31 Days of Horror: The Thing

Who Goes There?

Stupid snow! Sure it's inevitable but it doesn't mean I have to like it. And when it gets this time of year and the temperature drops and the snow falls, then melts, then falls again, I always turn to one movie that always makes me feel better. John Carpenter's 1982 remake The Thing. As cold as it gets here - it always looks colder where Kurt Russell and company are.

Not to discount the original 1951 Howard Hawks "produced" film - it's a damn fine film but Carpenter's remake is absolutely terrifying. Set in the harsh isolation of Antarctica - an American research station stumbles across a couple of Norwegians from a nearby research station that are trying to kill a dog. The Norwegians end up dead and the dog gets to stay with the Americans. A quick trip to the Norwegians' base shows that everybody there is dead and that they had previously dug something up in the ice (which references the 1951 version). And that dog isn't what it seems to be. It's some thing.

The 1951 film featured a group of American scientists and some U.S. army personnel digging up something in the arctic. The creature (James Arness) revives and goes on a rampage. As I said it's a good movie but a vegetable alien monster is no comparison for Rob Bottin's amazing special effects in the 1982 film. Also between the two films Carpenter's is closer to the original short story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. that the movies are based on.

The cold, dark isolation of the arctic is the perfect setting for a scary game of guess who the monster is. This movie looks cold, damn cold. Kurt Russell's beard constantly seems to have icicles hanging from it. And there's nothing worse than freezing your ass off while trying to fight an evil shape changing monster.

1 comment:

Stephen Whitworth said...

Scary movies are usually better when they don't show too much. This movie shows everything (and every Thing) but it works because the effects are so freaky plus the build-up is so slow and creepy. Great music, too. Good pick Shane.