Greeting my movie Ghouls!
In 1982 a little film called The Thing was released. It was a remake of an older film The Thing from Another World from 1951. The Thing, directed by John Carpenter had some of the best, most grotesque body horror practical effects from the 1980’s.
The Thing (1982)
This film, starring Kurt Russell followed a group of scientists in the Antarctic. They witness a helicopter chasing and trying to kill a dog. The Helicopter crashes and they take the dog in. The crashed helicopter is from another base. Upon investigating the Base they discover it has been set on fire and there are dead deformed bodies everywhere.
We all know how the 1982 original ends, with Kurt Russell handing a Molotov cocktail to The Thing. 1
But what happened at the other base?
Well that’s what The Thing tries to answer. (Why did they name them both ‘The Thing’?)
The Thing (2011)
The Thing (2011) stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate Lloyd a Palaeontologist (Seriously, this profession is a death trap) brought in to investigate a discovery. The discovery is a massive space ship buried under the ice. They also discover the occupant buried a few meters away frozen, and they decide to take it back to the base.
Once the Ice starts to melt, The Thing is released and quickly gets to work absorbing and mimicking the crew of the base.
Winstead’s Kate is a similar character to Ripley in Alien, seemingly being an additional character rather than the main lead. Sam Carter, played by Joel Edgerton appears to be the main lead, but once things start going wrong Kate takes control.
I mention in the review (here) that I believed it was all CGI and made to look like animatronics, but I was wrong. The effects crew used animatronics where possible and enhanced them with CGI. I do think the blend of practical and visual effects make this film look surprisingly accurate to what came in 1982. It does feel like it has the aesthetic of that film. There isn’t a massive jump like some other Prequels we could mention.
Overall, I enjoyed this film. It’s not as good as the original, but it’s not that far off.
1: The first time we see Kurt Russell’s MacReady he is playing chess on the computer. The computer beats him, so he pours alcohol in the system effectively killing the computer. At the end of the film, MacReady is one of two survivors. Keith Davids plays Childs and for a portion of the film disappears. He returns as the base burns down. Neither of them know if the other is The Thing, but MacReady offers Childs a drink. Earlier in the film, bottles were filled with gasoline, suggesting MacReady is testing to see if Childs is The Thing. Childs drinks it.