Most horror fans of my generation grew up loving the John Carpenter film The Thing. Its incredible cast, mounting paranoia, and utterly astounding creature effects, courtesy of Rob Bottin, made a lasting impression on our young minds. While the film pushed every boundary possible in the realm of practical effects, it is highly regarded for its psychological elements that still lead to discussions among horror fans to this day.
Truly a master of his craft, Carpenter lets the tension slowly build, until there’s no denying the horrible truth of the situation — that someone is not who or what they appear to be. While it is an incredible example of a nearly perfect film, this review is not about the Carpenter version of this film. Many tend to forget that Carpenter was heavily influenced by the films of the 50’s. Among them, a film he has a great deal of admiration for, The Thing from Another World, which was based on the story “Who Goes There.”
Directors Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks approach the alien formula with a great deal of sincerity. The characters in the film have so much life, they nearly leap off of the screen and start a conversation with you. The way the dialog is written and performed is so witty and incredibly believable that it’s not hard to see why it scared audiences back in 1951 and undoubtedly influenced directors like George Romero, Tom Savini, and John Landis.
When an alien ship crashes near an arctic outpost, a crew of scientists attempt to blow it out of the ice. While doing so, they damage the ship, but uncover an alien life form frozen in the ice. Once they chisel it out and bring it back to base camp, an accident leaves it on the loose… and after the crew.
For the time of this film’s release, it has some truly ambitious stunts and creature design. During a time of uninspired monsters, radioactive bugs, and old Gothic castles, The Thing from Another World crash landed at our drive-in theaters and captivated audiences with its refreshing take on something the world had seen a hundred times over.
I shouldn’t have waited so long to see this film and neither should you. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars. They just don’t make em’ like they used to…