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July 14, 2011


(1989, Dir. by Andrew Jordan.)

Yes, it's true. I have witnessed Things.  I'm not exactly sure that I know what those Things were, and I'm even less sure that I know what I can say to accurately sum up Things.  I remember a comedian once discussing a movie by saying that the writer picked up 7 or 8 scripts, jammed them in a shotgun, fired that against a wall and then picked up the scraps, putting those scraps together to make the script of some movie he didn't like.  Something tells me the screenwriting behind Things was something like that...but without the scripts.  I'm betting they just slapped together blank pieces of paper from different bundles, or something.

Things might be the most ridiculously incoherent movie ever made.  I can't even begin to tell you what occurred in the film, because...well, because the film doesn't make any sense.  And it knows it.  One could possibly say that Things is a David Lynch style mindtrip, but one would also certainly assume that Lynch has total control over his film and a talented eye for what he wants to show us.  I certainly wouldn't say the same thing about Things, because the disjointed film certainly seems to have no rhyme or reason.

Most of the film involves two friends bumbling about a house in the woods while their dialogue directly references films like The Evil Dead and The Last House on the Left.  Many strange and brutal things (there's that word again!) occur to the two men, before their plight is suddenly explained away by a newswoman (adult film star Amber Lynn, who stays clothed and serious throughout the bizarre film) and a new scene begins.  I kind of want to call the film's narrative a "stream of consciousness" type thing...but anyone who could conceive of such a stream needs some kind of mental treatment and probably some anti-psychotic medication.

I really, truly, mean it when I say that I have never seen anything in my life that is like Things.  Is that a good thing? I have no idea.  But this alleged cult masterpiece -  complete with cheesy gore, repetitive music and the worst sound design and post-dubbed dialogue I have ever witnessed - seems to have set out to be this uninterpretable piece of carnage...which is what it is.  So I guess, in that way, Things is a success.

I don't think that success is worth much -  the most incoherent piece of crud is still a piece of crud - but it does leave Things in a class of its own.  If you want to see the most incomprehensible direct-to-VHS gorefest to ever come out of Canada - you want to see Things.

Things is now available on DVD (and, in some places, VHS) via Intervision Picture Corp, who have put together a surprisingly packed DVD.  The disc includes a commentary with the director and stars (which, I have to admit, I'm curious to hear), plus interviews with famous fans (among them are Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener and Tobe Freakin' Hooper!), a 20th anniversary reunion panel, some vintage behind the scenes stuff with Lynn, and more.  Though the film's transfer seems to have been taken from a badly beaten VHS tape, it stands as a reminder that you can't really polish a turd.

Alas, Intervision has done as much polishing as is possible, and members of Things' "cult" will be ecstatic to see this package.  If you're one of them - or if you simply can't turn away from a film that even I can't begin to describe, then you should head over to Intervision's site and witness Things with your own eyes.

You've been warned.


Thomas Duke said...

I was on the fence, but you just sold my ass. Now I gotta come up with some moolah.

JohnBem said...

I am always dubious of movies that deliberately set out to be "cult" or "camp" or "kitsch" as it seems might be the case here. A 20-year-younger me might've taken up the challenge of watching this thing, but now...there's too much other good stuff to watch. I am intrigued by the Tobe Hooper fandom though. Hmmmm...maybe I'll try it after all.