Sunday, June 15, 2014

#504: The Thing

1982, TSPDT Rank #424

This might be another film that has been built up too much for me over the years, but having finally seen this remake of the 1951 Christian Nyby/Howard Hawks film, The Thing from Another World, I am very underwhelmed. I was particularly excited about seeing John Carpenter's remake - partially because it had been recommended to me in response to a claim I made that David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly was one of the few examples of a horror remake which expanded and improved upon the original, and also because I hadn't seen any of Carpenter's work besides Halloween (another famous horror film I'm not that crazy about). However, the original was much more effective as far as I'm concerned. The special effects work here is impressive, but impressive special effects never make or break a movie for me. In fact, I think that the effects were too over-the-top, and prevented the film from building the momentum it needed. The elements of paranoia which are often mentioned as one of the film's main attritubutes are present, but are moreso overstated rather than deeply felt - such as in a film like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or even the original Thing from Another World. Overall, the film seemed dull and lacking in tension what it had in gruesome special effects, pyrotechnics, and overt paranoia. My favorite aspect of the film was how it seemed that the Americans were dealing with the Thing in almost exactly the same fashion as the Norwegians did at their camp, judging from the remains of the Norwegian camp shown at the beginning of the film. This early scene is very telling of the apocalyptic destruction to come, and probably made more of an impact for me than any other single moment in the film. But I can't think of much else that really interested me - although I will give full disclosure that I would probably be considered a horror snob by most people. Still, I feel that The Thing most likely deserves its reputation as a horror classic even if it didn't make much of an impact on me personally. There are better horror films out there in a similar vein, but The Thing does have a certain blunt impact and visually striking quality which have certainly made an impression on many since its release, and will most likely continue to do so for years to come.

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