NORTH OF THE BORDER HORROR: Things (1989)

So many of the films that I love, I learned about from the zine Cinema Sewer. Generally, if Robin Bougie recommends a film, you know you’re in for something astounding. And if he recommends a film while also warning you off from it, then you’re probably going to get something that scars you for life.

Here’s what he had to say about Things: “My friends, this is the worst movie ever made.

I don’t mean like the way Troma makes bad movies. I’m talking about bad with the best of intentions, like all of the best “bad” movies. You like tormenting yourself with hilariously trashy, moronic, gory, IDIOTIC bad films??THINGS is the fucking KING of bad movies. This is the movie you put on when you have a get together of pals — and just blow them away. Trust me, you have never seen anything like this in your life. It’s absolutely astonishing in how it is able to MENTALLY WRECK anyone who watches it.

You think you’re bad ass? You think you’ve seen the most insane hardcore shit around? You’ll seriously be weeping and sobbing on the floor in a puddle of your own drool half way through THINGS. Try it and see if I’m joking. JUST FUCKING TRY IT AND SEE IF I’M JOKING!!”

Shot on Super 8 and 16mm film in 1989 for around $35,000, Things was the first Canadian shot-on-Super 8 gore movie that was commercially released on VHS. I can only imagine what people thought if they ever picked this up in a video store. We used to challenge our friends to finish Bloodsucking Freaks when we were kids, because that was the goriest blast of strangeness we could get in our hometown. I fear what I would have grown up to become if I had seen Things when I was in my teens.

Wikipedia is ill-prepared to give a synopsis of this film, saying “A husband with a fanatical desire but inability to father children is driven to force his wife to undergo a dangerous experiment. This results in hatching a non-human life form in his wife’s womb, and the birth of a multitude of things.”

It’s kind of about that. There is also a lot of people drunkenly walking around an apartment talking about Aleister Crowley and Salvador Dali, too. There’s a lot of beer drinking and arguing. And then there’s former adult film star Amber Lynn in one of her first mainstream roles, playing a news reporter who has nothing to do with the rest of the film, with stories about George Romero fighting copyright law.

There’s also a sandwich eating scene that is given just as much importance as the rest of the plot.

This is the kind of movie that I wake up at 5 AM to watch by myself so that I don’t have to deal with Becca coming in and saying, “What the fuck is this shit?” What the fuck is this shit, indeed!

Canuxploitation.com said of the film, “Shot for pocket change in the bleak suburban wilds of Scarborough, Ontario, Things is nothing less than a violent filmic assault on its audience, putting viewers through a punishing gauntlet of technical ineptitude so heinous that it defies every basic assumption about what constitutes a horror film.” They also referred to it as “an entirely dehumanizing film event.”

I don’t know if that’s praise or scorn, a fact that seems to sum up most people who have seen this film. We know it’s bad, we hate that we watched it and yet we feel that we must share it with others so that they can experience whatever the fuck we just watched for ourselves.

In no way is this a good movie or one I feel that anyone who isn’t prepared to deal with psychological torture to watch. There are Casio keyboard tones distorted, chopped and screwed while people worry about going to the bathroom or discuss how they wished their brother had been born a midget. It’s like if David Cronenberg got all fucked up on some old weed that you found in your sock drawer and sat down to scream a story at you through a child’s megaphone toy, pausing every once in awhile to flip on different channels on the TV.

I resisted watching this for so long. And now I’m infected. All I can do is spread the contagion. You can grab the Intervision DVD release of this movie at Severin‘s website if you are brave or stupid enough to want to see it.

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