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The Thingy: Confessions of a Teenage Placenta


Cult Classic Horror or Just Weird?

Have you ever watched a low budget horror movie that makes you question your definition of art? A surreal comedy that pushes you to doubt the validity of your entertainment opinions? A surprisingly moving drama that makes you think “Wow, anyone can just put anything on Amazon Prime”? For what may be a very niche audience, all of this and more can be found in one 2013 film The Thingy: Confessions of a Teenage Placenta, directed by Joel Rabijns and Yves Sondermeier. 

This film is either a brilliant, detailed take on the destructively obsessive nature of the self care industry, or it is the epitome of “so bad it’s good”. A disturbing dark comedy, The Thingy follows the bleak life of Luke, a sentient placenta raised as “a human, a Christian, and a soldier.” We watch Luke face the average tribulations of a troubled teen with the added twist that he is a ball of afterbirth, umbilical cord and all, doomed to navigate a cruel world built by those with legs. At school, he is alienated and bullied for being a “freak”, while being hunted by his peers who want to eat him for his nutritional value. At home, his mother, Marianne, is preoccupied with “competition season” during which she obsessively works out her grotesque right arm, which is also the one that she injects with steroids multiple times a day. 

Luke makes earnest attempts throughout his daily life to fit in with his peers and community, even seeking religious guidance when in need of romantic advice. These attempts repeatedly end in dismal, depraved interactions that gradually make the audience lose faith in his world. He is mocked, beaten, taken advantage of, and narrowly avoids being eaten alive on a dinner date. His mother has chosen steroids over him, hiring prostitutes in an attempt to thrust him into adulthood instead of parenting him. 

Luke’s kindness and sensitivity are lost by the tragic, violent end to an already hopeless and confusing story. How many times can one be swung like a lasso by their umbilical cord and still act like nothing’s wrong? Luke is a sensitive soul in a deformed mass of sludge in search of a genuine connection despite the fact everyone around him either hates him or wants to literally suck the life out of him.

It is made clear that the world is eat or be eaten, and that most see little value in him outside of what he can provide from the day he was born. His own mother originally intended to devour him for nutrients until the human she birthed with Luke was still born. He is an easy character to root for, and it is heartbreaking to watch him lose himself to the violence around him. Despite the melodrama of it all, The Thingy is understandably commonly regarded as a hot mess, as well as as a clever parody, so which is it?


Who is This Movie For?

What draws an audience towards movies such as The Thingy? Maybe it’s the ambiguity of the intention behind these crass, surreal horror concepts. The desire to understand the mind of the people who came up with such a twisted, unusually executed film keeps viewers glued to the screen. We’ve all had a laugh and a decent fix of gore out of “bad” horror movies before. The inherently shocking nature of the genre urges its writers and directors to challenge their audience’s physical senses and comfort, but sometimes they end up tapping into our sense of humor more than they intended, if at all.

Horror often takes advantage of this and parodies itself, playing up its ridiculousness and the formulaic patterns of the genre in films such as The Cabin in the Woods and Slumber Party Massacre 3. These are both very successful but self aware films that are obviously laughing with the audience, whereas the seriousness with which The Thingy takes itself is difficult to determine. Is it ingenious or debased? A tear jerker or a side splitter? The uncertainty of whether we should laugh with the film or at the film can be an aspect that seems to either ruin or heighten the viewing experience depending on the viewer. 

The Thingy is brimming with ideas and personality, but seems to lack money and skill. Whether this combination created art, a fever dream, insightful commentary, or all of the above, is truly within the eyes of the beholder. It’s like a poor man’s Jon Waters film. While the overall quality is questionable, the characters are well rounded and empathetic.

If you can see this through the strange artistic choices and rough camera work, The Thingy may be your next favorite movie that you love to hate. 


The Thingy: Confessions of a Teenage Placenta (2013) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Dead Talk News Writer