Starring Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, Robert Cornthwaite, Douglas Spencer, Dewey Martin, Paul Frees (yay!), Robert Nichols and, of course, James Arness. Directed by Christian Nyby. (1951/87 min).
AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM
Review by Mr. Paws🙀
John Carpenter's 1982 remake of The Thing has become so iconic over the years that's it's widely considered the definitive version. And I would concur. In addition to the groundbreaking special effects, it is conceptually more faithful to Joseph W. Campbell's original story, Who Goes There?, than the comparatively quaint 1951 film.
Maybe some of you reading this didn't even know there was a 1951 version. If so, shame on you.
|"Looks good. When can we smoke 'em?"|
Though historically overshadowed, The Thing from Another World remains one of the better, more intelligent examples of post-war sci-fi/horror. The film takes significant liberties with the source material, most notably its depiction of the titular creature (pre-Gunsmoke James Arness). Maybe due to budgetary restraints, it more-resembles Frankenstein's monster than a shapeshifting lifeform and is described by Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) as being genetically similar to a vegetable.
Beating the audience to the punch, one character makes an off-handed comment about the ridiculousness of "an intellectual carrot." But we aren't talking Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, here. The smart story and believable characters keep us from laughing our asses off, even after the underwhelming monster finally appears. Like Carpenter's film, The Thing from Another World makes the most of its intimate, claustrophobic setting (a scientific outpost in the Arctic), and masterfully creates tension by offering only sparing glances of the creature.
|Sometimes ya gotta dance like nobody's watching.|
Like the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing from Another World may have been aesthetically one-upped by a more ambitious - and apocalyptic - remake, but its lasting influence on the genre is inarguable. Viewed in the context of when it was made, the film remains a gripping good time. And if nothing else, it's always amusing when the smartest character in the room turns out to be dead wrong.
On Blu-ray for the first time, classic horror fans can scratch another one off their wish list. Though unfortunately light on bonus features - surely its status warrants a retrospective doc - the film has been given an impressive restoration.
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS