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  • Rev Horror


Dir. Joe Sherlock (2020)

An anthology tale of swingers parties, parallel universes, and security guards.

One of the things that has always interested me about Joe Sherlock's filmmaking is how well he does anthology films. So many directors are terrified to go in that direction, feeling like they have a choice of doing either a feature or a short film, and that there's no in-between. Tons of directors would rather release a hundred separate shorts than combine them all together into a palatable anthology film, and it's never made any sense to me at all. Sherlock says fuck all of that, and he releases a nice combination of both types of feature-length films. This time, Joe takes aim at the Things "franchise" and gives us a wide-ranging array of films dealing with some of the best parts of horror.

Told through the lens of a couple of security guards swapping crazy stories, the first short takes place at a swingers party that is beset upon by aliens who would also like to taste human flesh. As always, the skin is in steady supply, with nearly every character showing off a good bit more than you'd expect from a typical horror film. It's also hilarious, with Richard Johnson delivering his normal deadpan delivery that kills every time. The charming insertion of the sci-fi elements work perfectly, and it feels like a throwback to the "nudie cuties" of the 50's and 60's mixed with the science fiction of the same era.

The next story is about a woman named Daisy (Jackey Neyman Jones, Manos: The Hands of Fate) who is recovering from an accident that left her much more dangerous than before. The gore is heavy and very well done, with some truly great prosthetic works on Daisy's post-accident character. It's more of a filler short, however, with very little to do with the rest of the film and just an excuse to showcase some fun effects and up the body count a little.

The final piece focuses on one of the security guards, Frank (Bob Olin), who finds himself in deep trouble after getting home from work. His sister Linnea (Tonjia Atomic) recently passed away, and Frank is struggling with his loss. His sister was a psychic, and one of her clients shows up at his door and talks about Linnea's gift of seeing "around the curve" and into another dimension. Her gift comes from another world, however, and Frank is about to find out that gifts can be dangerous as well. Olin and site-favorite Atomic are both fantastic in this segment, and the story becomes a strange multi-dimensional tale that loops all the way back to where the film started. It's a great way to tie the rest of the film into the wraparound, something that most anthologies fail to do to completion.

Sherlock has made a name for himself with his body positivity nudity and his respectful handling of his actors. Everyone I've talked to in his small community of filmmakers can't say enough about how amazing he is, a rarity in film, though surprisingly much less so within the indie community. It's one of the reasons why so many of his actors keep coming back for more, this Skullface Astronaut acting troupe a mainstay in almost all of his films, and it's also one of the biggest reasons why I'm such a fan of his work. With all of the shitty people in the industry, it's awfully nice to see someone like Sherlock doing things the right way but still delivering what the people want to see, and it's clear that he has a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

Thingz has nothing to do with the series for which it's named, but if you've ever seen Things, you know that's a very good thing. It's a fun watch, but if you're a fan of Skullface Astronaut, you knew that going in. It's equal parts charming seriousness and laugh-out-loud funny, and while it may get old reading me saying the same things over and over again about Sherlock and his merry band of PNW talent pool, it certainly doesn't get old watching them. His work is an acquired taste, as any indie work that is at this level will be, but I have most certainly acquired it, and I hope you do too.

Who this movie is for: Anthology horror lovers, Indie horror fans, Astronaut psychics

Bottom line: Thingz is nothing like its namesake, and that's a good thing. A three-tale anthology with a wide range of topics and a metric fuckton of nudity, this is a fun one for fans of Sherlock and his indie sensibilities. If you like low-rent horror and self-aware humor, I definitely recommend giving this one a shot. You can rent it from Skullface Astronaut's Vimeo channel or grab the DVD from their website.

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