WRITERS: Andrew Jordan and Barry J. Gillis
DIRECTOR: Andrew Jordan
STARRING: Barry J. Gillis as Don Drake
Amber Lynn as Herself
Doug Bunston as Doug Drake
Bruce Roach as Fred Horton
Patricia Sadler as Susan Drake
Jan W. Pachul as Dr. Lucas
QUICK CUT: A trio of Canadians hang out in the kitchen drinking beer and eating sandwiches, while in the next room a bunch of spider creatures that want to eat them in the face part of their faces and devour the rules of cinema are lurking.
Don - Our...hero. Who sits around, bitches, drinks beer, and eats a spider. He's generally pretty useless for anything other than wearing a mullet.
Fred - Don's friend who came along for the ride. He leaves the movie pretty early on, wisely enough. But for some reason he comes back for more.
Doug - Don's brother, and the owner of the house where all the terror takes place. Most of the movie is his fault, after taking his wife to a shady fertility doctor.
Dr. Lucas - The shady fertility doctor whose fault the rest of the movie falls upon.
THE GUTS: Well, I just got done doing two movies by the great John Carpenter, so that means it must be at long last time for me to review the classic of the classics, Things! Yes, that's right, we are finally heading to Antar...what? Not The Thing? But Things? From Canada? Things, with an S? From Intervision, the guys that gave me Sledgehammer? Oh...oh god no. Damnit, Canada...
Sigh. Fine. Well, with that bit of disappointment setting in, the movie is expectedly crappy. It kicks off immediately with bad filming, bad lighting, annoying music, and nonsensical things right out of the gate. Get used to it, the entire movie is like that. What we start off with is some guy in glasses finding a woman in a demon mask in his basement, and telling her she wants him to have his baby. The direct approach, ladies and gentlemen.
He explains that he and his wife have been trying to have a baby, so he's come here to the underworld to try and get a baby with the demon. At least, I think so? I really can't be sure if he truly is supposed to be making a Faustian bargain, or if this is some weird role play. The fact that the mask looks like it was bought from a party store, and has a moustache, is not helping.
And then the demon starts stripping. Well, at least the guy is gonna get some foreplay for his everlasting soul. But he doesn't get anywhere, since once old Scratch is nekkid, she reaches into a shower and pulls out a basinette with a baby already in it. And that is the first sentence of this review I never would have expected to type, ever.
Because I haven't had enough opportunity to cry out, "What in the name of Lloyd?!" already, the baby lashes out with a clawed hand, the guy screams, wakes up, and it was all a dream! Seriously, Canada...
He shrugs off his nightmare like it wasn't the most fucked up shit this side of the border, and grabs some pills from the kitchen. Dude, after what you just had visions of, you need to take LESS drugs, not m...OH, he's giving them to his wife, that's...better?
And then the movie's title comes back up. What. The helling hell. Is this. These are the cheesiest out of the video toaster credits ever made. At least they start right off with who is responsible for this theme and terrible music that sounds like it was made by smashing a synthesizer against a rock. They are so on my list. Not to mention this movie is written by its star, that's never a good sign.
Once the drive through the credits is done and the director is left in the woods to die or try and find his way back to civilisation, we suddenly jump over to a random news piece, with Amber Lynn. Nice, she's playing herself. And that stretch of characterisation still somehow makes her the best actor in this so far.
Well, that was a thoroughly pointless news report that added nothing to the story other than a hottish blonde porn star. But it's back to the jackasses in the woods! I assume that's where we are, since all I can see is a light floating in darkness.
They come up to a friend's cabin, who doesn't seem to be home, and decide since the porch light is on, they can turn off the lantern. NO, leave that on!! This movie needs all the lighting it can get!
While raiding Doug's fridge, they find, in the freezer a tape recorder and a book that looks like it was made at home by writing the title on a book cover. You can clearly tell the cover is pasted on paper, and badly at that. They flip through the book and tell us how awful and sick the images in it are. Gee, if only they could show us. But I guess there wasn't anything left in the budget for stick figures!!
