lays on the ground covered in blood. The men are outdoors, with a row of trees in the background.

What I didn’t know when that disc arrived in the mail is that it was shot in and around Minnesota by Patrick Casey and Josh Miller, the team that has since brought us the scripts for Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Violent Night. So I was surprised when I saw St. Olaf’s sign in the opening shot, and even more surprised when I saw my buddy’s childhood home (wallpaper unmistakable) ten minutes later, and then the park next door immediately thereafter! 

Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! offers nostalgic and hometown appeal, overflowing with Bush-era hometown charm for Minnesotan viewers: John Randle jerseys, hand-me-down Clinton ‘92 shirts (“EDUCATION REFORM!”), Old Dutch Tortilla Chips, Zubaz, Ford vans, and extensive footage of since-developed Bloomington real estate.

Star/producer/writer Patrick Casey as Herman Schumacher and director/producer/writer Josh Miller shot Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! in their Bloomington childhood homes with their high school friends immediately after graduating from college.

Two men stand in a basement. A man wearing glasses is standing close to the camera; a rubber band is wrapped around his finger. The man behind him is shirtless and holding an axe.

One could hardly blame you for lowering your expectations for a horror comedy shot on miniDV with, by, and about teenagers. However, the most striking thing about Hey Stop Stabbing Me! is the professionalism across the board. Within their consumer-grade limitations, Miller finds some nice compositions and the editing is especially tight. The most notable strength is the writing. The genuinely funny jokes are considered and motivated; this isn’t mumblecore at all. The story is a bit all over the place but revolves around a series of tightly constructed setups and payoffs à la Shaun of the Dead. It doesn’t ask too much of its amateur cast, who shine in broad, sitcom performances. Maria A. Morales gives a particularly generous and fearless performance as Herman’s mysterious girlfriend Carrie, and Sean Hall gets to do quite a bit as the inept musical visionary Chartreuse. 

A young woman is lying tied up in yellow rope on train tracks.

Although almost every cast member was of driving age, there isn’t a capital-A adult in sight (except for someone’s mom visible reflected in windows in a couple of shots), giving Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! a delightful sophomoric charm that transcends local interest. 

There is one joke towards the end which speaks to its creator’s youth (again borne bravely by Maria A. Morales), but in general, Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! is a full-hearted romp. So much love for the material but more importantly between everyone involved radiates off the screen, you can’t help but smile with Miller and Casey.

Edited by Olga Tchepikova-Treon

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.