Horror Movie A Day: THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951)
Watch the skies, everywhere! Keep watching the skies!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.]
Of all the horror titles up for grabs this month, Howard Hawks’ production of THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD is probably the biggest gaping hole in my film education. I have seen clips of this movie going far back into my childhood, but never the whole thing from beginning to end. Until today.
Let me start by saying I’m a die-hard fan of John Carpenter’s THE THING, his remake of this film. Who isn’t, right? But that’s one of the holy grail movies for me, something I’ve seen many dozens of times, quote in my daily life and hold up as one of the best examples of horror cinema ever made.
With that high opinion of the remake I don’t think it was ever possible for me to have a fair and balanced view of the original. No matter how much I try to stand back and view it as its own thing (ha!), I can’t help but draw comparisons to the Carpenter film. The remake is too ingrained in me.
In that respect, I greatly prefer the Carpenter version. I love the paranoia, the lack of a love interest, the creatures and overall dark-ass despair that lays over the movie.
However, I’m not an idiot. I can appreciate the original, but I have to put it in the context of its release, what it was like when it original hit.
Even though I’ve covered many films of this era (‘40s and ‘50s) during my AMAD run and have seen many more on my own time, I don’t claim to be an expert on this era of filmmaking by any means, but I can recognize how this film was different from the other films of the era.
For one, Hawks and director Christian Nyby make a big effort to ensure the banter between the cast is realistic. There’s overlapping dialogue and real sense of panic once the alien gets loose. It feels real, like what would happen… just in the body language and line delivery.
The cast assembled is perfect for their roles, especially Kenneth Tobey as Capt. Patrick Hendry. He’s incredibly likable, but strong. In other words you buy him as a leader immediately.
Also great is Douglas Spencer as Scotty, a newspaper reporter along for the discovery. That’s one of the main differences between this film and Carpenter’s remake. Carpenter focused on paranoia and isolation whereas the main thrust of this movie is a group of soldiers and scientists having to band together to survive an alien horror.
Instead of doubting the identity of your fellow humans, the main struggle is between the scientists who want to study The Thing and the army dudes who want to kill it. Hey, I’m pro thinking before killing, but not when you’re in a horror movie, trapped in an arctic base with a plant-monster-alien.
That’s another big difference. The monster is only one and it’s humanoid, basically a tall dude (James Arness) with a big prosthetic head and claw-like hands. He doesn’t infect his victims and none of the movie is about mimicry. Instead they make this monster damn near impossible to kill.
So, the creep-factor, for me, was lesser than the remake, with one big exception. They make a big deal in this movie about how similar this being’s genetic structure is to a plant, even going so far as to have the scientists find a seed pod in its dismembered hand.
There’s a scene where the scientists, unbeknownst to the army dudes, take the seed, plant it in soil and then irrigate the soil with the blood reserves on the base, causing a little garden of plant pods. When this is discovered, the scientists offer a stethoscope to one of the group to listen at one of the pulsating pods. He listens and says it sounds like the screaming a hungry newborn.
Now, we never hear that. I think if we had heard it, it would have been a goosebump moment because the scene as it is is really goddamn off-putting.
One sequence that blew my mind in this movie was the big fire scene. The army guys quickly realize bullets don’t do much against this thing and they decide to douse it with kerosene. I’m sure this scene influenced James Cameron for ALIENS as these guys are barricaded in a room and they know it’s approaching by the beeping of a Geiger Counter, growing more and more rapid as The Thing gets closer.
When he shows up… well, first, The Thing strikes a great horror pose, silhouetted in the doorway, then dashes in, getting instantly covered in kerosene and set on fire… then the crazy bastards throw MORE kerosene on the stunt man that almost causes a fireball effect.