They play the tape on the recorder, and Don asks Fred about some movie he likes, trying to remember how it starts, and the friend recounts the opening to Evil Dead, where they play the strange voices on the tape recording they found. And this is why things go badly.
Don throws his coat in the freezer for some reason, and...you know what, no. I can't let that stand. It's not a plot point. It never comes back up, he just tosses his coat in the freezer. Is that to warm it up for when he goes back out into the frozen Canadian winters that are colder than your average freezer? Seriously, is this a thing?
In what may be the worst cut ever, at least by this point of the movie, Doug is suddenly there and angrily grabs the recorder and tells them to shut it off. Thank you, Doug, and your amazing powers of teleportation! The friends shrug this off like it's nothing as Doug disappears just as suddenly as he showed up, and nose around the kitchen.
Can you imagine if your friend suddenly did that? "Hey, Scott. Nice to see you. Didn't see you come in...oh! He's gone. Well, let's see what he has hanging on the walls."
They eventually get bored with that and decide to turn on the tv, because that will be less disturbing to the ailing wife than the tape recorder, I guess. Don tells his friend to check out the underground death and murder stations from out of New York and Texas. Now, Canada, I know we Americans have some crazy ideas about your traditions (Like putting coats in the freezer) but let me reassure you, we do not have death based tv programming. Legal or not.
But rather than murder and death, we cut back to Amber Lynn badly reading cue cards off to the side, and informing us that scientists have discovered if the human brain is exposed to ultraviolet light, it will double your lifespan. This nothing whatsoever to do with the movie, so I continue my streak of WTF?!
Because this movie hasn't made any sense so far, what's wrong with jumping to yet another plot, where two people are peeling apart a guy tied to a chair, and tearing out his tongue. They then whack his hand off with a paper slicer for good measure. It becomes clear, or at least as clear as anything else in this movie, that this is Dr. Lucas, who we'll get around to later. Other than that, this once again has nothing at all to do with the rest of the movie.
While all this is going on, the soundtrack is chanting "kill" over and over again, the occasional "I want you to have my baby" from the start of the movie...and it just said it wants to kill itself. Look, even the movie itself doesn't want to go on. And if the movie wants to put itself out of its and my misery, I am not going to stop it.
And then in what may be the worst reference I have ever heard, we're back to Doug's house, and the friend is inquiring about a painting on the wall. Don tells him that Doug got that from the last place he lived, the last house on the left, 'but that's a different story.' A better one too.
Speaking of better movies, things get a bit meta as the boys spend some time watching movies and mocking them, which just seems rude. And I love that this movie, this turd of an afterbirth, having the nerve to laugh at things on the tv and say that the company puts out the worst crap out there. Because whomever they are? Even THEY would not put out Things!!
Doug wanders back into the movie, and yes he's the guy with his nightmare dreams of womanly Lucifer, and he heads to the fridge and bitches that his friends didn't bring any food. But there's a tasty jacket RIGHT THERE, man!
Since this sitting around and eating bread sandwich bullshit has been going on for what seems like forever, the movie lurches forward when Doug goes to check on his wife. She's instantly screaming in badly dubbed pain to get things rolling again, and her husband calls his friends in to help them.
He tells them to come quick, Susan's sick, but in the three seconds it takes for them to get their hockey-haired asses off the couch, Susan goes from sick to dead. Chestbursters will do that to you. Everyone is to slow to do anything and the creature escapes and hides, after making a light snack of Doug's dog.
Oh look, back to another pointless news report with Amber Lynn, this time about George Romero's ongoing fight regarding his Night of the Living Dead copyrights, and piracy. Still, no plot to be had here.
After all this time, we get a moment of actual plot as Doug explains that he and Susan saw that Dr. Lucas to help them get pregnant, and artificially inseminated her eggs, but something went wrong. And I love Fred's blase, "I'll say!!" moment of snark, but...really? That's in poor taste when your friend's wife has just exploded in bed.
