Monday, February 7, 2022

We've Got Some THINGS to Experience

To-watch lists vary from one film lover to the next. For some, notching off every Best Picture Oscar winner is the goal, while others vow to see everything from one subgenre or, say, anything Martin Scorsese has ever referenced. Heck, even watching the entire Takashi Miike catalog could take up years of your retired life.

Then there are weirdos like me, seemingly sane, employed individuals whose lives remain incomplete without seeing all the movies considered the worst of all time. 

Hence today's dive into 20th century Canadian history, Andrew Jordan's Things. Next to its psychotic characters and miniscule budget, the bronze medalist villains are technically arachnids, so with February's annual Shortening in full swing, the time has come for yours truly to weigh in. Is Things the worst movie ever made? 

Quick Plot: Doug and his wife Susan have had trouble conceiving, so he's kidnapped a young woman (behind the scenes, a sex worker who only agreed to be on camera if her face was covered by a plastic Halloween mask, so we're already in special territory) to help get that job done. Or something? Honestly, I don't really know. Stuff -- or even, if you prefer, "things" -- happen, and we move upstairs (I THINK?) to what is described as a remote cabin owned by Doug. 

Doug's brother Don and his pal Fred come to visit, raiding the refrigerator for beer only to discover mysterious tape recordings of Aleister Crowley. They play them while recounting the plot of The Evil Dead and farting, which I guess was a popular way to spend a weekend in the late '80s Canadian wilderness.

Doug joins the party with bad news: Susan, who was undergoing radical medical experiments in order to have a baby, has died because her womb exploded? OR SOMETHING? I don't know, there are paper mache spiders everywhere and occasionally, the action pauses for news reports from adult film star Amber Lynn mostly discussing topics that have nothing to do with the action, including George Romero's continued efforts to copyright Night of the Living Dead. 

Do you sometimes find yourself looking at pictures of wolves in the arctic and wondering how there can be universally accepted logic that states such creatures are in the same species as pugs? That feeling of pure incredulous doubt is how you might feel when you realize THINGS is a movie, just like Citizen Kane or Wings of Desire or Friday the 13th Part V. Heck, Pieces suddenly seems like a masterpiece worthy of revaluation after getting through this...thing.

"You Have Just Experienced THINGS" reads the two-colored font at the end of this movie, and you know what? Credit to director Jordan and cowriter Barry J. Gillis because it's true. You don't watch Things. You survive it. 

Have I seen worse? Yes. And yes. And also, yes. But folks, I seek out some very, very bad films. Make no mistake: Things deserves its reputation. It is physically uncomfortable to sit through. 

So yes, obviously: I recommend this movie.

High Points
If nothing else, there's some delight to be found in the utter Canadianness of Things, particularly with my favorite bit of dialogue: 

"The blood is just maple syrup."

I'll take it.

Low Points
I knew I was in trouble when the opening credits employed multiple fonts. IN MULTIPLE COLORS


Lessons Learned
Canadian paper towels are exceedingly noisy

When directing inexperienced actors, perhaps placing the cue cards directly behind the camera and not ten feet to the left will help your overall effect

Refrigerators are a great place to store haunted tape recordings and coats

Look, nobody SHOULD watch Things, but if you're a completist when it comes to the bottom of the very deep barrel of bad horror movies, you kind of HAVE to watch Things. It's there on Shudder to abuse your eyeballs. When you fly too close to the sun and need to be brought back down to the pits of what man can produce, have yourself a watch.

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