Keep in mind, these fearless bastards are doing this stunt in a small room with the majority of the cast in there. It looks dangerous and probably was. That particular scene makes this movie stand-out by itself, especially by today’s standards where everything is regulated and overseen by different groups. You’d never get a fire stunt done in cramped close quarters with the main cast within inches of the flames… and THROWING MORE GAS ON THE FIRE! Crazy bastards…
Final Thoughts: Overall, it is an impressive film and one I greatly enjoyed watching, but I have to side with Carpenter’s version. I think it was better filmmaking, to be perfectly frank. This one is a product of its time and as a result we have a standard girl to be romantic with Kenneth Tobey and a cast that never really conveys the actual horror of the situation. After this thing attacks, we’ll get a scene of the guys joking around with each other… while the thing is still on the loose… like they’re in a war comedy or something. You don’t see the horror on their faces outside of the scenes with the actual monster. But the iconography is there. It’s just not as impressive to me as John Carpenter’s film. You might be able to argue that’s unfair, to compare the two, but that’s the only way I can review this movie with any honesty because I couldn’t help but compare the two as I watched.
Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October:
Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here!
Now’s the the time to pull the next HMAD!
Next up is:
From ‘50s black and white horror to ‘60s Technicolor. From John W. Campbell Jr. to Edgar Allen Poe. Interesting jump! See you folks tomorrow with that one!
June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did
October 11th: I Spit On Your Grave
October 12th: Naked You Die
October 13th: The Wraith
October 14th: Silent Night, Bloody Night
October 15th: I Bury The Living
October 16th: The Beast Must Die
October 17th: Hellgate
October 18th: He Knows You’re Alone
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 20, 2008, 5:20 a.m. CST
Wonder if that was an inspiration for Roger Corman's Little Shop of Horrors?
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:36 a.m. CST
The only real similarity is an alien and an arctic base.
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:38 a.m. CST
-one of my favorite shots in any movie EVER. What's the next movie Quint? I'm just getting another pic of the Thing...
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:42 a.m. CST
This was another, indeed the best, of those Commie-as-alien movies, with the alien threatening to replace a planet of individuals into row upon row of clones. My standout moment is the bit when they barracde the door with wood and then the Thing opens the door OUTWARDS. Genius humans. Note to quint, although the remake is less to do with this one and more to do with the book (John Campbell's "Who Goes There?"), ALIEN borrowed the story and plot points (tracking devices, scientists as a 5th column, usng humans as hosts, etc) wholesale. That is all.
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:45 a.m. CST
What are you watching tomorrow, Quint?
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:48 a.m. CST
This is the best example there is of why kids find shitty CG sequels better than classic originals. You preffer the one made for you, the most up to date one with the most recent FX and relevant plot for your time. The first King Kong must look real shit to kids who see it after Jacksons and they have a point! it's a mouldy old, flea bitten stop animated puppet! compared to photo realistic energised 3 X T-Rex pounding Mo'Fo KK!!! but to the audience in 1933 it must have been even more scary!<P>Don't really know where i'm going with this i'm just rambling after a cafein fix but it's cool to apreciate the source too or have a fondness or a true understanding of the time the originals were made in so this review was cool<P> I have a sneaking suspision that the piece of crap The Happening was supposed to capture that wide eyed inocence of movies like this with the slightly strange/dodgy line delivery and random scenes but it didn't work<P>Movies are as organic as the Thing and have an atmos all their own, Invasion of the Body Snatchers Donald Sutherland version is my choice, as is American Werewolf over the old ones although Curse of the Werewolf scared the piss out of me as a wee lad! To knock old movies is pointless unless they're just shit like an Ed-wood turkey and so is trying to replicate them and thats why Carpenters Thing works so well because he took it and turned it up to 11 just for us gore kids at that time and I dare say it feels dated to kids these days who prefer their movie fix with CG sprinkles.
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:55 a.m. CST
by Det. John Kimble
I agree that the "remake" outclasses the "original" but as a kid, seeing this on KTLA in the late seventies, the plant-man Thing creeped me out. Of course, a spider head kicks all kinds of ass on Marshall Dillon with claw hands. But hey, it was the 50's.
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:57 a.m. CST
by Det. John Kimble
Is that you John Wayne?
