5 Reasons Why John Carpenter Horror Classic The Thing Makes Guys Cry

5 Reasons Why John Carpenter Horror Classic The Thing Makes Guys Cry

Just because a movie's manly doesn't mean you won't be shedding any tears, as you'll find out if you watch John Carpenter's 1892 horror flick The Thing.

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very nice to see something based on the Thing (the good version)

Though I do think it's mostly agreed that the Things DO know they have been turned, at least from the audience stand point. What is more likely is that as the alien takes over a person they inherit all their knowledge and personality, the closer they can be to the person they absorbed the less likely they will get caught. Not only that 'someone' is planting evidence, causing havoc and making sure the humans don't find out who is real and who's human, surely if all the human-things think they're human they would all be hunting and not sabotaging at every opportunity. The blood test proves that MacReady is human, which means that one of the Things broke into his room, tore up his clothes and made it so it could be found later, thereby putting distrust in MacReady and knocking the biggest opposition of the Things out of trust and power. If people-things didn't know they were a thing why would one of them do this?

Also, there's the notion that 'Diabetus' Brimley was a Thing during his axe-rampage. While it's entirely possible he was human and trying to cut them off from civilization, it would make more sense from the Thing's stand point to wreck the radios. Why? Because when the mainland don't hear from the outpost they will definitely send a party to see what's going on, whereas if the radio was operational and the shit hits the fan, the remaining humans can contact the mainland and warn them to stay away, making it damn near impossible for the Thing to escape. Both very possible.

Lastly, I would have paid a fortune to watch Wilfred Brimley climb his fat ass in that tiny UFO and fly away to invade a major city.

Definitely 2, not sure about 3.

And, never got why setting everything on fire would help.

But...no mention of the music? That creepy heartbeat score...

I dunno, I kinda didn't like this movie. It's probably the best horror film I've seen, but horror films have never worked for me for a variety of reasons. This movie just didn't scare me. I mean, I'm paranoid by nature, so a film that plays on paranoia should freak me right out, but it doesn't and I've never been able to figure out why. I think it's because maybe I knew what it was about going in, which I could blame on it being so old and talked about so much nobody could go into it clean, but that doesn't work because the trailers spoil what the creature is, so anyone going into it in theaters for the first time knew, but it still scared them. It definitely would have been a little bit better if I'd gone in cold, not knowing anything at all, but even still . . .

I think a part of it is also that they jumped the gun a bit with the dog scene. By showing us the dog transforming, it took away the mystery too soon and opened up too many questions for the audience. I think they probably should have just cut when the dogs were barking like mad, had the vet hear them and go to investigate, only to find half the dogs missing, the other half dead. Would have left the audience wondering what happened and made the scene where Wilford Brimely (I know his name was Blair, but we all know he's really playing Wilford Brimley) goes mad more unsettling because we wouldn't know what it was about until later, when they read through his notes and find out about the creature's ability to imitate other life forms.

I did really love the ending, though. That was a perfect ending to a movie like this.

Firefilm:
John Carpenter's 1892 horror flick The Thing.

I didn't know 19th century special effects were that good.

On topic, this was a fantastic movie. One of the best horror movies I've seen.

I always fast forward through the bit with the dogs.

thaluikhain:

And, never got why setting everything on fire would help.

They set fire/blew up the place so there would be no shelter for the thing to survive. There would be no where for it to stay warm and have shelter against the cold and so it would just freeze again.

Oh, as an aside, apparently if you speak Norwegian, the two guys at the beginning give the plot away when they are trying to warn the Americans.

SonOfVoorhees:

thaluikhain:

And, never got why setting everything on fire would help.

They set fire/blew up the place so there would be no shelter for the thing to survive. There would be no where for it to stay warm and have shelter against the cold and so it would just freeze again.

Sure...until people came looking to see what happened to the place when they didn't get back in contact.

The generator was broken, they were going to freeze anyway. They had nothing to lose so why not set the base on fire?

thaluikhain:
Oh, as an aside, apparently if you speak Norwegian, the two guys at the beginning give the plot away when they are trying to warn the Americans.

SonOfVoorhees:

thaluikhain:

And, never got why setting everything on fire would help.

They set fire/blew up the place so there would be no shelter for the thing to survive. There would be no where for it to stay warm and have shelter against the cold and so it would just freeze again.

Sure...until people came looking to see what happened to the place when they didn't get back in contact.

I guess it was the best they could do being that anyone of them could be the thing. They stopped it from getting away by their actions as they couldnt beat it. Though i agree with what you said, it doesnt stop it for long especially when people come looking. Just like how they found the body when they went to that Norwegian science base so im sure some one will find the body in the American base.

