Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days of Horror: The Thing

2011, Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. -- cinema

So, this was the prequel to the (1982 John Carpenter) remake of the 1951 The Thing From Another World, based on the 1938 short story Who Goes There from John W Campbell.  I love long histories. Before the movie came out the scuttlebutt changed from praising the choice of it being a prequel (explaining what leads to a helicopter chasing a husky dog) to it becoming more of a remake of the Carpenter film. But while lifting much inspiration from that movie, this was definitely a prequel in story as well as tone.

If you are unaware of the plot of this movie, then I commend you, you will enjoy this version much much more than most people who have seen the others.  This movie really does play for new viewers as the unexpected actions of the thing would be more of a scare if you weren't setup by familiar scenes. This is a monster movie through and through relying on being horrified by the creature, especially done well with the CGI but also with the props.  The dissection scene is particularly gruesome as we see the various biological factors of the monster, from insect to arthropod to tentacles and teeth. Alas it's been 20+ years of similar creatures in movies since so we don't see much to surprise us.

I always wondered what the monster's origin and motivations were. A bit is explored in a completely toss away act where we enter the spaceship in pursuit of the creature. I just had no idea why they felt they had to chase the thing down inside the spaceship. And we have no clue why it would return to that place if it had already frozen solid after leaving the ship. And the motivations are never even touched on, other than a biological imperative to recreate-procreate.  It is intelligent even if we ignore the intelligence it absorbs from the humans it mimics. The fact it never once communicates always has irritated the hell out of me. But doing so would lift it out of horror and into the realm of science fiction and I have done enough genre treading.