And this should be an emotional scene, but the bad acting, the overacting, and the inability to read lines completely destroys what little emotion there may be. And the literary diversion to a half-assedly remembered scifi story doesn't help. At least Don tried to be literary, I guess.
They try to come up with a plan of attack, but the phone is randomly out for no reason, there's bears and rattlesnakes (!) in the woods, and if they go to town, they'll be dead by morning. Uhh, any particular reason? Roving bands of Canadian gangs in search of bootleg Tim Hortons?
Don goes off on an overacted rant out of semi-nowhere that Dr. Lucas should be locked up, he's crazy, he's evil, he should be dead!! While he's *right* in the long run, he's jumping to some random conclusions here, no?
Before they can get more beer, the solution to all problems, the lights go out. Granted, the only reason I know this is because the movie told me so. I sure couldn't tell by the lights *actually* going out. They more changed from orange to red.
WHY WHY DO WE KEEP CUTTING TO THE POINTLESS NEWS STORIES?? Wait, what? This one is about lost hikers. This might actually be relevant, if that guy being hacked up earlier ever reenters the movie. Wait wait, she just said their names were Don and Fred, the two guys in the other plot.
I...what, movie?! After the pointless news report, we jump back to Doug's place, and they want to know what the hell happened to Fred, saying it looks like he was sucked into a mouse hole, or spontaneous combustion...when the hell did he disappear? Did the editor leave Fred on the cutting room floor?! Why won't they show us what the other two are looking at. Seriously, Canada!!
And Doug is complaining about the blood that is suddenly all over him, which we at least got to see poured onto him from above. Not that seeing that meant a damn thing, since we don't know what was up there! To top it off, Don hands him paper towels to clean himself off. Yeah, that'll help tons.
By this point in the movie, I don't even want to point out that the power is supposed to be out, but water is running perfectly fine to clean off Doug. That might work in some areas, but this cabin is established to be in the middle of nowhere, so I'd say it's iffy. Anyways, they start to head to the basement to fix the fuses, but Doug wusses out, probably because of the crossdressing Beelzebub he keeps down there.
So, since it is too dangerous to go in the basement in the dark, the movie resumes more sitting around and talking. Which has been the majority of the action so far. Sure, Things happen, too bad they keep happening off camera! It's not like people are exploding from the inside, or disappearing, or that there are spidery toothy creatures lurking around. Let's just sit on our asses and drink beer, no hurry to do shit.
Don just ain't drunk enough yet for this movie, and wants more beer, but Doug says there are no more beers. In fact, he goes so far to say that everyone alive in the house knows there's no beer left. Now, a smart movie-goer would think this is a big clue about Don's fate, and maybe it ties back to the news report about the missing and presumed dead hikers. Sadly, what the smart movie-goer thinks is not what the stupid movie does. This little bit of foreshadowing actually foreshadows nothing, means nothing, and never comes up again in any significant way.
Suddenly, they hear something, and start shouting for Fred, and conclude he must have just gone away to get help! How do you come to that conclusion from a branch against the window, or whatever it was they heard? And how would they not notice him leaving this tiny little hovel? Not to mention they thought he burst into flames, earlier. I seriously wonder about this movie.
After Doug looks right into the camera and checks that rule off the list of ones to break, he says he knows Fred is dead, and rides off into the sunset with his woman...no wait, that was Pulp Fiction. And again, that SHOULD tie back into the hardware store news. But no.
Now, NOW is when they ask if the toilet flushes in a blackout. Not that Don ANSWERS that question, but considering they can wash off blood, I suppose it does! But Don is too much of a wussy to be left alone with the creepy crawlies in the house, and sends his friend to look first. You know, they have been awfully calm about these carnivorous critters lurking in their house in the dark.
The pair go on a lengthier than necessary quest for a flashlight, which you would think they'd have grabbed first before wandering a supposedly dark house, but I digress. Instead, Don finds exactly what he was afraid to find, and uses his magical powers of bad editing to summon a cleaver into his hands. Too bad he couldn't pull that trick with flashlights and beer, the movie would have been that much shorter.
