by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here on the IndyBlog.
You’ve never seen a movie like Things. The makers of Things have never seen a movie like Things. That’s probably the reason why they filmed Things. Made in 1989, on Super 8 film and in Canada, Things doesn’t feel like a “real” movie. It’s disjointed, displaced, disoriented and disassociated from any and all reality: Characters are overdubbed, reactions are unnatural, plot threads disappear, tone constantly changes … I’m holding the disc in my hand and I still think I dreamed up Things. In a remote cabin, a man, desperately wanting a child, impregnates a woman in a devil mask. His brother (and friend) visits and they eat sandwiches. A woman gives birth and dies inexplicably. Her babies — these bizarre ant-creatures — scamper around the house. Numerous beers are consumed. The best way to describe it is … imagine David Lynch, overdosing on ketamine, directing an episode of Trailer Park Boys. I really need someone else to confirm for me this exists. I’m starting to freak out a little.
As a Native American myself — Choctaw tribe, thank you very much — anytime I see Indians portrayed as something other than casino employees, angry drunks or wise shamans, it tends to bump the flick up a few notches in my eyes, even if it’s a grade-B horror flick starring the dreamy Dean Cain. Cain is a former FBI profiler turned small-town sheriff — aren’t they all? — who is investigating a string of brutal murders wherein all the victims were in the middle of some sort of copulation. He’s also dealing with the infidelity and subsequent disappearance of his wife. Plus, his teen daughter’s burgeoning sexuality is becoming a bit of a headache ... I think you know where this red herring is headed. The local Native Americans believe the killer is the Wendigo — a sort-of wolfman-type creature that appears whenever people start engaging in illicit fornication. For a straight-to-DVD monster movie, Maneater works way better than most, even if I am a little racially biased.
According to a dancing and singing lobster that I once knew, apparently, under the sea is a wholly fantastical place, filled with wondrous creatures and spectacular landscapes that just can’t be duplicated above sea level. What that lobster didn’t tell me, however, is that the ocean can also be a hellish nightmare, an angry kingdom filled with one destructive event after another. That’s where the History Channel’s Underwater Universe comes in, doing its job of making sure I never go into the water again. Killer currents, crushing water pressure, skyscraper-high tsunamis, terrifying predators, underwater volcanos … I’ll just hang out here on the beach, if that’s cool. Like all of the History Channel’s thoroughly entertaining scare-pieces, startling photography and heart-stopping CGI animation add to the terror, leaving little quiet gasps for air with every disaster. By the way, did you ever see that Yellowstone “Supervolcano” special on Discovery? I guess I’m screwed no matter where I am.