Sci Fi Movie Podcast The Thing

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Hosted by Remi Lavictoire, Bonnie Beyea and Mr. Blahg

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This week on The Sci-Fi Movie Podcast, Jonathan and Rem are joined by Bonnie from TableTop Setup and Mr. Blahg from Under The Comic Covers to dig deeper into the three ‘The Thing’ movies, based on the 1938 Novella ‘Who Goes There?‘, written by John W. Campbell Jr.

The Positive
All three films succeed in different ways to tell a creepy story of an Alien invader who literally absorbs and imitates its victims. The first version in 1951 strays somewhat from the original story, but presents a story with strong dialogue, good character development and leaves the viewer with a sense of optimism once the credits roll.

John Carpenter’s version from 1982 goes into much darker material with gore and creature effects that still make a lasting impression. Carpenter also built a strong sense of fear and paranoia, making it impossible to know who to trust.

The 2011 Prequel gave us the backstory of the Norwegian station that was discovered by the crew of the 1982 version.  Staying pretty close to the Alien from 82 and the Novella, we have slightly more Female representation in the roles of Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Kim Bubbs.

The Negative
It’s difficult to feel any sense of fear of James Arness as The Thing in the 1951.  Granted, it may have been terrifying in the 50’s, but a big plant creature (described as an ‘Intellectual Carrot’) certainly won’t be scaring anyone.  Since the film is over 60 years old, we can forgive that.

It was tougher to find fault with the Carpenter version, since it told the story so well, and really swung for the fence with creature effects.  Mr. Blahg didn’t like MacReady’s hat…so there’s that.

With the 2011 Prequel, we thought the end sequence at the Alien craft was a bit Hollywood, and the story would have been best resolved at the Norwegian camp, but again not much wrong here.

The Verdict
We all agreed that the 82 and 2011 should be watched, the 82 is certainly required viewing, and the 2011 will give good background on the events that transpired before the 82.  You can watch in either order. Mr. Blahg and Bonnie suggest watching the 2011 and then go back to the 82.  We all concluded that the 1951 can be watched for fun, but it’s not essential.

Watch “The Thing from Another World” free on YouTube!

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Listener Feedback

 

Jennifer Robertson
I have not seen the first, and I barely remember the remake. But the Carpenter version I love. Being a horror and sci-fi fan, I love it when the 2 are blended successfully, but they are not often as successfully fused as they are in this version of The Thing. Rewatching the movie for the podcast I was impressed that although old, it is not any less watchable because of it’s age. The tension is there, the atmosphere is there, and Wilford Brimley is there.
Too often horror tries to set itself in a sci-fi environment, with disastrous results that just come off as cheesy and very weak. While these disasters are almost an insult to true sci-fi fans, please understand that for us horror fans it is nice to have the catalyst of a story NOT be from the bible, a burial ground, an eclipse, a curse or a crypt….sometimes having the monster come from outer space is a refreshing change, even if the science part of the fiction is bad.
It was interesting to see the interaction between the men in the group once the fear and mistrust set in. I think when horror is done well it strips us down to our core, to our primal emotions and selves, not our contrived “civilized” selves and in that sense it can complement the mirror on humanity that good sci-fi does so well (to quote you guys!!).

Mike Gorham
I have never seen the original sadly. I thought the prequel was done very well even with the CGI syncing up to the Carpenter movie. The Thing is my favorite movie.

Its a shame we won’t see a sequel from Carpenter. The PS2 sequel game did a great job telling a story and Carpenter(quite the gamer himself) even said the game is a perfectly sequel so he won’t make one himself

Kevin McVey
I’ve only seen the Carpenter version but I think it is one of the best horror films and a very underrated film in general. Many things stand out in this film for me: think the special effects are some of the best EVER in a movie because they have not aged at all. Even after 33 years the visuals look (to me) as good as they did when I saw the film 15 years ago

Nick Jensen
I have not seen the original, interested to hear your opinion of it, but Carpenter’s The Thing is a classic and one of the best sci-fi movies around; definitely an essential. When you think of sci-fi/horror movies The Thing and Alien are the movies that come to mind, and the suspense and tension that Carpenter builds in this movie is amazing. I liked the idea of the prequel explaining what happened prior to Carpenters movie, but I never got around to seeing it, I hope it doesn’t ruin any of Carpenters work and eager to hear if you recommend watching it. I have read the story this was based on, ‘Who Goes There?’ by John Campbell, and recommend it if you’re interested in the source material for these films. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Seth Heasley
I actually like all three. The first is a very 50s version, the Carpenter film is fantastic with all those gorious (not a typo) effects, and the third one, while not a great film, hit some of the same beats without taking anything away from the Carpenter version.

Michael Simshauser
I’ve seen all three and I can recommend two out of the three. The 1951 version is a Science Fiction classic with all the pitfalls of being a 50s SciFi movie but being one of the first of that decade. The 1982 version is one of the only movies I can think of where the remake is better than the original. From Carpenters direction, Ennio Morricone’s haunting score, Rob Bottin’s great effects and fantastic cinematography by Dean Cundey it all comes together as a masterpiece, that was unfortunately released at the same time as ET. This movie is the pinnacle of Science Fiction/Thriller/Horror and is absolutely essential viewing.

Doug Ferguson
Haven’t seen the 50’s version, but I’ve seen the other two. The 80’s version is the clear winner, but I also feel that the 2011 one is dismissed too quickly. It’s actually a pretty decent prequel to John Carpenter’s version.
You guys should dig up the video of the practical effects they were initially going to use for this latest version. They looked incredible and I think it’s a shame that they opted out for standard CGI. Wasn’t bad CG, but those original effects were incredible and in the same vein as the 1982 movie. Would have linked them up better in my opinion.

Thanks to Doug Ferguson for the link to a clip on the creating of some of the creatures…

Josh Adams
I haven’t seen the original, but Carpenter’s version is still my favorite horror movie. I still have a hard time watching it for whatever reason. I actually really enjoyed the prequel as well. It’s not nearly on the same level as the 1982 film, but still very moody and jarring. It doesn’t hurt that Mary Elizabeth Winstead is in it. Oh my.

Ton de Witte
Seen all three, the best in my opinion is the 82 version. The 82 version was of course a remake of the first version but added stuff and changed enough to make it a far better and original movie. The first version is a good movie but a true child of its time with an arrogant scientist and other things of the era. The 2011 movie is almost a step by step remake of the 82 one even if the lead is female this time. This does not mean it is a bad movie and it has a few original things but it doesn’t have the surprises of the 82 version if you saw that one first. I did like that the 2011 version stops where the 82 began. Overall I would rank them 82, original, 2011. 82 and original are essential viewing 2011 is not essential but still an enjoyable movie.
Jordan Bonaparte from The Night Time Podcast (http://nighttimepodcast.com/)
I’m a huge fan of Carpenter’s #TheThing , had no idea it was based on a book/ prior movie #Mindblown now I got weekend plans!

Tony Arnoldi
Second was the best!

Heather McAlendin-Kendall
Watched all three. I enjoyed the 82 version the best but certainly got a charge out of the original for it’s time period it was entertaining.

(Heather is a Published author who lives in Toronto, and writes Multi-genre fiction including: erotic romance; paranormal fiction; fantasy and faerie tales. Visit her site at mcalendin.com)

 

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Sci Fi Movie Podcast The Thing