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by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...

'Things' - 1989, Directed by Andrew Jordan

This is EASILY one of the most deranged, backwoods homemade no-budget flicks I've ever seen. It's no surprise, then, that it apparently has a loyal group of supporters, most from the original 'video store' era. It makes sense...'Things' is truly a cult film. It's so amateurish that it's surreal, it's got totally quotable dialog, and there's really never a dull moment--even when nothing is happening.

Director/writer Andrew Jordan and his best friend Writer/actor Barry J. Gillis cooked this thing up after watching one too many b-horror flicks. They shot it in their own rural Toronto (which made it the first straight-to-video horror film out of Canada...this is the reason for some of the film's notoriety) using friends, prostitutes and even a former porn star as actors. They shot it (poorly) on 16 mm film, and somehow got worldwide distribution.

There's more to the backstory that's equally fascinating, but what's really important is how INSANE this movie is. Exactly 0% of the dialog makes sense. Characters either show NO emotion to the horrific events, or they show the completely WRONG emotion (like a guy laughing and pulling pranks about two minutes after his wife is killed by weird giant bugs.) The plot has so many glaring holes that it can't be unintentional, and might in fact be some sort of demented Canuck humor.

Here's the gist of it...from what I can gather: A guy and a friend go to visit his brother out in the sticks. Said brother is having trouble conceiving with his wife, and has paid an evil doctor to help them out. We know he's evil because there are random shots of him torturing people (at least I think it's him) in his dungeon. He did some weird experiment and now she's pregnant with giant insects. Although we don't find this out until she actually explodes with them, and the brother quickly tells the other two what happened. So it might not be real.

The other two guys just wanted to drink some beers and eat some sandwiches (there's a very long scene about sandwiches) and watch some pirate TV porno, but now there's a very real situation on their hands. So......they continue to drink beer, eat sandwiches, and watch TV. I mean, every now and then one of them will get attacked by a giant bug and die, but he always comes back to life (!) for NO REASON AT ALL. In fact, the only real concern seems to be that the power goes out, and they have to go into the basement to switch the fuse. Oh, and they all have to pee really bad, and there are bugs in the bathroom.

Eventually, after everyone but Barry J. Gillis himself is dead, the doctor shows up on a house call, and semi-convinces Barry that it's all in his head, and HE murdered everybody. This could be true, since the bugs have disappeared. But then they come back, and eat the doctor, then things get even weirder. Really, this movie is something else. It's not like anything you'll see ever, and it might be great. I'm definitely going to watch it again. And again.

Here are a few choice moments if that review doesn't make you want to seek this film out:

"Oh, the blood, it's flowing like...maple syrup!"

"Oh no, I hammered your head, bro!"

"Fred disappeared into the third, fourth, AND fifth dimension!"

...and a guy puts his coat in the freezer. For NO reason.

VHS photo by Toby Hudson.