Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andrew Jordan|
|Produced by||Barry J. Gillis|
|Written by||Barry J. Gillis|
Barry J. Gillis
|Music by||Jack Procherer|
|Edited by||Barry J. Gillis|
Left Field Productions
|Distributed by||InterAmerican Entertainment Corp|
Left Field Productions
Things is a 1989 Canadian direct-to-video independent exploitation horror film directed by Andrew Jordan, and written and produced by Jordan and Barry J. Gillis. Containing one of the earliest mainstream film roles of porn star Amber Lynn, the Z movie has a cult following of fans who call themselves "Things-ites". The film has been considered to be one of the worst films of all time.
Plot[edit | edit source]
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2015)
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."
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Barry J. Gillis as Don Drake / TV Maniac
- Amber Lynn as Reporter
- Bruce Hamilton as In Dream
- Robert Allen as TV Victim
- Bruce Roach as Fred Horton
- Doug Bunston as Doug Drake
- Jan W. Pachul as Dr. Lucas
- Patricia Sadler as Susan Drake
Production[edit | edit source]
With a budget between $35,000 and $40,000, the film was shot on both super 8 and 16mm film. Andrew Jordan figured the film would not get any publicity if the true budget were announced, so he convinced Barry J. Gillis to go along with the lie that the film was shot for $350,000. It was not until recent years that Gillis and Jordan began revealing the true budget.
Things reputedly pays homage to several horror icons and films, such as George A. Romero and his feature film Night of the Living Dead, by having the film play on a television screen in the background while porn queen Amber Lynn talks about the case. Romero fought in the courts to instate copyright on Night of the Living Dead, which had been put into the public domain on a technicality.
When one of the characters finds an old tape recorder, clicking "play" blasts weird chants and dialogue through the recorder's speaker, the scene ostensibly evokes the 16mm feature film The Evil Dead. The original Last House on the Left is mentioned by Don Drake, who is played by leading actor Barry J. Gillis.
Release[edit | edit source]
Things was originally released straight to VHS video in September 1989.
It was re-released 19 years later by Intervision on DVD in August 2008 and shown at the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The DVD contains extras, such as audio commentary by Director Andrew Jordon, stars Barry J. Gillis, Doug Bunston, Jan W. Pachul and Victoria Elizabeth Turnbull (Gillis’s daughter); unused footage; Gillis messing with vocal effects; film outtakes; and behind-the-scenes footage.
On November 1, 2009, Things was screened at the South African Horrorfest in Cape Town, South Africa. On March 20, 2009, Things was classified as a restricted movie by the Ontario Film Review Board.
Intervision Pictures released Things on DVD in 2011.
Reception[edit | edit source]
According to Oddity Cinema, Ed Brisson, director of the horror film Graveyard, felt that Things should head the list of "so bad it's good". In a review of the DVD release, J Hurtado of Screen Anarchy wrote: "I'm not sure Things can be reviewed. It sits so far outside of anything that I've ever seen that it may critically unassailable."
They Came From Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema author Caelum Vatnsdal described Things as "the worst Canadian horror film ever made". Author Clive Davies wrote in Spinegrinder: The Movies Most Critics Won't Write about that Things was a strong contender for the title of 'best worst movie', though it is not well known outside of its cult following.
Severed Cinema, noting the near-20 year anniversary of the film's re-release, opines that "Things is the work of a genius, or a madman." It writes that "a new generation of horror fans and people who have been desperately seeking this glistening turd for years can now experience this infamous abomination".
Critic Online details the various other-film references and writes that Things "is definitely one of the worst atrocities ever committed to film". The critic adds, "Yet, it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen too!"
Obscure Horror marks the film as being bad with a "...jumbled mess of visuals, plot veins, and cheesy effects", and grants that what "makes the film watchable and a treat to behold, is the dialogue." The review states that "the actor's [sic] interactions with each other are quite funny", pointing out the "news reporter's acting" as "so brutal...you will fall off your chair laughing at it".
Oh The Horror states simply that "Things is bad. Really really bad." The review states that "Everything that sucks about shitty movies is here in one 84 minute package", but grants that it's worth it: "To get the full effect of Things you need two things: a group of friends and enough beers to kill your kidneys. Only then can you see the greatness of Things and laugh yourself silly". They panned the lighting, the audio, and the music, writing "Things is the epitome of bad Canadian horror", and concluded that the film "earns it's [sic] place as the Worst Canadian Horror Film Ever Made and definitely defines what a cult movie really is".
The Video Graveyard found the film "awful" and "delightful" at the same time, writing "no doubt about it, this is possibly the worst horror film ever made. So pathetic you wonder if the filmmakers weren't aware they were making this piece of cinematic shit during filming, but it's the perfect 'so bad, it's good' film for lovers of bad cinema." In the 2005 "wishlist" of DVDs they'd like to see made, the publication's critic closed "with a what’s got to be the worst movie I’ve ever seen. A movie so bad that you can’t help but love it - yes, I’m taking about 1989’s Things".
Cinema Sewer magazine has repeatedly proclaimed that "this is the worst movie ever made." Robin Bougie, its founder and editor, wrote "I don’t mean ["bad"] 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."
RedLetterMedia covered Things in an episode of Half in the Bag; during the discussion Jay Bauman stated that Things was "probably one of the worst movies ever made", to which Mike Stoklasa replied "I would remove 'probably'."
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Lentz, Harris M. Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Film and Television, McFarland, 2nd edition, 1598 pages, (2000), ISBN 0-7864-0950-9 (for Volume 1); 0-7864-0951-7 (for Volume 2); ISBN 0-7864-0952-5 (for Volume 3)
- "Things overview". film.com. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "Things review". Canuxploitation. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "Supplemental Material". Severed Cinema. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- San, Bavota (2008). "Andrew Jordan Interviewer". Oddity Cinema. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "Films on the Fringe: Things (1989)". Critic Online. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- Things official website
- "Things (1989)". Oh The Horror. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "Things - Left Field Productions". Severed Cinema. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "South African Horrorfest wrap-up and short film winners". shadowrealminc.com. South African Horrorfest. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "THINGS". Ontario Film Review Board. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- THINGS, on Amazon.com
- "Things DVD Review". Screen Anarchy. August 3, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
- Vatnsdal, Caelum (2004). They Came From Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema. Arbeiter Ring Publishing. ISBN 978-1-894037-21-1.
- Davies, Clive (2015). Spinegrinder: The Movies Most Critics Won. Headpress. ISBN 978-1909394278.
- "Things (1989)". Obscure Horror. Archived from the original on December 25, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "The Good, The Bad, and The Wretched". The Video Graveyard. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "Our Most wanted Discs". The Video Graveyard. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- "THINGS on DVD!!", Cinema Sewer, 12 September 2008
- "Half in the Bag: The Conjuring, Only God Forgives, Blue Jasmine, and THINGS". RedLetterMedia. October 7, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
- "Things: The Worst Movie Ever Made". Dread Central. December 10, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
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