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:59 a.m. CST
And here is the German DVD cover. (I wonder why the hero is holding a giant Dildo in his hands...)<br> http://tinyurl.com/55dfno
Oct. 20, 2008, 6:18 a.m. CST
by The Amazing G
I lol'd at the german dvd cover
Oct. 20, 2008, 6:36 a.m. CST
Oct. 20, 2008, 6:50 a.m. CST
...and is it true that it was the first to feature a flying saucer?
Oct. 20, 2008, 6:56 a.m. CST
If anyone is in Wimbledon in London next week, you could come and see our tribute to these wonderful films. Check out www.nastysweets for more info.
Oct. 20, 2008, 7:07 a.m. CST
first time seeing my fav film on the big screen and fuck me was it not brilliant, it was playing as part of some festival so the audience were all fans and i loved every second of it even though i can quote it line for line, took the g/f who had never seen it before, there were like 4 people in the audience who hadn’t seen it and each and everyone jumped like fuck throughout it, she loved it and apart from the ropey effects at the end, it’s still stands the test of time to this day! Outstandingly perfect flick.
Oct. 20, 2008, 7:13 a.m. CST
The funny thing about the original movie is that the creature is understandably pissed off. First it crashes into earth and freezes, then a bunch of dudes come by and blow up his ride, he gets his hand bitten off by a bunch of dogs. I wouldn't be in a socialable mood either.
Oct. 20, 2008, 7:15 a.m. CST
by Mace Tofu
as a sequel to Hawks version. In Carpenters Thing when they watch the video tapes the "SWEDS" are doing the same action as events from the Hawk version. Same as the Body Snatcher films- Loosely sequels with slight nods to the originals.
Oct. 20, 2008, 7:16 a.m. CST
by moody by nature
i had to work, would've loved to have seen it on the big screen. I managed to catch the Sir Christopher Frayling talk on Morricone that morning though. Good stuff.
Oct. 20, 2008, 7:18 a.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
The Thing. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle. GI Joe.
Oct. 20, 2008, 7:34 a.m. CST
by just pillow talk
which is why I own it now. Nor do I even compare this to Carpenter's, because really, there's no need. <p>Who knew an electric blanket could cause so much trouble?
Oct. 20, 2008, 8:15 a.m. CST
Though the post-attack buddy jabber seems improbable to Quint, you've gotta consider that the characters in this movie are probably veterans of WWII and Korea. As airforce, we are talking steely-eyed missile men who make a plan, and execute it. Aliens may be scary, but these guys likely saw far worse things in the previous decade, so could turn off the fear centers. <P> Compare this with the alcholics, derelicts and layabouts in Carpenter's THING. I always got the feeling there that those guys were in Antarctic because it was the furthest place they could run to get away from everything. I'm sure an argument could be made that they are mostly Vietnam vets, and the untrusting paranoia comes from their different experience after the carpet was pulled from under them. But those things are only implied, not expressed. Maybe they are just guys who packed it up after a bad divorce. <p> Anyway I was lucky to see Hawks "Thing" when I was 12 on "Movie Greats" one afternoon. Scared the bejeezus out of me. "KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES!!!"
Oct. 20, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST
by Sith Witch
I thought Carpenter's remake was okay; it's just one of those films that I never understood the appeal of. But when I then watched the original I was genuinely terrified for the characters. I suppose it had something to do with Carpenter's over-the-top gore vs. the lurking giant in the dark aspect of Hawks' version. But I understand I'm in the minority here...
Oct. 20, 2008, 8:57 a.m. CST
by I am_NOTREAL
Mostly because I saw it first...sometime around 10 to 12 years old, free showing at a museum in town. Didn't expect some old monster movie from the 50s to be anywhere as cool as it was. Some of the gore and creature effects in Carpenter's just seemed, well, a little silly to me--as though they were sitting around getting stoned and wondering how much more over the top they could make it. But if your standard is faithfulness to the source material, Carpenter's wins, hands down, even down to some of the character names.
