- Movie: Things
- Director: Andrew Jordan
- Starring: Barry J. Gillis, Amber Lynn, Doug Bunston, Bruce Roach
- Rotten Tomato Rating: none
A Little Context
If “The Room” is the band selling out arenas, “Things” is the band playing in the basement of your favorite dive bar. Actually, it is the band playing in the dumpster at your local dive bar. “Things” is the bottom of the bad movie barrel.
“Things” is the product of Canada’s own Barry J. Gillis and Andrew Jordan. The two met in high school and bonded over an issue of Fangoria magazine. And again, like “Birdemic,” this movie almost seems too bad. More than just low quality cameras and effects, it seems absurd that anyone would have sat bad and said “yep, it’s finished.” However, it doesn’t take much research to learn that this is movie is the real deal.
I know I said in my “Birdemic” review that it “might be the most poorly made movie I’ve ever seen” but it turns out I spoke way too soon. Shockingly, “Things” was actually filmed for about $25,000 more than than “Birdemic” and I’ll touch on that later.
Take a look at this NSFW (nudity and gore) trailer:
First of all, a little film terminology lesson for those that may not know. “B movie” or “B grade movie” is a fairly common idea, even to those who may not have seen many. Movies of this caliber, despite some bad or campy elements, generally display some level of awareness or production value. From there we devolve into C movies and, at the bottom of the ladder, are the Z movies. Movies in this circle of hell are poorly written, poorly acted, poorly shot, poorly edited, actors might look into the camera, actors might seem to be reading cue cards, the story probably doesn’t make sense, and, in many cases, contains significant levels of gore and/or sexuality. “Things” pretty much has it all.
There is a story here but to say it’s vague it putting it lightly. It appears to revolve around a man who, in his efforts to reproduce, is resorted to some kind of demonic or evil experimentation. The result is the birth of some kind of weird spider-meets-Alien-facehugger creatures that infest the house. Bottom line is that it’s confusing and even the Wikipedia synopsis is only two sentences long. There also appears to be a group of people who are involved in routine murder, which I’m guessing is related to these experiments, although the group is never really explained and we only see a couple of them once. Anyway, our protagonists arrive at this house to hang out and shit starts to go down. Also, we get random cutaways to some sort of news broadcast seemingly filmed at a pawn shop.
It’s fairly obvious with movies like this that the story is just a simple bridge to the gory action shots. Like porn, the story doesn’t really matter. Which is fine. What is strange though is that “Things” actually appears to try really hard to tell some sort of story. Certain scenes and conversations seem to function as a way to build character or suspense. The problem is that the film is so poorly executed that these building scenes are mind numbing. Conversations are long, awkward, and unnatural. Small rooms and hallways are searched for way to long that suspense turns into me shouting “the room is obviously clear, keep going!” at my TV. Wherever they’re filming is obviously tiny and they really tried to make it seem like you couldn’t quickly search this house in about 60 seconds . Shots tend to feel extremely claustrophobic suggesting that there just isn’t room to back the camera up.
The practical effects are not great. I commend them for trying but it seems like they could have spent their money a little differently to more effectively use the gore. Also, it seems like a large portion of their budget went to hire “porn queen” Amber Lynn to play a small part as a newscaster. I know hindsight is 20/20 but rather than pay her for probably a minute worth of screen time, it seems to me that a smarter decision would have been to use the money for more effects. Though who knows, maybe her name on the VHS box got a lot of people to check the movie out. I would imagine, however, that gore is a good enough selling point on its own. These little news breaks add nothing, and in some cases make reference to better horror movies you’ll wish you were watching.
I could go on and on about this but I think you get the idea. “Things” is everything you normally wouldn’t want a movie to be. Which, for our purposes, means it’s basically perfect. Pure Z movie goodness.
But Can I Drink To It?
Yes, you will have to. Audience response to this is probably going to be all over the place, as the pendulum swings from funny to frustrating, but no one will forget the experience.
“Out” or “About” said in that Canadian way – DRINK for 3 seconds!
Cut to the news broadcast – DRINK for 5 seconds!
Puking scene – DRINK for as long as it’s occurring!
Whenever a character drinks and then finishes a beer, you must drink and finish a beer. Also, take a shot of whiskey when the character drinks whiskey (you’ll only need one shot).
Here is the edition I watched and where you can find it: Things DVD for $20 (but most likely discounted). Digital availability is probably not good.
Here is Barry J. Gillis talking about Things on TV from before the film’s release. Here is another little factoid to add some icing on the cake: the movie was originally promoted with a budget of $350,000 as a way to drum up interest. I imagine it was immediately apparent that this movie cost nowhere near that amount.
Post by: Tyler P.
Tyler Phillippi is a former improviser and musician. Now, he mainly focuses on getting through his Netflix queue. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org