I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I'd rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!

evilengine:
very nice to see something based on the Thing (the good version)

Though I do think it's mostly agreed that the Things DO know they have been turned, at least from the audience stand point. What is more likely is that as the alien takes over a person they inherit all their knowledge and personality, the closer they can be to the person they absorbed the less likely they will get caught. Not only that 'someone' is planting evidence, causing havoc and making sure the humans don't find out who is real and who's human, surely if all the human-things think they're human they would all be hunting and not sabotaging at every opportunity. The blood test proves that MacReady is human, which means that one of the Things broke into his room, tore up his clothes and made it so it could be found later, thereby putting distrust in MacReady and knocking the biggest opposition of the Things out of trust and power. If people-things didn't know they were a thing why would one of them do this?

Also, there's the notion that 'Diabetus' Brimley was a Thing during his axe-rampage. While it's entirely possible he was human and trying to cut them off from civilization, it would make more sense from the Thing's stand point to wreck the radios. Why? Because when the mainland don't hear from the outpost they will definitely send a party to see what's going on, whereas if the radio was operational and the shit hits the fan, the remaining humans can contact the mainland and warn them to stay away, making it damn near impossible for the Thing to escape. Both very possible.

Lastly, I would have paid a fortune to watch Wilfred Brimley climb his fat ass in that tiny UFO and fly away to invade a major city.

I always had the feeling the Thing people didnt know they were Things because their minds were being run like a overlay in the Thing's brain while they were around each other then when something needed to be done the overlay/program was suspended or whatever so they had no knowledge...kind of the best of both worlds (from the Thing's point of view anyway).

SonOfVoorhees:
I guess it was the best they could do being that anyone of them could be the thing. They stopped it from getting away by their actions as they couldnt beat it. Though i agree with what you said, it doesnt stop it for long especially when people come looking. Just like how they found the body when they went to that Norwegian science base so im sure some one will find the body in the American base.

Well, I'd have thought writing down everything they knew and putting the info at various places around the base in the hopes it'd be of use to whoever came after them would be a good idea. This applies to a lot of movies.

To be fair, at one point they were going to use practical effects for The Thing prequel. There's just no telling what was going to be practical and what was to be CGI. Hell, there's no way to tell if audiences would have accepted the practical effects, seeing how we're almost expectant of CGI nowadays.

Still, the prequel did itself no favors by having a monster jump to life out of a solid block of ice, like 15 minutes into the movie, which was entirely contradictory to the canon set up in the 1982 original.

The way I get people to watch the original is by telling them that The Thing is really about paranoia. That seems to get new viewers beyond the grisly special effects.

Cool article, but I do have to play the Fact Nazi: Rob Bottin was actually the man in charge of the creature effects on "The Thing." Stan Winston was involved, but his only contribution was the Dog-Thing at the beginning of the film. He declined screen credit because he felt it was Bottin's show and didn't want to take that away from him. (Source: IMDB)

ritterjcat:
I didn't know 19th century special effects were that good.

To be fair, 19th century "The Thing" would be amazing.

thaluikhain:

SonOfVoorhees:
I guess it was the best they could do being that anyone of them could be the thing. They stopped it from getting away by their actions as they couldnt beat it. Though i agree with what you said, it doesnt stop it for long especially when people come looking. Just like how they found the body when they went to that Norwegian science base so im sure some one will find the body in the American base.

Well, I'd have thought writing down everything they knew and putting the info at various places around the base in the hopes it'd be of use to whoever came after them would be a good idea. This applies to a lot of movies.

He did leave a tape - but he might have blown it up at the end. :-)

I love this film, one of the best Horror films ever. The only film that i felt paranoid just watching it, trying to work out whos the alien. The score is amazing and the effects are just jaw dropping. Hollywood panned this film when it came out, they would come up to Carpenter and tell him you showed to much, thats not how you do Horror films, how dare they with the films that man has gave us (they did the same to Kubrick with The Shining telling him its rubbish and a mess). But like The Shining, The Thing took time for people to digest. Now both films are seen as stand out Horror classics and some of the best films ever made.

hopefully if theres anyone who has not seen this film will check it out after reading the article.

posted in error

thaluikhain:
never got why setting everything on fire would help.

It was there best weapon and only weapon they had against something that doesnt have a true form (that we or they know of). when in fear, burn everything down.