Oct. 20, 2008, 9 a.m. CST
by Limulus Polyphemus
I think the video of the Swedes they watch (in the remake) is footage from the original. I love both versions. Awesome matte work in that scene from the original BTW.
Oct. 20, 2008, 9:03 a.m. CST
by vic twenty
is seeing the influence this obviously had on later films. Someone had mentioned Alien earlier on, and when I first saw this years (or was it decades?)ago I immediately thought of that. That said, I really love Carpenter's film. It was one of those movies that blew my 12-yr-old mind when I snuck in and saw it in the theater.
Why the need to compare the two at all? It almost sounds like you're trying to convince yourself. That being said, how about measuring them not as horror movies, but as movies? The banter and all the subplots make this movie endlessly re-watchable for me, something I can't say for the remake. The remake with it's gore, paranoia, mistrust, and increasing claustrophobia has little rewatch value foe me. And yes I get the whole it's a dark and hopeless place where no one gets out alive bit. But I don't need movies as yet another confirmation of reality. The dreariness of there being no exit isn't a theme that draws me back for repeat viewings. The original never gets tired and is endlessly fun. The sheer pleasure of the banter, the characters and the myriad subplots keeps me coming back again and again. Being grabbed by the back of the head and forced to stare at a horrible truth isn't magic. It's called reality, and it;s all around us. But the the power of a spell cast to distract us from the horror is magic; it is the magic of movies.
Oct. 20, 2008, 9:27 a.m. CST
I was maybe 10-11 years old (1977-78) and my family was stationed at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas, where I'd routinely sneak out of bed on Friday nights to watch "Project Terror," one of the old-school weekend horror anthology series. THE THING is one of the very few movie experiences that stuck with me (most were pablum); it was such a frightening movie I dragged my mother out of bed to crash on the couch behind me so I could bear to watch the final third of the film. I totally agree that Carpenter's THING is an unbeatable horror experience... but as a 10-year-old, there was nothing else in the world that had ever frightened me more than Hawks' classic take on the Campbell story. Just a brilliant, brilliant film, which holds up beautifully today thanks to the terrific cast and loving restoration on DVD. They're both shelf-worthy!!
Oct. 20, 2008, 9:37 a.m. CST
by Kaiser Soze
A few years ago, a really craptacular video game based on The Thing was released on the original xbox. At the time, I remember reading an article, and it talked about the game being a sequel to Carpenter's, where another group of people come across the arctic base and find what's left of the creature. In that article, it talked about Carpenter's, and had said that his original intent was for his film to be a sequel to the Hawks one, that he had another group stumble upon the site after Hawks group had been killed. I had always looked at the films that way.
Oct. 20, 2008, 9:51 a.m. CST
Quint, ya gotta read 'who goes there'. It's fascinating to see how the two directors took completely different elements of the same story and came out with such completely different visions. Hawkes got the base right, cast of hundreds, fire, scientists trying to study it, and so on, he also got the end from the story, which was a much happier ending then Carpenters. Carpenter on the other hand got the monster right, and kept the interrogation scene with the blood sample from the story, only amping the stakes way up by having a smaller cast. Read the story and you'll want to revisit both movies. While you're at it, check out a short story called "The Racer" which was later made into Death Race 2000. Frankenstein drives the Bull in that one. brilliat story.
Oct. 20, 2008, 9:53 a.m. CST
I love the grunt level of cold war propaganda in this movie. The mincing effete scientist wants to all but worship the alien no matter who it hurts and the army captain wants to screw the hottie, blow up the flying saucer and fry the alien like an egg. They don't make 'em like this anymore! Keep watching the skies! Also report unusal behavior to the committee for un-American activities!
Oct. 20, 2008, 10:18 a.m. CST
over the decades in sc-fi films, that view the military as the "bad guy" and the scientists as the "good guy". <p>Of course the major difference between the two is in the way the alien invades/attacks, the tone, and the pacing. Much like Poltergeist, its been rumored (proven?) that Howard Hawks directed a lot of scenes himself. The quick pace overlapping dialogue the key. And I love the ad highlighting James Arness as The Thing (prolly during the Gunsmoke years), when he is near impossible to recognize due to make-up and lighting.
