It’s a popular belief that remakes are inherently terrible. It’s not hard to understand why so many people would look at remakes with disdain — by and large the majority of them are cheaply produced, creatively bankrupt cash grabs designed to appeal to nostalgia over any real artistic merit. But dismissing the idea of remakes as a whole is a very foolish mistake and no further proof is needed than John Carpenter’s 1982 science fiction/horror film THE THING.
Carpenter’s film is a remake of Howard Hawks ‘1951 film THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, itself an adaptation of the novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr. You can debate until the cows come home if Carpenter’s film is a true remake or instead a second adaptation of a shared source material but I say screw semantics. Instead of arguing about what THE THING is or isn’t, let’s concentrate on the one thing everybody can agree on: THE THING is one of the best films of the ‘80s — of any genre.
The first part of Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy” (which also includes PRINCE OF DARKNESS and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS), THE THING stars Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady, a helicopter pilot at a remote Antarctic station. Along with the rest of his team, MacReady encounters an alien life form. This “thing” disguises itself among MacReady’s team — infiltrating the community and causing paranoia and suspicion to spread.
With THE THING, Carpenter proved that he could take a fun, if slightly dated, science fiction film from the ‘50s and make it relevant to the socio-political culture of the current decade. He ratcheted up the terror while still focusing on creating a smart film first and foremost. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the film was full of some of the best practical effects to ever be captured on film. Nauseatingly repulsive, the creatures that Carpenter and his crew came up with for THE THING are still lauded to this day for their originality.
Were such big fans of THE THING here at the Alamo that we jumped at the chance to show the movie on the big screen (in a new high-definition digital print to boot). The screening will kick-off a full night of THING-related fun as we screen the film as a prelude to the midnight release of Universal’s new prequel to THE THING, also (confusingly) titled THE THING.
The Matthijs van Heijningen-directed prequel is based on a screenplay by Ronald D. Moore, a man who knows a thing or two about how to pay tribute to an original property while taking it in a new direction. Moore helped spearhead the recent reboot of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.
The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton as members of the team of Norwegian and American scientists who first discovered the alien buried deep in the ice of Antarctica.
While your first reaction to the news of a prequel to Carpenter’s film that does not include the involvement of Carpenter might be to turn your nose up at the project, just remember — John Carpenter’s THE THING was a remake that didn’t include the involvement of the original film’s director. This new film could prove to be just as successful as Carpenter’s was at taking a classic property and breathing new life into it. Have hope, horror fans. Besides, hope is a lot more fun than being excessively cynical — plus, it leads to a longer, ulcer-free life.
Between films, we’ll have a selection of games, giveaways and more. You don’t want to miss out on this THING-THING double feature so buy your tickets today. Just come prepared to take a blood test. We can’t run the risk of having any aliens among the crowd.
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