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Stump the Band (V)

“I wanted to be surprised, I wanted to be shocked, I wanted to be entertained, but when all was said and done, I was—like the band—just plain stumped!”

Backroads Americana has surly taken more than its share of hits since DELIVERANCE made move-going audiences squeal like pigs over the fear of being felled-upon by redneck lunatics. This time around corporate retreats (See SEVERANCE) and teens in peril (See WRONG TURN) pass the torch to a “Rock Chick Band” that the writer and director never even bother to provide a name for.

The no-name-band of 4 sexy vixens, a lesbian roadie, an overprotective boyfriend and their lecherous manager are touring the northern US when a stop for directions leads them off the beaten path. The proverbial broken-down car and a skinny dip later and the unlucky seven land right in the arms of a group of whacked out country boys with a very literal foot fetish.

The fact that the filmmakers behind STUMP THE BAND couldn’t bother to name the band in the film shows a true lack of attention to detail in the production. Simply put, they could have called the band “Stump”, and then the film would work on so many more levels! Like the name of the band would be in the title and the more obvious joke would be that the fate that befalls the girls (having their feet cut off…get it…stumps!) would have been funnier. As it stands right now the film is neither funny nor frightening.

Given my affinity for a long-range of bad horror films involving rock bands (ROCK N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE and BLACK ROSES) I was really expecting to enjoy this film. In addition, ever since MISERY took a pretty sledgehammer to Paul Sheldon’s ankles, I’ve had a pretty weak spot for podiatric peril. I mean, SAW showed virtually nothing and I was damn near weeping like a kindergartner with a fallen ice cream cone when the guy from THE PRINCESS BRIDE started hacking off his freaking foot. So, it seems like a killer whose signature move is chopping off sexy girls feet was gonna send me through the roof. But, I didn’t even cringe once. I was too absorbed by the grade-school acting and irritating antics of the characters. It’s like horror movie 101—make the principal cast so annoying that you’re actively rooting for their deaths. I guess in that regard the film succeeds. In all other, including watchability it fails miserably.

Is it the backwoods drama that’s just getting overplayed, or is it the expectation that I was gonna see something fun—a kind of throwback to the ridiculous plot devices and situation that occurred all throughout the 1980’s—that’s really getting me down? I just can’t put a finger on it. In reality the acting is no worse than a dozen or more other no-budget flicks I see every month. I guess the dual promise of severed limbs and rock band road trip antics failed to deliver on my expectations. Perhaps I should shoulder a bit of the blame myself. I can’t express enough—once again—how much measured expectations must come into play when checking out direct-to-video flicks like this one. I wanted to be surprised, I wanted to be shocked, I wanted to be entertained, but when all was said and done, I was—like the band—just plain stumped!



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