Oct. 20, 2008, 10:20 a.m. CST
Ya beat me to the point.
Oct. 20, 2008, 10:44 a.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
It's funny how many people have said that since the recent glut of horror remakes started, and yet Carpenter's film IS A REMAKE ITSELF. Anyways, I love both versions of the story, and the 50's version remains one of the best sci-fi/horror films of it's decade. Gotta love that Dmitri Tiomkin score!
Oct. 20, 2008, 10:51 a.m. CST
For a sci-fi flick made in '51 to have all that overlapping dialogue was revolutionary. Love how so well blocked many of the shots are (notice how damn CROWDED the frame gets sometimes!). It's just a different film than the Carpenter one, and they're both wonderful...
Oct. 20, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST
these are two of my favs, and I just thought that line from the '51 was classic.
Oct. 20, 2008, 10:59 a.m. CST
"The Kiss". Creepy little horror flick from 1988. Stars Joanna Pacula as some type of voodoo/witch thing who comes to live with her dead sister's daughter, played by the super hot Merideth Salinger. The film feels completely 80's for sure, but not bad.
Oct. 20, 2008, 11:09 a.m. CST
The dudes that produced or were behind the movies Slither and 2004 Dawn of the Dead were suppose to make a sequel or prequel to the 1982 version. Actually it should of been out by now. And before that Frank Darabont was suppose to do a continuation to Carpenter's version as mini-series for The Sci-Fi channel. WTF! Is this shit just rumors?
Oct. 20, 2008, 11:12 a.m. CST
Too bad they don't allow that kind of thing anymore. Now we're stuck with shitty CGI. Thanks a lot, safety people. I'm gonna start supporting more illegal filmmaking.
Oct. 20, 2008, 11:56 a.m. CST
That Carpenter's version is a take on the source material (you said as much yourself), and not an actual remake per se. Its like Cronenberg's The Fly. He took the germ idea of a fly in a transporter, and went off in his own fashion, not following the film or short story.
Oct. 20, 2008, 11:59 a.m. CST
..It's just another adaption of the original story. If he had taken aspects of the movie which wasn't in the original story and played with that, it would be a remake. Carpenters the thing is one of my all time favorite movies of any genre. Carpenter was definitely at the hieght of his powers when he made it. Watching that film, you have to think it was either a light hearted shoot with a lot of camraderie, or it was an intense, depressing experience with carpenter trying to keep the actors seperated and at odds. Was there ever a commentary track done for the movie?
Oct. 20, 2008, 12:06 p.m. CST
The commentary track is the same between Carpenter and Russell, which is a hoot. Their commentaries are always like a couple of buds getting together while the film plays. There is the doc The Thing Takes Shape, more about the making of the movie, but, by all accounts the cast and crew got together fine.
Oct. 20, 2008, 12:07 p.m. CST
"Oh here comes my favorite line"...(Clennon)"You've got to fucking kidding me.."..and Russell laughs.
Oct. 20, 2008, 12:51 p.m. CST
Based on the story "Who Goes There" by John W. Campbell, Jr.?
Oct. 20, 2008, 1:21 p.m. CST
by El Borak
is awesome. like others have said the paranoia is really there and disturbing things occur.
Oct. 20, 2008, 1:54 p.m. CST
Ever listened to the one for "Big Trouble In Little China"? They suddenly start talking about whole different topics (like their children) and I didn't care because it's so much fun to listen to them!<br> Shit, they really should make another movie together!
Oct. 20, 2008, 2:16 p.m. CST
It's true, those two guys are very entertaining together, and Carpenter is one of those honest humble people you just have to admire. <p> The ones without Russel are pretty awesome too, specialy the one he did for THE FOG. The guy is so honest he even shits on his own movie, and admits far more flaws than we fanboys will ever even see. I once read some fucko in the IMDB boards talking about the PRINCE OF DARKNESS commentary, but by God my DVD doesn't have one. Anybody here know something? <p> One final thing: I must say JC'S goodbye line on the commentaries always makes me sad. He says "...And I'll see you guys at the movies"... Only we haven't. Please mr. John Carpenter, sir. Come the fuck back, thanks.
