says Intervision's Carl Daft as he hands over a copy of their
2011 release, “is quite possibly one of the best films
ever made”, though his wry smile suggests that this
opinion might not be entirely sincere, especially as he compares
it to the label's other 'masterpiece'
Burning Moon. Still, what did I have to lose
apart from a few brain cells? And so I sat down to watch what
might well be the most disastrously awful horror film ever shot.
Things opens with a man asking a naked woman
in a cheap Halloween devil mask to have his baby. She explains
that she already has done, and hands over a demonic brat that
claws at him. Then the film starts to get strange.
This is one of the most incomprehensible 85 minutes of film ever
released, but the basic story involves two Canadian dicks (Barry
J. Gillis as Don, Bruce Roach as Fred), who turn up at Don's brother's
house for a few brews, only to find it seemingly empty. After
they have played a cassette tape of evil sounds and leafed through
a book of (unseen) ritual atrocities – both of which they
find in the fridge – brother Doug (Doug Bunston) turns up
to explain that his wife is pregnant with mutant monsters that
burst out of her stomach, the result of some dodgy fertility treatment
by a Dr Lucas (Jan W. Pachul). As these THINGS start
to infest the house, the survivors do what anyone would do in
such a situation – they sit around in the kitchen drinking
and holding random conversations. Eventually, some stuff happens
and some other people turn up and it all finally comes to a merciful
Shot on 8mm and post-dubbed later, Things is
almost entirely incoherent. The editing is so spectacularly ham-fisted
that it quickly becomes impossible to really follow what is happening
– though for the most part, what is happening is 'nothing'.
Instead, we get truly awful actors going through assorted mood
swings, muttering and shouting nonsensical dialogue and occasional
bursts of horror, all shot in what I assume is Dario Argento-inspired
but badly executed swathes of red and blue. The film lurches from
moment to moment, at one point cutting in an unexplained and unconnected
gory torture/mutilation scene, and the 'action' is punctuated
with footage of porn star Amber Lynn as a reporter, reading out
contradictory news reports about how the hapless pair have been
missing for sixteen days or discovered safe and well, despite
all the action taking place on one night and not ending well for
most of the cast. Lynn reads her dialogue from a cue card that
is positioned to her left, so her eye line is continually off.
Yet she's still the best performer here.
is riddled with movie references that are crowbarred in with a
remarkable lack of finesse – Evil Dead,
Last House on the Left, George Romero and Traci
Lords all get name checked, and the THINGS are like a
poor man's Deadly Spawn.
The cast appear to be wasted, and that would certainly be an explanation
for the post-production style too. This is the sort of film where
someone will take his coat off and put it in the freezer and it
doesn't seem odd. It's a film where the reaction to your sister-in-law
giving birth to monsters is to sit around the kitchen chatting,
and where we can spend five minutes watching the heroes looking
at the ceiling. This, kids, is your brain on drugs. It's an artistic
abomination by any normal standards, and yet...
There are films that are bad, and films that are so bad they're
good. Things is neither – despite what
some critics have said, this is just too slow, too
incompetent and too confused to really work at a Bad
Movie Night. Rather, Things is a film that somehow
moves beyond mere badness to become something of a fever-dream
experience. It's the only film I've seen that captures, however
accidentally, the fractured, nonsensical nature of a nightmare.
The production style, the story and the lack of dramatic development
actually suggest that all those involved were entirely
unfamiliar with how movies work – it's as if you've given
a camera and several reels of film to people who had never actually
seen a film before and told them to shoot a horror movie. As such,
it becomes a curious slice of Outsider Art. Undoubtedly dreadful
by any conventional standards, yet clearly a very pure expression
of creativity that remains utterly unique. You simply couldn't
make a film like this by trying to.
So while not exactly a rewarding experience, Things
certainly deserves to be seen, if only to marvel at the sort of
mind that would make such a film and subsequently decide
it was good enough to actually show the world. And hell, Things
got a 1989 VHS release and is now on a shiny new special edition
DVD, so who's had the last laugh?
I T NOW (USA)