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The Thing from Another World (1951)

Yesterday afternoon I watched a film I’ve wanted to watch for years!

The Thing from Another World (1951)

The Thing (1982) is one of my favourite films of all time. In fact it’s in my top 5.

Contrary to what many people think, John Carpenter’s movie isn’t a remake of this one. Both are adaptations of a book called Who Goes There? By John W. Campbell.

If you haven’t seen this, it’s a good old fashioned sci-fi/horror starring Kenneth Tobey (Gremlins), Margaret Sheridan (I, the Jury) and Robert Cornthwaite (The War of the Worlds) among many others.

This is what it’s about according to the internet:

When scientist Dr. Carrington (Cornthwaite) reports a UFO near his North Pole research base, the Air Force sends in a team under Capt. Patrick Hendry (Tobey) to investigate. What they find is a wrecked spaceship and a humanoid creature frozen in the ice. They bring their discovery back to the base, but Carrington and Hendry disagree over what to do with it. Meanwhile, the creature is accidentally thawed and begins wreaking havoc.

This was such a great film to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon! I loved it!

Although I don’t tend to watch a lot of old movies I always find I enjoy them when I do. There’s something really inoffensive about them. I guess they were made at a much simpler time and as a result tend to have a certain innocence about them. This is no exception.

The horror is tame (as you’d expect) but it’s extremely fun to watch, and the dialogue and the performances seem so natural that I forgot I was watching a film at times.

The story, as much as it’s from the same source material is very different to The Thing (1982). In this film the alien doesn’t imitate anyone. It’s more of a carnivorous plant-based creature that needs blood to survive. I can only assume that the limitations with visual effects at that time forced them to go in a slightly different direction with the story.

I haven’t read the book but from what I’ve read, John Carpenter’s version is a more faithful adaptation of it.

Incidentally, The Thing (1982) was universally hated upon release. It was only through home video and later, TV that it found its audience and became more popular. It’s now considered one of the best sci-fi movies ever made and for very good reason.

Both the lead actor, Kenneth Tobey and the director of this film, Christian Nyby, slated Carpenter’s version. Nyby said, "If you want blood, go to the slaughterhouse ... All in all, it's a terrific commercial for J&B Scotch”. Savage!!

Tobey singled out the visual effects saying they "were so explicit that they actually destroyed how you were supposed to feel about the characters...They became almost a movie in themselves, and were a little too horrifying."

I can only imagine how crushed John Carpenter must’ve been to hear that after being such a fan of their film. He even pays homage to it in Halloween (1978). It’s the movie Lindsey and Tommy are watching while they’re being babysat by Laurie Strode.

Regardless of what they thought of it, I love it, and I loved this version too. They’re very different films but both are brilliant in their own right.

If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend you check it out, especially if you’re a fan of the 1982 version. It’s a lot of fun and at just under 90 minutes it’s a nice easy watch on a lazy afternoon.

Seen it? Let me know what you think.

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