Oct. 20, 2008, 2:29 p.m. CST
Few other Sci-fi Movies "feel" as of it's time and sci-fi as the thing from another world. It has atmosphere aplenty with some very effective camerawork and sound effects/music.<p> <p>The ring of people to measure the saucer scene was also nicely done.<p> <p>Yes it's cheese filled in places but amusingly so and some of the Artic shots and airplane work give it a nice bit of scope and it never feels shoddy or appalingly low budget like the majority of Sci-fi from the period.
Oct. 20, 2008, 3:28 p.m. CST
Palmer; Hey, thanks for thinkin' about it though.
Oct. 20, 2008, 3:30 p.m. CST
As a general genre rule of thumb, if the scientists are right and the army is wrong, it's a science fiction movie (Day the Earth Stood Still, etc)... if the army is right and the scientists are wrong, it's a horror movie (The Thing from Another World). Though if it's a Frankenstein-style over-reacher plot (Alien, etc) there can be elements of both.
Oct. 20, 2008, 3:41 p.m. CST
Including my girlfriend, who was about 21 at the time. She was absolutely terrified, screaming and cryingf during the interrogation scene. I remember the reviews were not kind to Carpenter's remake, but everyone I knew who saw it at the theatre had great things to say about it. Even though the effects are a tad cheesy by today's standards, the creepy atmosphere and terrific soundtrack make this an all-time classic. For the three or four of you out there who have never seen Carpenter's version, do yourselves a favor and see it. Today.
Oct. 20, 2008, 5:11 p.m. CST
As a kid I always watched the Sir Graves Ghastly show every Saturday back in the day, just in the hopes of seeing The Thing. <p> I loved just about everything in the movie, but the dialog really makes the movie for me. Not just the snappy conversations between the soldiers, but the more reserved egg head stuff between the scientists. A great example of how well the dialog works in this movie is the scene where the soldiers and scientists are searching the base for the monster. The only place left to check is the greenhouse. They walk up to the door and you just know the alien is on the other side of it. But then the characters stop and just stand in front of the door trading snappy comments back and forth. You totally forget for just a second why they are there and then the Captain finally opens the door and sure enough the Alien is standing right there and takes a swing at everyone, with gunfire and all kinds of scary shit. I almost crapped my pants as a kid the first time I watched the movie. <p> I have seen the movie several time since I was a kid and still smile when that part of the movie comes along. It really is clever the way the director cranks of the tension, then disarms the audience with the dialog between the actors and then scares you with something that you were expecting to happen just a minute ago. <p> I tried to get a few friends of mine to watch it a few years back, I think it was on AMC or TMC, but it was a black and white movie and they would have no part of it, their loss.
Oct. 20, 2008, 6:25 p.m. CST
Growing up in a Detroit suburb in the 70's, Sir Graves Ghastly was my introduction to horror films. I checked the TV Guide section of the Sir Graves site and The Thing aired on Oct. 7, 1978. 30 short years ago, SHIT!!! http://www.sirgravesghastly.com
Oct. 20, 2008, 7:05 p.m. CST
I recall my dad telling me that this movie was the first one he saw that actually scared him as a kid. My girlfriend had never seen the Carpenter version, and I hadn't seen it in a year or two, so we watched it last night. <P> Goddamn, it's a good movie. It holds up after 20+ years, and reinforces that practical effects add a level of believability that CG effects don't (in most of the movies I've seen them in, anyway).
Oct. 20, 2008, 9:49 p.m. CST
Strangely enough, this is one of the few classic movies I wouldn’t mind being remade BUT with one big condition – the monster must bare no resemblance to the either the original Thing or John Carpenter’s shape-shifting creature. To me it would be like a haiku – sure it is familiar subject matter (alien stalking people at an Antarctic station) but if a talented filmmaker can think of an original angle for the alien, I would be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Oct. 20, 2008, 9:58 p.m. CST
They could remake Thing rip-off "Horror Express".
