Eegah!! says: Okay Folks, I gotta take the night off, and go to my buddy's 90th birthday party, so, would you please welcome back, long lost guest host Zillagord, with something tasty he's cooked up for you called.........
THINGS (Canada, 1989).
Greetings and felicitations, denizens and disciples of the dungeon!! I, Zillagord, maven turkey knocker and cub movie reviewer third class, have broken free from the imperious ivory tower of academia to present to you a mind-numbing exercise in horror and gore, THINGS!! This Canadian import, the brain(dead) child of director/co-writer Andrew Jordan and co-writer/star Barry Gillis is a truly unique and disgusting experience, one that rivals the mighty BLOOD FREAK on my list of all-time, uh…greats?
Was that a “Pshaw!” I heard? Hyperbole, you say? Disbelievers and infidels, feast yer peepers on the following, an email I received from almighty EEGAH!! after he screened the film for possible inclusion on this here blog:
I just finished watching “THINGS!” Please remove my email address from your address book, because I never want to hear from you again. I will send you $10.00 cash ASAP, because I am going to destroy this disc so nobody else you know ever has to endure such punishment again. It was almost nice knowing you, but our friendship is now terminated forever!
Thankfully, fearless readers, our comradeship and my lucrative post were restored after hours of supplication on my part, aided and abetted by several pitchers of frothy margaritas. Moved by my heartfelt devotion to the blog (or was it the Hornitos?), EEGAH!! has charitably forgiven this humble scribe and allowed me to carry on in my duties here, with the caveat that I faithfully man the blender at his bidding whenever he flashes back to the complete and utter horror that is THINGS!! Thanks for the second chance, boss, you won’t regret it. Or will he…?
Surround yourselves with the incredible sounds here! For your amusement, I have included in my review much dialogue from the film because, frankly, these words demonstrate the sheer ludicrousness of the movie more ably that any turkey knocker could hope to articulate. Now, without further adieu…
THINGS is a film by horror fans, which is what makes it so fun: Jordan and Gillis brought the unbridled enthusiasm of Ed Wood and mixed it up with their devotion to horror icons George Romero, David Cronenberg, THE EVIL DEAD, and ALIEN, among others. Gusto only goes so far, though, and what results from this balls-out approach is what frequently happens when one’s balls are out: THINGS is one long episode of indecent exposure!!
The whole magilla starts with a prologue (natcherly), in which Doug (Doug Bunston) encounters this weird masked woman, and the raison d’etre (that’s college-speak for reason, dropouts) of the creatures is revealed.
Doug: “I want you to have my baby. My wife and I tried to have a baby, but we could never get one.”
She reveals the kid, and Rosemary’s Baby it ain’t!
Phew! It was just a dream sequence… or was it???
Doug’s wife is really pregnant, but with what?? Doug gives his wife some pills, “to help ease the pain.” Hey Doug, got any for us?? We’re gonna need ‘em….
My favorite shot in the film. Clearly, the sky is not the limit here.
Out of the Great White North and into the fray comes Doug’s brother Don (left, Barry Gillis) and his friend Fred (Bruce Roach). These dudes are ready to party! Nothing quite as festive as a house with an expectant mother whose belly is fulla critters!
These guys go straight for the booze, and find something curious in the icebox-- a book called “The Horror of 1000 Ugly Brutal Cuts” and a mysterious tape player with some creepy voices on it, leading Don to ask Fred, “How’d that movie start, that one you’re always talking about? You know, that weird one with… all those weird things?” Oh yeah, THAT one!
The creepy voices get a little dull, so Don urges Fred to turn on the TV. “They get the bestiality network up here.” Damn, in America, we’re stuck with only Cinemax.
This must be the Bestiality News! Porn star Amber Lynn proves that although she can’t remember her lines, she can at least read English in her portrayal of (get this) Amber Lynn, Newscaster!
Amber: “A medical discovery from the world-renowned Dr. Lucas of Grizzly Flats. If the human brain is exposed to ultra-violet light, a human’s lifespan will double. Scientists all over the world are very happy with this discovery.” So are the makers of Depends!
Cut to Doc Lucas’s lab for some gratuitous gore and some evil snickering so over the top, it’ll make you think Rocky Rococco is at your cervix! Meh-heh-heh, meh-heh-heh!
Fred: “Isn’t this Salvador Dali’s famous “Devil’s Daughter” painting? It was thought to be burnt years ago.” Gee, you never know what you’ll find in the Canadian wilderness!
Nothing better than watching someone watch television! Now THAT’S entertainment!
Don: “This beer tastes like cowshit. Must’ve come from a well in West Africa.”
Wow! They really DO get the Bestiality Network! I gotta change cable providers….
Finally, after a seemingly interminable 20 minutes of male bonding featuring beer, sandwiches, and television, the THINGS are unleashed! Well, a THING. You gotta start somewhere.
