“The Thing from Another World” is absolutely terrifying


Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Thing from Another World, quite like its poster, is truly horrifying.

Will Schneider, Reporter

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have most likely heard of the idea that remakes are inferior to their originals.

For the most part, this is completely true, especially in a day-and-age where we are flooded with shot-for-shot movies that do the same thing the original did, but without anything that made it good in the first place.

There are a few key exceptions to this rule, such as The Fly, It, Scarface, and Heat have proven that it is not always the rule. To me, no movie exemplifies this than John Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing, are remake of the classic 1951 movie The Thing from Another World, and a movie that not only exceeds the original but stands as one of the best movie ever made.

The premise of the movie is that at alien creature makes its way to an Arctic research facility, and can not only change into a grotesque and deadly blob monster, but can imitate any life it touches, with the scientists and a helicopter pilot tasked with killing the thing before it makes its way to the rest of the world.

Given that we know that it can disguise as anyone and anything, as evidenced by its first dog form, the tensions of who “the thing” is are incredibly high. The character interactions are tense, especially when they begin losing it and try to kill characters because they might be the title monster.

While it does become glaringly obvious that they could have solved this with a buddy system, it’s forgiven due to just how much better the character interactions and the way they play off of each other make the movie. And in spite of this, they do try some intelligent things to root out the thing, such as the famous blood test scene.

The dialogue is well written and serves to continuously drive up the stakes, to extremely well effect. While they characters themselves receive only minimal characterization, each character is able to play their role in the story and plays their characters well.

Most notable is helicopter pilot Macready, played by Kurt Russel. He does a great job of being a total hardass and as someone who treats killing the thing as a challenge as much as it is a fight for survival, making a pretty well done antihero.

The other character is the chief mechanic Childs, played by Keith David. Keith has a great screen presence, as always, making him one of the more dynamic characters in the movie.

The movies directing is Carpenters best since Halloween. You get the feeling of cold from everything in the lighting and the the sounds. It seems like the Arctic has taken over the movie. Aside from this providing further evidence as to why they can’t leave their base, it adds to the dreary and paranoia fuels atmosphere.

Small things, like seeing the actors breath, help anchor you into their situation and make it seem more real, therefore keeping you involved, even if it deals with an alien blob.

One last major note is the “thing” itself. Seeing as how it acts less like a mindless beast and more like an intelligent virus, it is appropriately repulsive and one of the most positively inhuman monsters in cinema.

Not only is the idea of a creature that can imitate any life form terrifying as always, but the special effects of the monster are some of the best I have seen. The sheer detail and disgusting visuals make the monster truly memorable and frightening, especially as the creature is surprisingly cunning.

It plays to the crew’s paranoia, tries to plant evidence against against helicopter pilot Macready, and even commits sabotage. It’s a creature like us and unlike us in the most literal and figurative ways imaginable.

While I was doing research for this movie, I was shocked that it only got its well deserved praise fairly recently. It was regarded in release as a plotless special effects showcase, like some sort of big budgeted splatter film.

However, to call it that is a great miscarriage of the true talent and good qualities on screen. The character are well done, the direction is solid, and the creature is borderline unholy.

Fortunately, this movie is getting the praise it deserves in more recent times. The Thing from Another World is not a movie for a fun scary time. It is a terrifying, disturbing thriller. It is to be watched on a cold winter night when you want to experience something truly horrifying.