Stump the Band
by Shrub 6/2/08
Due to be released on DVD 6/3/08 after some delay (the movie has been around since ’06), Stump the Band is almost like watching two different movies. One a plodding, groan-inducing snoozefest, the other a goofy and fun slash-o-rama.
We begin with a glimpse of a flannel wearing figure sharpening an axe to “stump” a nameless victim before we meet our cast… an “all female power punk band”, newly formed and getting ready to hit the road with their manager. An early gig scene is pretty bad as it looks more like it takes place in a country western type pool hall than a typical punk club and the crowd looks costumed (and since when do punk bands have managers anyway?). Before hitting the road, the manager brags to an A&R type that his band will be “bigger than the Bangles”. Ohh kay then.
Cut to the tour van where we have the fun-loving band, business minded manager, a random lesbian who seems to have no real part (other than victim of course), and a whiny, overprotective boyfriend who is ruining all the free-spirited Rock n’ Roll fun and you will want to strangle yourself. The dialog is really struggling at this point and everything seems forced and in slow motion (supposed to build tension?). It seems that this boyfriend, Kyle, gets every other line to bitch and moan (is he supposed to be the “Franklin Hardesty” character here?), and really pushes the flick into teetering on the edge of irritating.
The van runs out of gas of course, spending the night in the middle of nowhere and skinny-dipping follow, and then things start to turn around. Almost 40 minutes in and we finally get our first kill! A couple of minutes after that we get a Kyle vs. Hillbilly fight, and things get even better.
What follows is a rapid succession of booby traps, drumstick gouging, guitar (and blood) slinging, gut ripping, hatchet and saw blade flinging and of course “stumping.” The victims alternate between getting offed in the woods and being drug back to the Texas Chainsaw style death house (similarly inhabited by an all male family, including a more humorous twist on the leatherface and hitchhiker type characters… Dog boy?!??).
The second half of the movie really picks it up all around. Even the jokes get better (“Where’d you get the gun Phil Spector?” “Oddly enough…”). So what I’m saying is if you can just get through the first half, you’ll be in for an entertaining ride all the way to the end where they slam on the brakes with a nasty, darkly comedic climax.