When they burned the alien(s) they believed they were killing it, when you dont have very much to go on apart from people around you being killed doing anything you think will work your going to do. THERE IT IS, BURN IT!!!!!!!

thaluikhain:
Oh, as an aside, apparently if you speak Norwegian, the two guys at the beginning give the plot away when they are trying to warn the Americans.

SonOfVoorhees:

thaluikhain:

And, never got why setting everything on fire would help.

They set fire/blew up the place so there would be no shelter for the thing to survive. There would be no where for it to stay warm and have shelter against the cold and so it would just freeze again.

Sure...until people came looking to see what happened to the place when they didn't get back in contact.

The objective was just to burn everything, level the place, and hope they got every spec of the creature before it could freeze again. The final confrontation is probably the weakest part of an otherwise great movie, as our characters start getting a little stupid towards the end. Still, one of the best horror movies of all time.

DoubleAgent74:
Cool article, but I do have to play the Fact Nazi: Rob Bottin was actually the man in charge of the creature effects on "The Thing." Stan Winston was involved, but his only contribution was the Dog-Thing at the beginning of the film. He declined screen credit because he felt it was Bottin's show and didn't want to take that away from him. (Source: IMDB)

This. It was super bugging me when I was reading the article.

Even in the kennel scene there were multiple puppets for different stages and branches of the thing's transformation/attack. Stan Winston only built one, the rest were Bottin's.

Specifically, the blob with the slimy hairless dog head that snarls/squeals at the men when they first shine their flashlights into the kennel. That single puppet was Winston's sole work in the film.

Frezzato:
To be fair, at one point they were going to use practical effects for The Thing prequel. There's just no telling what was going to be practical and what was to be CGI. Hell, there's no way to tell if audiences would have accepted the practical effects, seeing how we're almost expectant of CGI nowadays.

I think it really comes down to whether or not it looks real enough in the final shots more than anything. The second best compliment either method could be payed would be to be mistaken for the other (the first would naturally be being mistaken for reality, but that's kind of impossible with fantastical stuff).

The practical effects done for the prequel look good in the behind the scenes vid, but I don't think they would have fared any better than the CGI did in the final scenes no matter how good they were, since regardless of the effects, the director/cinematographer clearly had no idea how to shoot such stuff effectively.

While the John Carpenter original does show things pretty much all-out, there's still a lot of thought and skill in how stuff was framed, lit, and edited. The prequel just... didn't even try, so the transformation scenes come off flat and cartoony instead of atmospheric or scary.

If I had to name an all-time favorite movie, it would probably be The Thing. I have never really thought about why, but reading these five things has kind of given me a good idea. I need to watch the movie again.

That being said, I actually thought that the prequel held up in its own way. The best follow-ups are often those that evolve the formula rather than just giving more of the same - Aliens and Terminator 2 come to mind. The prequel kind of does that somewhat by throwing the monster right into your face, almost from the get-go. The paranoia and distrust is still there, but it seems to take a backseat to the abomination that is crawling around killing everyone. I loved seeing the two-faced monster from the original in action.

I don't tend to be all up in arms with CGI being used instead of practical effects, though in this case, I would have loved to see the latter being used. Or better yet, use the two in combination - CGI always seems better for patching up and embellishing stuff rather than for creating fully-function characters on screen.

Brennan:
snip

Weird. It was a coincidence, but you just reminded me of the movie Harbinger Down. It took me a while to remember the name (it was pure luck) but believe it or not, that movie is connected to The Thing prequel. Maybe I knew this but just didn't care enough back when it was announced?

Per IMDB:

In 2010 Amalgamated Dynamics (ADI) was hired to create the practical monster effects for the film The Thing (2011). However much to ADI's dismay, the studio had the majority of their work digitally replaced with CGI for the final cut of the film. In response to this, ADI used Kickstarter to fund this film, Harbinger Down, which features entirely practical creature effects created through the use of animatronics, prosthetic makeup, stop motion and miniature effects. There are zero computer animated monsters in this film.

It should come out this year. I don't know how much the $384,181 from the Kickstarter helped, but I'm kind of looking forward to it. Can't believe I totally forgot about this.

Okay so it seems at the time of this posting I am the only one who played the video game sequel to this movie. Spoilers ahead... I guess:

Black guy (Windows is his name I think?) ends up dying from the cold and Kurt's character survives and comes to your aid for the final boss battle and yes people can feel it when The Thing is taking over. In the game there is a soldier you come upon who says has been infected and instead of becoming a monster he shoots himself.

So yes the humans won and they DO know if they are infected.

