Will Pfeifer: Monsters, mullets meet for snoozefest
I’ve seen a lifetime’s worth of bad movies, everything from “Plan 9 From Outer Space” to “Showgirls,” but I’ve never seen anything to compare with an obscure — very obscure — film called “Things.”
Produced and starring Barry J. Gillis and directed by Andrew Jordan, “Things” was (barely) released on video in 1989 in the waning years of the VHS boom. It’s unclear how much it cost, but two things are clear: It didn’t cost much, and that money was poorly spent. Everything about
“Things” — script, direction, sets, special effects, cinematography, sound, editing, lighting, and acting (especially acting!) — is so jaw-droppingly awful that I can’t believe it was actually committed to film. Any other so-called bad movie you can think of pales in comparison to the sheer incompetence of this failed attempt at a horror movie.
“Plan 9”? At least it had adequate lighting and professional actors. “Showgirls”? Great sets, and some genuinely funny moments. But “Things”? Forget it. There’s nothing redeeming about this movie, except for the sheer perverse thrill a die-hard movie geek (like me) gets from watching what could possibly be The Worst Movie Ever Made.
“Things” begins in a basement, wisely setting expectations as low as possible. A guy named Doug meets a woman in a devil mask. She strips. He tells her he wants a baby. He says his wife can’t have one. She says, “But I already gave you a baby.” She holds up a baby-sized bundle. A claw reaches out. The guy wakes up.
Congratulations. You’ve just watched the most interesting scene in the movie.
Because once that guy wakes up, the movie stumbles up to the living room and stays there, seemingly forever. Doug’s brother Don (the aforementioned Mr. Gillis) and drinking buddy Fred show up, can’t find Doug, and proceed to: go through the empty kitchen cupboards, find a book and tape recorder in the icebox, put a jacket in the icebox, watch TV and generally sit around waiting for something — anything — to happen. Just like the poor audience.
Eventually, something does happen: Doug’s bedridden wife gives birth to a monster, and, in a flurry of cheap special effects, the three goofballs battle the creepy little beasts. Fred is sucked into the “fourth, fifth and sixth dimensions” and disappears, then reappears, only to be last seen as a blood-covered, talking skull. Don strikes a tough-guy pose (not easy to do in acid-washed jeans and a mullet) and drills the monsters to death. And Doug? I think he dies.
To be honest, I can’t remember. Watching “Things” plays tricks with your mind, and not good ones.
Still sound bearable? Have I mentioned the fake newscasts starring adult film actress Amber Lynn, the only professional “actor” in the movie? Or Don claiming Doug’s thrift store painting is a lost Dali? Or the “twist” ending that somehow involves Don randomly running into the doctor who caused the monster birth in the first place?
“Things” is like a rancid onion that reveals new layers of stink each time you dare to take a bite. It’s so terrible I can’t think of another movie that even comes close. In fact, after watching “Things,” I can’t think of any other movies, period.
If you’d like to experience “Things” for yourself, check out things1989.com. Or, better yet, don’t. Trust me. You’ll thank me for this advice later.
ContactWill Pfeiferat email@example.com or 815-987-1244. Read his Movie Man blog at blogs.e-rockford.com/movie man/.
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