DIRECTOR: Christian Nyby & Howard Hawks
The Thing is… well, always start with a joke, even a bad one.
But in all seriousness, this is where The Thing franchise all began. At the dawn of the Cold War science fiction era, The Thing from another world is definitely one of the better B-movies of the genre. Smart, clever and posing some interesting ideas, this takes it time without losing pace in the process.
Upon discovering a crashed flying saucer in the North Pole, a group of American scientists and Air Force pilots accidentally destroy it during the salvage attempt. But they do manage to recover the pilot’s body. Only he is not as dead as they are lead to believe.
After he thaws out, the vegetable based life form rampages through the isolated Arctic base as the group try to destroy the seeming indestructible alien, who in this version, is more of a Frankenstein’s monster in appearance than anything else. Sound familiar? Well, it all kind of started here.
As Hitchcock opened the flood gates of the slasher genre with Psycho in 1960, this Howard Hawks produced/co-directed B-Movie may be responsible for the horror thriller genre which we know and love today, though here, by today’s standards the tone is much more adventurous and gung-hoe, a common trait of early post World War 2 films which feature the U.S. armed forces.
This may have been a horror film in 1951, but not today. John Carpenter’s 1982 remake, simply titled “The Thing” has become the go-to version for the modern audience, with its’ darker, gorier and more horrific themes, but this subject has been done to death in so many other films and TV projects. Star Trek and The X-Files to name just a couple, let alone the 2011 “prequel” to the 1982 remake, also simply called “The Thing” yeah, keep up…
But as for the original, for fans of vintage Sci-fi, this is a good ‘en, but expect to see a movie of the day, with what is now considered to be hammy performances and a lighter tone. Though the scene, which I believe was cut until recently, in which our two leads flirt as Margaret Sheridan‘s Nikki has Kenneth Tobey‘s Capatin Hendry tied to a chair whilst she plies him with liquor is a little bizarre and possibly a bit kinky but it all depends on how you look at it.
Personally, I’ll just focus on the walking cabbage as he murders the hapless team on the base… It’s more than entertaining enough.