More bad editing ensues as Don hacks at the creature, but whenever they cut to it, there's no hacking, no blood, and it's not even moving. As an aside, who leaves their flashlight on the stove? Anyways, after making slashy on the thing, they try to grab the flashlight, but it keeps moving. Well, of course it does, he never hit the damned thing.
And let me make this note to the filmmakers - Hey guys! You've made a lot of boneheaded errors in this movie, too numerous to mention, but here is one little tip. To make the sound of rubbing a paper towel against a flashlight to clean it, DO NOT RUB THE MICROPHONE WITH A PAPER TOWEL! It sounds terrible, and hurts, and no! We also don't really need to watch every inch of it being cleaned. Just sayin'.
The pair spend the next five minutes shining the flashlight over every single nook, cranny, surface, and shadow in the bathroom. There's building tension, there's establishing geography, there's building up to a scare, but then there's I DO NOT CARE.
And the movie somehow manages to start make even less sense. I know, right? Suddenly the brothers are on opposite sides of a door, handing the flashlight back and forth, trying to scare each other, I think. Or attacking each other for no good reason. Continuing to very slowly search the place with the flashlight. Get on with it...Oh!
The movie actually chose to listen to me for a change, and they find one of the creatures sitting on the toilet, which I could have sworn they checked already. But at this point, fuck it. Whatever.
Doug finds this to be the height of hilarity, and Don is completely emotionless about the giant phallic fanged spider thing taking a dump on the toilet. Seriously, he just kinda shrugs and rolls his eyes at his giggly brother. Dude. Giant cannibal spider!! He even shoves Doug into the bathroom to be trapped with the thing.
Then we hear the toilet flush, and sadly, the creature did not somehow cram Doug down the drain.
Finally they go down into the basement, and the music changes from this droning tone that may have just been room noise, but I really don't care, to this almost whimsical piano tune. I'd welcome the change of pace, if it wasn't so damned random.
Don points out the flashlight is getting dim, and gee, how could they have solved that problem? Maybe by not taking ten minutes to explore the house...
The basement is maggotty with the spider-things, and Don inches forward to try and fix the fuses. One of the creatures jumps on the back of Doug's head, making Don suddenly conjure up a hammer and crack his brother in the back of the skull to try and kill...wait. He was in front of Doug, and now suddenly behind, with a hammer. Why, why, why...
Once he's stabbed the spider a bit, Don again tries to fix the fuses while his brother bleeds out on the cellar floor. And the other creatures just sit and watch, I guess. And a classic line, "I better be careful, I'm not very good at electricity things." Fingers crossed for an electrocutional!
He finishes that up, although the lighting continues to suck balls, and Don tries to carry his brother out of the basement, so he doesn't become industrial sized Spider-chow, bitching the entire time. Hey, next time, don't magically teleport behind your brother to hit him in the skull with a hammer. It's your own damned fault.
But it's ok, Doug recovers well enough from a cracked skull, and is quipping by the time he's back up in his shitty kitchen. At least, he's quipping until another creature appears and eats his fingers.
Don has a plan though, and know they need to cauterise the wound, so he sets fire to a piece of construction paper and...NO! No no no, that's not how you do it! Oh geeze, Doug, you're better off dying! Do not let your brother perform this butchery!
Unsurprisingly, Doug immediately dies. Yeah, that's not how you cauterise a wound, dumbass.
Don refuses to let the creatures eat his dead brother alive (Uuuh...) so again tries carrying him around, and bitching about it. You sack of crap. He stuffs Doug into a closet, under the floorboards, to protect him against spider attacks. Because it's not like spiders go for dark, enclosed spaces. But while he's there, he at least arms up with a drill. That will do him good as long as he doesn't go anywhere further than the cord allows.
He finds the 'cute little bloody dog' and throws up for entirely too long. Not that a person wouldn't, just that this movie is padded enough already. And lingering on his puke is not needed. Then suddenly he's drilling something and getting blood splashed all over his face. Since the movie is unable to do a proper edit or tell a proper story, we then learn it's another spider.
