Based on the formula slasher flicks of the 80’s, Stupid Teenagers Must Die is a no-budget hilarious ride through stereotypes and super-charged violence. Billing itself with the tagline “Excessive Violence, Gratuitous Nudity, Zero Budget…” the film sets expectations right on target.
All the players are here; the hero, his girlfriend, the goth chick, the tough guy, the blonde bombshell, the shy guy secretly in love with her, two big geeks, and what the hell, a couple of lipstick lesbians. They’re all going to attend a séance to raise the ghost of the killer, Murder McGee.
Don’t bother with names, they’re irrelevant. To ease the burden, go with Wendy and Lisa for the lipstick Lesbos, Little Red Riding Hood for the goth broad, Lenny and Squiggy for the geek duo, and Tiffany…well, hell, she has her name right on her chest.*
The séance and everything is a set-up, a game staged by the lead evil chick and her tough guy boyfriend. The whistle is blown by Kane, the hero in the Thriller jacket. After that, things take a nasty twist and the bodies really start to pile up.
The lights get cut off (with a magnificent reaction by the geeks), suspects, and the obligatory red herring, come to light. Suddenly, things jump to a possession movie (still one more convincing than The Ring Two). The heroes aren’t who you think they are, and neither are the bad guys. In the end, there are more than enough laughs and plenty of blood to make STMD worth the ride.
When shooting for authenticity, the filmmakers hit the nail on the head. The wardrobe guys managed to find Madonna’s entire first two cd’s, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Metallica’s “Kill ‘em All” and even a pink golf shirt with the blazing green Izod alligator.
With the actors each shooting for a stereotype, they all hit the mark. Jovan Meredith (Kane) and the gorgeous Ashley Schneider (Julie) lead the way. Cory Assink shows more talent than he’s supposed to have in a side role as Geek Number One. For the most part, he’s the embodiment of the movie’s comedy relief. If John Heder and Matt Lillard had a love child, it would be Cory Assink.
The film’s low budget is notable from frame one, with the single-shot scenes and dark sets. The soundtrack fits the mood of each scene, with a keyboard-laden score John Carpenter would be proud of. Unfortunately the dialogue isn’t normalized at all, bouncing from near-silence to whiningly loud.
Produced by Sara Parrell, and a presentation of Wiggy VonSchtick, STMD has made its name known on the festival circuit, notching awards from Silicon, Backseat Film Festival, Movie Nation Film Festival and Marscon. The soundtrack is provided by director Smith’s side project, “Raymond & Scum”. Smith might be the next Trey Parker with his desire to participate in so many facets of his film.
This DVD release contains no extras.
*Extra Credit to Jeff Smith for this homage to Judy in Sleepaway Camp.