W: Charles Lederer [based on the story "Who Goes There?"
by John W. Campbell, Jr.]
DP: Russell Harlan
Ed: Roland Gross
Mus: Dimitri Tiomkin
PD: Albert S. D'Agostino & John Hughes
Kenneth Tobey (Capt. Patrick Hendry), Margaret Sheridan
(Nikki Nicholson), Robert Cornthwaite (Dr. Arthur Carrington), William Self (Cpl. Barnes), James Arness (The Thing)
A bloodthirsty shape-shifting alien attacks a small group
of scientists at a remote Antarctic outpost.
For 1951, this was a milestone event in the science
fiction genre, becoming the first film to present an extra-terrestrial being (even though it is basically a man in a rubber suit). Director Christian Nyby (with mysterious help from either
Howard Hawks or Orson Welles) does a good job cranking up the tension with the limited resources of the time and though many aspects of the production haven't dated so well, the story went on
to serve one of the greatest remakes of all time (and unfortunately one of the worst). It also paved way for a fresh sub-genre of science fiction, with many B-movies of similar ilk being
released in several years following.
THE THING (18)
D: John Carpenter
Universal (Lawrence Turman & David
W: Bill Lancaster [based on the story "Who Goes There?" by
John W. Campbell, Jr.]
DP: Dean Cundey
Ed: Todd Ramsay
Mus: Ennio Morricone
PD: John J. Lloyd
Kurt Russell (MacReady), Wilford Brimley (Blair), T.K.
Carter (Nauls), David Clennon (Palmer), Keith David (Childs), Richard Dysart (Copper), Richard Masur (Clark), Donald Moffat (Gary)
John Carpenter's big budget remake of the 1950's
B-movie The Thing From Another World is superior in every way, from spectacular visual effect to a much more sinister & paranoid plot. Based on the story "Who Goes There?" by John W.
Campbell, Jr., the action takes place at a remote station on Antarctica where a small team are threatened by an alien shapeshifter which can assimilate anything or anyone.
Although Rob Bottin's amazing creature effects provide
the scares, the paranoia element also drives the film, especially in the scene where Kurt Russell's MacCready hatches a plan to ascertain which of his team is 'the thing'.
The final act becomes a bit chaotic with the narrative
and over the top with the visual effects, but it leads to fittingly ambiguous ending with only a couple of survivors.
2011 saw a new version released into cinemas which
tried to justify itself by calling itself a prequel, but bollocks to that. It's a remake. And a shit one at that!
This is the definitive version of The Thing, complete
with one of the best movie taglines ever.
THE THING (15)
D: Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr.
Universal/Strike/Morgan Creek (Marc Abraham & Eric
W: Eric Heisserer [based on the story "Who Goes There?" by
John W. Campbell, Jr.]
DP: Michel Abramowicz
Ed: Julian Clarke & Peter Boyle
Mus: Marco Beltrami
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Kate Lloyd), Joel Edgerton (Sam
Carter), Ulrich Thomsen (Dr. Sander Halvorson), Eric Christian Olsen (Adam Finch), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Derek Jameson)
Though it may have sold itself on the pretence that it's a
prequel rather than a remake, this is simply Hollywood spin. It's a remake, using exactly the same formula as John Carpenter's film and not deviating from it. It may not have the same
characters, and its closing moments may be a wink to the John Carpenter version, but that's about as original as it gets. If that wasn't bad enough, this remake also substitutes the paranoia
in a claustrophobic atmosphere in favour of cheap shock tactics and disappointing CGI gore effects. None of the cast shine and the main female protagonist gives about as much emotion as a bad
Kristen Stewart impersonator.
Ignore this abomination and rewatch the 1982 version, even
seek out the 1951 version. The only thing on display here is shameless Hollywood greed.