Like I called it, his weapon becomes unplugged, and he just can't get it plugged back in. Don stumbles around a bit, frustrated, and lands in another room where the lights are finally turned back on and...
Oh, fuck you movie.
Fuck you in the ear.
Don stumbles into the room, and sitting there in a chair? DOUG! Not dead! Not an amputee! Perfectly fine! Well, as fine as a Canadian can be, I guess.
I am sorry movie, but no. Just. No. You have not earned this. I give up, your badness wins.
Don blandly freaks out over his brother being alive, not the fact that he has two hands which is actually a bit MORE remarkable, I must say. And as fast as he appeared, Doug is suddenly gone again. I seriously just don't care anymore. And then he's back. And gone. STOP THAT.
Oh right, there's annoying not-news reports. I'd almost forgotten, it had been almost 30 minutes since the last one. And apparently Don and Fred have been missing for 14 days. Yeah, it feels that long.
After passing out on the couch, Don gets woken back up by the sounds of a chainsaw, and is greeted by spider-things all around, piled up like pillows on chairs. And...now Fred is alive? He's the one with the chainsaw. Or is he? I don't know if he's maybe still dead like Doug is or isn't, or where he went, and we never learn.
Damnit movie, I challenge you to start making sense. ANY sense at all.
Instead, we get about two minutes straight of spider carnage, which is a lot more bloody and violent than Venom, but then the movie completely undercuts any threat, when Don gets one on top of him and starts giggling like he's being attacked by the tickle monster. Way to go.
The movie has clearly chosen to ignore my challenge, as we jump almost straight back to Amber Lynn, who only seems capable of reporting about the missing Don and Fred, who are now NOT missing, and instead just checked into a hotel somewhere for awhile, as they traveled across the US to see a friend.
But because that was too coherent, it's back to Badly Lit Theatre, where Don and Fred are discovering the spiders have eaten Susan, and they make bad ADR grunting. And the spider battle continues...
Don wusses out again and runs, telling Fred to do the same because he's surely going to die...and then he closes the bedroom door on Fred. Um... He'll surely die NOW, yeah.
Things turn bad for Fred when the spiders eat through his chainsaw's power cord, and he starts calling for help as they move on to eating him. Hey Don, thanks for shutting the door on your friend, asshole.
Fred has the longest dying yells ever, as Don continues to be a dick and almost lets his friend out, only to let the door close again. Fred yells for help, at the spiders, and how they can rebuild him with artificial parts.
And at this point, the movie goes for outright humour. Fred tells Don he's right over here. And over there. And over here... And...Sigh. Then Don finally grows a pair and looks in to help Fred, and is greeted by a talking skull. Sigh some more.
Meanwhile, in the news, people are refusing to leave their homes. WHY? WHY ARE THEY? WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE MOVIE?? THIS IS POINTLESS!!
Oh, remember Dr. Lucas? He finally finds his way into the plot from his own little movie, and looks completely non threatening. Hell, he could be Don's third brother. He gets shown around the place, and is suitably non horrified by the state of affairs and all the blood.
The doctor blames Don for the carnage, what with all the chopped up people and blood, while Don seems to be perfectly okay. It is a reasonable accusation to make, and one the cops would probably buy. There's actually something worthy of a plot there. Oh, and it should be no surprise that Lucas is a bad actor, but he actually starts to crack a smile while delivering lines.
It doesn't help Don's case that all the dead spiders are gone. And I don't know what to make of Lucas, since he's so bad and so overacting, I can't tell if he's innocent or screwing with Don. Don tries to explain away the missing spiders by saying the dead bodies must have been eaten or taken away by others. Well, they did THAT pretty fast. OCD spiders.
They argue back and forth with all the banality they can muster, until Don shoves the doctor into the bathroom where all the creatures are. Do I even bother to ask how he knew? Or why they're hiding? I can at least guess why Don did it, since he thinks the doctor is responsible, but...sigh, there goes the logic train again.
Don crawls into the closet to hang out with his brother's corpse for a bit, still bitching about the inconvenience of him being dead, until he decides to no longer be there, and runs outside to frolic. Well, that's random.