Oct. 20, 2008, 10:07 p.m. CST
The Hawks version is of course rooted in 50's culture, attitudes and politics...and yet distinctly ahead of its time (the overlapping dialog, the final lines that promise even more horror to come) And like Hitchcock working out his private fears with his innocent-wrongly-accused theme, Hawks used big hollywood movies to celebrate his favorite theme...the bonding of men facing danger and death. That's one of the reasons you can slip into Hawks's movies like a comfortable pair of slippers...it's like having a reunion with old drinkin' buddies. Carpenter's film is equally brilliant, in that it replaces 50's political, scientific paranoia with personal paranoia....we've been so coddled by and addicted to technology, we've turned so inward into self-absorption...that now, it's each other that we don't trust. And in that regard, Campbell's orignal short story was ahead of its time ...and Carpenter's most brilliant stroke was returning to the story's orignal concept(also used in "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers")...the loss of self, the loss of identity...in which you...cease to be you...only a pale carbon copy So I personally think both films are masterpieces of their times ....and the proof in my repeated viewings of both. I've seen 'em both over and over and unlike me, they'll never get old.
Oct. 21, 2008, 2:03 a.m. CST
by R.J. MacReady
Happy to see all the comments on this topic. Those Twilight talkbackers can eat a bag of Dicks.
Oct. 21, 2008, 3:43 a.m. CST
by Carl's hat
The remake can't beat the grainy, newsreel kind of look of that old black and white film. The sound of the wind blowing outside, the rapid dialogue almost like it's keeping the characters warm from the terror outside. Shit even the snow looks better. Interesting difference- the lack of any female characters in the Carpenter version. I think both versions worked in this regard. Just different takes. Just too much gore in the remake, not enough of a sense of wonder.
Oct. 21, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST
and while I didn't know what it was, the memory is still vivid. Oh, and it's a MOTION TRACKER, not a geiger counter, Quint.
Oct. 21, 2008, 1:23 p.m. CST
After all, that is (pretty obviously, I think, at least in historical conext) the movie's central metaphor. Which Makes the "Understand em" vs "Kill em all!" conflict a little less one-sided, I think, and today ads an interesting shade of gray to the thing. It's still a fun movie, but its definitely worth remembering that this is an acknowledged propaganda piece designed to heighten cold-war tensions. And besides, what's with the "Is it Natural... Or Supernatural?" tagline? The title's "The Thing From Another World!" for crissakes. Which, now that I think about it, actually makes it... natural? Unless witches did it?
Oct. 21, 2008, 1:26 p.m. CST
by just pillow talk
I completely agree.
Oct. 21, 2008, 8:29 p.m. CST
Surely the greatest version of all: <a href=http://tinyurl.com/5cstu5> The MacReady</a>
Oct. 21, 2008, 8:30 p.m. CST
As I was saying (ahem): The greatest version of all: The MacReady http://tinyurl.com/5cstu5
Oct. 21, 2008, 8:32 p.m. CST
posting an explicit link here? The usual formats I would try don't work. <br> [url="http://tinyurl.com/5cstu5"]The MacReady[/url] <br> <url="http://tinyurl.com/5cstu5">The MacReady</url>
Oct. 21, 2008, 8:33 p.m. CST
Nov. 5, 2008, 7:49 p.m. CST
by Red Dawn Don
My Mom Met John Carpenter When His Father Was Dying In The Hospital In Bowling Green Kentucky. With all that going on he was still nice to her. I have enjoyed the original THE THING for many decades. I even liked the colorized version TBS used to show. Shocking to see lead man Kenneth Tobey with his bright red hair. I think I have it on vhs somewhere. I have the DVD of JC's The Thing. It was one of the first DVD's I ever bought that had a sh!t-load of extras like commentary, etc. Now days that is normal stuff. Back then it was new and novel.
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