Sunday, November 26, 2006

You Have Nothing to Fear But : The Thing


John Carpenter has made some terrible movies.

"Ghosts of Mars" springs to mind. And then it eats you from the inside.

Yet this filmmaker has also brought true greatness to the silver screen.

"Big Trouble in Little China" (review coming soon) is still in my top ten.

So when, back in the 80s, this buck-wild director took on a remake, suspicions were high.

Could Johnny Boy, taking an old Black and White crapfest loosely based on a kick-awesome short story, come up with gold?

Yes. Yes he could.

Twice.

"The Thing" is a crowning achievement in the ingenuity of robotics and old timey special effects.

The story is simple: A group of Americans in an Antarctic outpost stumble upon the grisley remains of a Norwegian expedition. Inside the Norse camp they discover remains, something enormous...and not human.

What I love about this film's premise is that, up until fairly deep into the movie, you don't see any aliens. The true horror is that the creature--the Thing--can look like anyone.

It could be the guy next to you.

It could be your dog.

The psychological aspects of this flick raise it above other alien films of the era.

"Alien" was a great movie, and certainly deserves the accolades it recieves, but "The Thing" took a smaller budget and made a film that is on par if not better than Cameron's little scare-em-up.

I first saw this movie on the Sci-Fi channel at about 3 in the AM.

It was dark.

I was young.

You can't imagine how freaked out I was...actually, I need to start a little earlier.

I am afraid of spiders. This is a perfectly reasonable fear. Spiders are the bane of human existence.

They eat babies. I've seen it done.

Spiders are the anti-Chris. Yes, that's Chris, a friend of mine who was devoured by spiders at a young age.

So when, during one infamous scene, a man's head becomes a SPIDER-DEMON, I was appropriately wet in ye-old-pants.

This movie rocks.

Science fiction is pretty standardizing. All you need is a spaceship, an alien, and a group of people to die and fight back, though not always in that order.

This band of brothers is no different, though the concept that anyone could be an alien adds a new layer to the tension.

The hero of the tale, as it stands, is a man named R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell, that bad ass of bad asses). He figures out the alien's plan and sets out to disrupt it. With flame throwers.

This is the first movie I ever saw with flame throwers. I hadn't yet seen "Aliens" and was too young for WW II films.

My first impression of the fire dealer?

Amazed.

This movie really owns the screen, and you feel quite shaken by the end. The credits are bittersweet, as the story doesn't really end with the last line of dialogue.

If you care to follow the yarn, there is a game that takes place after the film ends. It's not too great, but the storyline is solid. When I finally get some capital (Hannuka 2045) I plan to make the sequel.

Seriously, it'll kick ass. You have to trust me on this. Would I ever lead you astray?

OK, bad question.

Would I ever let you watch a movie I myself hadn't personally screened? It says I wouldn't right up there at the top of the page.

I give this movie the-sensation-you-get-whilst-using-a-flame-thrower-to-barbeque-a-group-of-Nazi-aliens-as-an-elite-team-of-Swedish-Bikini-Models-rub-you-down-with-oil (non-flammable of course).

Netflix this sucker right now. And then Gamefly the "sequel."

Watch carefully.

1 comment:

sarah said...

is the thing really supposed to look like that? a caterpillar with a 40-year-old alcoholic's face?