There is a film, that scared me for years, and yet all I’d seen of it were clips and read articles about it. This is not that film.
That film was the remake of it (not the crappy prequel that was made of THAT movie ). But let’s not let the fact that the remake from the 80s is a classic and masterpiece of practical special effects and suspense (and the crappy prequel using cg showing why practical special effects are not gone but something we should look at again now) ruin the experience. If it wasn’t for this film that one would never have been made, and it itself inspired many classic moments. So let’s on this cold night look to the skies with The Thing From Another World.
It should be noted that all versions of The Thing are adapted from the short science fiction horror story “Who Goes There“. In that story a group of Antarctic researchers discover a crashed UFO. While digging it out the vehicle is accidentally destroyed but they discover what appears to be a passenger. It turns out to be a terrifying alien organism that can absorb its victims and assume their form, leading into a tale of paranoia and horror as people turn on one another not knowing who’s human, but also aware if this gets out of the Antarctic the world is doomed.
The 80s version stuck closer to the book in terms of the monster and brought it to terrifying life with its special effects (it adds so much to the horrific monster when it was actually there in some form and not a cg out of place pile of crap).
The 50s version had to make some alterations to the concept because of technology, mainly the nature of the alien. So gone is the shape changing alien and paranoia (though it probably would have ended up a metaphor for fear of communist spies, it was the 50s).
Instead the alien is more a humanoid plant creature but they do keep the fact that the nature of the creature, able to grow more of itself with use of blood from its victims, would be able to destroy the world if it got out.
The film starts out with the usual slow build up, introducing us to the various leads and other characters. Lead character Patrick Hendry, worlds stupidest scientist Dr. Arthur Carrington, journalist Ned Scott and woman Nikki Nicholson (I’m not being sexist, she’s just there to be in love with the lead).
These people (and many others I can’t be arsed to name, because it’s a large list) discover a strange crashed plane in the ice. Spreading out they find to their excitement it’s actually a flying saucer. Thermite is used to melt the ice which reacts to the ships hull causing it to explode. This is actually something from the book that’s in neither of the other versions (probably because these aliens must be morons as the temperature generated would be lower than that caused by reentry). Fortunately/unfortunately they find one of the alien crew frozen in the ice. Then while in storage it’s accidentally unfrozen and goes on a rampage, killing people and draining their blood with plans to create an army. All the while brave Patrick Hendry tries to save his men, while moron Carrington believes he can reason with it despite it openly showing hostility in ways that cannot be considered misunderstandings or self defense and starts to sabotage plans to save the world.
The film has many great moments, such as one of the first ever full body……. ok I can’t figure out the name but they set the guy in The Thing suit on fire and you see it run out the building into the snow in flames. Perhaps you know the classic image of a dark room, the only light coming from the doorway but in the doorway is a tall dark figure? yep that’s this film. It also turns what you had previously been used to as safe, and change it to be dangerous, as you don’t know what’s behind the door. This is a classic for a reason, and though it is overshadowed by the 80s version that doesn’t make this one bad, in fact it’s very enjoyable tale of suspense.
So next time you feel like an old and or horror movie, hunt this down and go “ah so that’s where that’s from”
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