Quiet Stranger:
Okay so it seems at the time of this posting I am the only one who played the video game sequel to this movie. Spoilers ahead... I guess:

Black guy (Windows is his name I think?) ends up dying from the cold and Kurt's character survives and comes to your aid for the final boss battle and yes people can feel it when The Thing is taking over. In the game there is a soldier you come upon who says has been infected and instead of becoming a monster he shoots himself.

So yes the humans won and they DO know if they are infected.

*sucks air in through teeth* Weeeeeeeeell, no. I've played the game. It was... okay, as a game of it's era, but not great. More to the point, it isn't anything like a "canon" sequel (don't think canon is really a thing here anyway... which adds up to the same result), more like a fanfic that got licensing. Not only in it's status, but in it's conceptual/writing quality.

It discards quite a lot of logic about the events and world of the film, as well as getting the biology and behavior of the creature so wrong it's comical.

There was also a sequel comic book in the mid nineties made by Dark Horse which has a completely different story. I feel they are both on the same ground in regards to being legitimate "canon" sequels (i.e. they aren't). Though if you're interested, the comic is better than the game. Well, the first comic: there were two miniseries, the first is okay and has kickass art, the second is dumb and has meh art.

Problem with any hypothetical sequel to "The Thing" is it'd be pretty much conceptually locked into being a rehash of the original film. The monster is such that you can't take it anywhere less naturally quarantined without it winning, and you can't have a large population of any kind around it without it winning, so a "ten little Indians" plot in the antarctic is pretty much all you can do with it. Both the game and the comics run afoul of this hard, creating scenarios where the Thing can only lose by pure author fiat, and the author is an idiot.

Just as an FYI, John Carpenter himself says in the DVD commentary track for the film that according to him, they failed: Mac dies there, and the the Thing gets out and assimilates the world. He considers the movie part of a thematic trilogy with "Prince of Darkness" and "In the Mouth of Madness", tied together by being stories about the igniting spark of the end of the world.

evilengine:

Also, there's the notion that 'Diabetus' Brimley was a Thing during his axe-rampage. While it's entirely possible he was human and trying to cut them off from civilization, it would make more sense from the Thing's stand point to wreck the radios. Why? Because when the mainland don't hear from the outpost they will definitely send a party to see what's going on, whereas if the radio was operational and the shit hits the fan, the remaining humans can contact the mainland and warn them to stay away, making it damn near impossible for the Thing to escape. Both very possible.

I don't think Brimley was a Thing. He already had access to a helicopter, so he could have made it to the mainland without anyone knowing, or anyone being able to stop him. The police wouldn't believe he was an alien, and even if they arrested him on more believable charges it would be easy for him to infect somebody. Besides, he had a weapon, so at that point it would make more sense to take as many human down as possible. I also don't think it would reveal too much about its self. I always thought the Thing was more rational and sneaky (and therefore more frightening!).

Man, this film is painfully good. I especially love the ambiguous ending. I read somewhere that Kurt Russell claimed his character apparently had his flame thrower stashed beneath his blanket. When we first see him in the film he's playing chess against a computer. When he loses he pours some scotch into it and fries the machine. At the end of the film he hands child's... a glass of alcohol. Supposedly the whole film is like a game of chess between Russell's character and the Thing. Russell's already lost, since the generator is out, but he can still fry Child's (or the thing) just like he fried the computer. The alcohol was his little test to see if he could trust Child's, who'd gone missing. When Child's took the drink, Russell gave a knowing laugh. Presumably he would then fry Child's and then freeze to death. I don't know if this is true, but it's one of my favorite theories.

I'm dying to find a film as well crafted as this. I may need to checkout Jacobs Ladder and see if it holds up.

Favorite horror movie of all time.

Anyone else play the video game? Pretty underrated for a 2002 third-person shooter game.

And if you're a fan of the film and haven't visited Outpost31.com, well, then what are you waiting for?

Exley97:
Favorite horror movie of all time.

Anyone else play the video game? Pretty underrated for a 2002 third-person shooter game.

And if you're a fan of the film and haven't visited Outpost31.com, well, then what are you waiting for?

I haven't but I remember the Men in Black videogame. That game was pretty bad, but the mission 1 was creepy as hell. It seemed pretty much inspired in this movie, and your character could die (or go insane, it isn't really specified) because of the infection.

And trust me, your fondness for the movie isn't your nostalgia talking. I have shown this movie to quite a few people in recent years, and their reactions have been unanimous. Terrified. Especially that bit where they catch one of the guys caught mid-transformation - and it screams.

Can't believe it wasn't well-received back in the day.

 

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