Being men of action, it’s quickly back to the kitchen table for more booze and exposition, as Don reveals to Doug and Fred that crazy Doc Lucas “artificially impregnated” Susan. This leads to one of my favorite stretches of dialogue in the film, as Doug launches into a left-field monologue like no other.
Doug: “I read a story once about something weird like this. It was in a sci-fi novel about a couple of teenagers who had nothing better to do one summer… than to kill a neighborhood boy named Harold…. When he was young, they all bothered him… because he was thin… as a toothpick. As he got older, they… they all laughed at him, because he was fatter than a fridge.” What the…? And that’s only the beginning….
Who are these people, and why aren’t they at the Duran Duran concert?? Meanwhile, the power in the cabin is lost, and Fred spontaneously combusts, off-screen of course.
Don’s explanation: “I think he went into the 3rd, 4th, and 5th dimension.” Well, if Amber Lynn can do the news, I guess anything’s possible!
Don: “You never told me you were a kindergarten artist”
Doug: “Well, you never told me you were an asshole either, I had to find out for myself.”
Don and Doug spring into action… by drinking, telling bad jokes, and waxing philosophical.
Don: “How do you get paper children? You fuck a bag lady!”
Doug: “Does a toilet flush in a blackout?”
Finally (again—like Fred, times seems to slip into the 3rd, 4th, and 5th dimensions during the film, it’s almost like the viewer is in a fugue state), Don and Doug head to the basement to restore power. But THINGS are lurking....
Don: “I’m not very good at electricity things.”
Sheer horror! Doug is bitten, his hand taken by the THINGS. The sound effects and Doug’s tortured screams in this scene are priceless, as is this line from Don: “The blood is just dripping like maple syrup!” These dudes even bleed Canadian!!
The THINGS overrun the joint, killing Doug. Don vows to his brother, “You’re dead…. No way am I gonna let the creatures eat you alive.”
Can a person spontaneously reassemble?? Somehow, Fred’s back, and boy is he pissed there’s no more of that West African beer!
Don makes a grisly discovery: “They ate Susan. They ate her to the skull.”
Fred then meets a similar fate at the jaws of the THINGS. His parting lines: “Don… this is the last time I’m goin’ on any of your trips” and “You little fucker! Come back here with my eyeball!”
Having survived the night, Don encounters good ol’ Doc Lucas, played by Jan W. Pachul. Folks, I have watched 100s of Grade Z flicks, and I must say that this dude is among the worst actors I have ever seen, and I mean that in the best possible way: he’s truly unbelievable. He also has the best line of the film, which concisely articulates the THINGS experience in only six words: “This is ghastly, horrible, brutal… insane!”
The Doc tries to pin the carnage on Don, who replies: “Your experiment fucked up and you’re blaming me? You’re the madman!”
Don, fed up with the Doc, shoves him into a bathroom full of THINGS. The Doc’s last words: “Creatures with no soul are devouring me whole!” And his feet are Longfellows! Don finally makes his escape by leaving through the front door— clever plan!!
Don emits perhaps the greatest man-scream ever committed to celluloid when he finds help!
But alas! It was all a dream… again! Well, part of it was. Uh… I think. What was that I was saying about fugue states? Anyway, Doc Lucas promises “Dead or alive, we’re all gonna getcha!”
And Don irrationally repeats “I’ll be okay” over and over as the dulcet tones of Stryk-9 begin to swell and the credits roll….
WOW! And friends and fiends, I didn’t even get around to a lot of other stuff in the film, including the greatest puking scene ever, an apparent nuclear attack, a Dippy bird, cockroach sandwiches, the song “Tailspin” by Fred’s (Bruce Horton’s) band Familiar Strangers, much, much more hilarious dialogue, and the closing dedication to Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath!
Plus, on the 19 ½ Anniversary DVD, there’s a host of extras, including a THINGS drinking game (take note, EEGAH!!). Folks, I don’t make pronouncements like this lightly: THINGS is the ultimate treasure trove for the trash cineaste. I promise you, if you dig cult horror, THINGS is the film for you!
I would like to thank Andrew Jordan and Barry Gillis for allowing us to use the photos and music from their film, and also for altering my reality with THINGS. You’ll never forget it once you see it, so see it already and let your lifetime resentment against me begin!
Order THINGS here:
Become a friend and fan at the THINGS Facebook page here:
And witness the further warped wizardry of Barry Gillis by checking out the trailer to his latest opus, WICKED WORLD, here:
I am hoping to interview Barry about his experiences with THINGS and WICKED WORLD soon, and I will post the wretched results here at Monster Movie Music. That is, if EEGAH!! doesn’t permanently blacklist me from the blog after this post. Stay tuned! Looks like I better stoke up that blender!!