Herman is having a bad day.
Actually, that’s an understatement. Herman is having a really bad day. He’s just graduated from college, which is good, and he’s got until Monday to move out of the dorms, which is also good.
But suddenly, he’s got until five today to move out. A moment later, his time is cut to a couple of minutes. When he calls his dad (with whom he was just on the phone), both of his parents have left on a three-month trip overseas.
So he throws his stuff in some boxes and sits on the lawn of his college. A friendly, albeit possibly sinister stranger picks him up and drives him into town, but drives away with all of his stuff.
Herman goes to his friend’s house, only to discover that:
a. His friend is getting married tomorrow.
b. Herman isn’t invited to the wedding, because
c. His friend’s fiancée (who Herman has never met) hates him (which is why they never met), which means this alleged friend has to punch Herman in the face and kick him out the door in order to make his fiancée happy.
Then things turn around. Herman meets a cute girl named Carrie and finds a place to live, with four roommates that suffer from various mental and physical defects. He secures a job from a minute-long phone interview in which he’s asked only one important question – what was his major? It seems World History is the correct answer to secure a position.
And now we’ve gotten through the first ten minutes of the film.
There’s a lot more story to get through, but trying to explain the remainder of the film would only take some of the joy out of watching it.
Take for example, the creature in the basement that steals socks, but only one at a time. Or the fact that Herman’s new job is digging holes. Not for any particular reason, you understand, but because the company at large has a quota to fill.
Or Herman’s girlfriend, Carrie, who eventually has sex with all of Herman’s roommates, up to and including the sock-stealing creature in the basement, who she affectionately calls Wuzzle. Or the fact that everyone but Herman was a dual major, one of them always being comparative lit.
At this point, I’ve still talked about less than half of the film.
“Hey, Stop Stabbing Me!” is a very silly movie, in case you managed to skip reading the title and most of the previous sentences. But more importantly, it’s a funny one, filled with ideas both creative (check out the Hoe-Saw) and bizarre (the roommate who decides to write a symphony about Herman). More importantly, it’s rarely less than entertaining.
In many ways, it’s an even-lower-budget cousin of “Cannibal, The Musical,” right down to the group of friends acting and crewing. With a script written to their friends’ acting strengths, they even manage to get pretty good performances out of everyone involved. In particular, Andy “Hippa” Kriss deserves commendation for making his character both unsettling and hilariously ridiculous.
Sadly, the film isn’t perfect. A dream sequence near the end comes just about out of nowhere (though, interestingly, “Cannibal” also features a dream sequence at about the same point in its running time) and the ending final fight to the death, while amusing, goes on much longer than it should.
This actually is explained in the director’s commentary of this stuffed-to-the-gills DVD. It seems they lost one of their major actors right around the time they were going to shoot the final fight sequence. And by lost, I mean he moved from Minnesota to Arizona and left no address or phone number at which he could be reached. So you can sort of forgive them for making it up at last minute.
While we’re on the subject of the commentary, however, it’s probably a good time to explore what else is on here. In addition to the slightly drunken commentary (a third shade of “Cannibal, The Musical” right there) they’ve included a documentary on the making of the film, a couple of alternate endings, and the trailer for the film.
Also included is a short film they put together called “Magma Head.” Not really worth its own extended review, it’s essentially a thirty-minute gag on the pretentiousness of student films and twist endings, and lacks (by their own admission) a lot of the charm and most of the fun of “Hey… Stop Stabbing Me!”
It’s nice, every once in a while, to not have to quantify a review with the words low-budget flick (As in, it was funny, for a…), and this is one of those rare exceptions. Yeah, it’s goofy, and yeah, it’s cheap, but it’s got charm and funny to spare.
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