He runs and runs until he finds a guy walking along a bridge, and Don screams for help. Because there's nothing more reassuring than seeing a screaming man in the woods covered in blood and flailing his arms like Kermit the Frog.
Because the movie has yet to learn how to sum up, we get to watch every excrutiating inch of their hike out of the woods, and when Don declares they're finally out, I cheer too. And uh...I think that the guy he found is driving the same care that dropped Don and Fred off at the start, but can't be bothered to confirm.
...How many times can I tell a movie to go fuck itself? The hiker asks Don if he's sure this wasn't all a dream, and we're suddenly back in the cabin with a bloody and crazed Dr. Lucas.
Seriously, Canada. No more moose for you.
Don struggles with the doctor, and gets away, locking himself in another closet, maybe, but the doctor is patient, and will probably just pass the time by cleaning all that crap off of him. Don slinks down to the floor, saying over and over that he'll be okay, not noticing that he is not alone in the closet, and there is a spider-thing just waiting to nom away.
And the movie ends. With one last eff you from me for that kind of ending.
What the hell was that?! I can't even complain about the ending, because it makes as much sense as the rest of the movie!!
Video: Filmed on thrilling 8mm, converted to video tape, released on video, and converted to DVD. How could it not look anything but appalling?
Audio: Terribly overdubbed in a booth somewhere, I imagine, it sounds as bad as the video looks. In fact, you sometimes get the dubbed audio and the original sound at the same time. Because that's not annoying.
Special Features: A nicely packed DVD from Intervision, actually. A commentary by the cast and crew, with Barry Gillis' daughter, who had never seen it before. And if it wasn't entertaining enough to listen to someone bashing a movie, it's made all the better by a teenager bashing a movie made by her father 20 years ago. That was awesome. Another commentary by fans of the movie, and that's just as fun as any fans who lovingly mock something like this. A handful of short bits and reactions to the movie, two short news appearances by Gillis promoting the movie, about ten minutes of unedited footage taken while trying to film Amber Lynn, and a 20th anniversary reunion special. You actually manage to find, past all the goofing around, a decent look at the history and making of this thing.
Sound Bite: "This blood is just dripping like maple syrup!" Don while cauterising his brother's stump. Yep, filmed in Canada. Or Vermont. And psst, if blood is dripping like that, you're cauterising wrong.
First Blood: Susan while giving birth to a spider.
Best Corpse: ...I don't know who is alive or dead in this thing at the point the credits roll. Or even who some people even are. I guess Fred wins it though. Hard to beat a bloody, meaty, talking skull.
Blood Type - B+: I'll give the movie this, it's pretty bloody, and has some surprisingly decent effects for what it is. And the spiders look far better than anything of this sort should.
Sex Appeal: You would think a movie trying to sell copies by having a porn star in it would make use of her for that, but no. The only thing of note is the stripping Satana. And a shirtless Doug.
Movie Review: There is nothing good here. There is no redeeming value. Amateurish. Badly shot, badly edited, bad editing, bad light. Bad, bad, bad. I want to point out the abundance of plot holes, but sigh. And what was with the pointless news reports? What was the point of the guy Dr. Lucas was tearing apart early in the movie? What was the point of anything? How could such a movie actually get released? Things is right down there with other classic Trisks like Corpse Grinders 2 and Colony of the Dark and more as one of the worst movies I have ever seen. One out of five rolls of paper towels.
Entertainment Value: But forget all that. See this movie. My description and breakdown do not do it justice. There is even more WTFery going on than what I was able to include. The screencaps do not do the visuals justice. You simply must see this for yourself in order to believe it. And even then, you won't. Things takes the rules of filmmaking, laughs at them, sets them on fire, takes a dump with them, then Things rewrites its own brand new rules. In crayon. This movie is amazing in its badness, and just...just watch it. I love it for its utter lunacy and incoherence, and for all the wrong reasons. There is nothing good here, except for the badness. Five out of five pointless news reports.
Someday. Someday, Canada. I shall have my revenge.