The Thing

WEIRDO’WEEN #12: The Thing [1982]

weirdoween2015Can you imagine being trapped in the middle of Antarctica during a blizzard? [that’s like: colder than cold!] Even worse, can you imagine being trapped in Antarctica with your fellow workers in a facility; all while an alien creature has the ability to mimic your best friend, and you don’t know just what’s going on? That’s exactly what happens for Helicopter pilot J.R MacReady, who’s hellbent on finding out just what is going on around him..I mean, what can you do when you’re amongst an alien with the power to transform and take the appearance of anybody else is amongst them. Who is infected already, and who can be trusted? All those questions [and more] will be asked, in this edition of Weirdo’ween‘s movie: John Carpenter‘s The Thing.

weirdo'ween-#12The Thing takes place in the Antarctic in 1982, where it mainly focuses on a group of American scientists. We are given no introduction to their mission, but are thrust into their lives when a pair of [seemingly] crazy Norwegians appear out of nowhere at their base camp, chasing an escaped dog. The Norwegians are abruptly killed, and the dog finds its way into scientists’ base, which is when things really start to pick up. It soon becomes quite clear that this “dog” is actually a shape-shifting alien organism, which seems to take it upon itself to take the physical form of its victims! In other words, as it begins to eat the Americans, it also can imitate them so well, that the remaining humans cannot distinguish the difference between their friends and their new found enemies!

The pack of scientists, led by one J. R MacReady[played brilliantly by Kurt Russell] begin to fight for their own survival, using only their remaining wits.. Of course, many questions start arising: If this Thing is among them, then how are they supposed to go about revealing it? Is there only one? Or how many Things are there? How can this Thing be killed? [Can it even be destroyed at all?]

Thankfully, the creature’s origins in the film are explained easily: Thirty thousand years ago a spacecraft crash landed on Earth, and was encased in the Antarctic ice. While The Thing tried to escape, it was quickly discovered [in the ice] by the Norwegians, who unknowingly accidentally released it from its natural icy prison. What makes this movie so good is it makes you ask questions as you continue watching such as: “How am I supposed to stay alive if any, if not all, of the crew is infected?” The Thing is extremely smart and calculating, forcing each decision the few remaining survivors one step closer to killing off the entire group. It plans for this, it hopes for this: and sadly – things really could have gone from bad to worse really fast. MacReady takes control of the situation with a no-nonsense attitude, but over the course of the film, even he can see the reality of the unfortunate situation; that eventually – this thing might actually come out on top.

But the absolute best thing about this movie [besides everything] is the visual effects. The creature design of The Thing is one of those great design masterpieces that manage to feel so real, it feels almost out of place. Like I said before, we actually get to see an alien life form in the shape of a dog physically attach to a human being and try to steal its form; the same thing also becomes a disembodied head sprout legs and crawl around the research station like a spider! I mean, yes; it’s gross, gut wrenching and certainly disturbing but The Thing itself is unlike any alien you have ever seen in a movie before.. and for that, it deserves all the credit.

Another thing that makes this movie such a great film is that The Thing actually provides little to no answers, leaving us to seek them for ourselves. Naturally, this infuriated many audiences when it was first released.. Viewers wanted closure, answers, and a sense of victory over the “monster.” Instead, Carpenter gave us a look at the state of humanity in 1982, leaving us with more questions than answers: Who won? Who was still human? Did it even matter anymore? How do we know we aren’t already living in a world composed of “things?” In my opinion, this makes the movie better, though at the same time, it also makes the movie feel depressing. Even in the last shot of the film, when Childs and MacReady are seen taking swigs of a bottle of whiskey during a wide shot of the camp in flames fire after “it’s all over”; both men just sit among the burning wreckage.. waiting for the flames to die down the winter weather to ultimately consume them.. it makes us wonder: could either [if not both] of these two men be The Thing? It’s a question that is still being talked about to this day, and the movie is over 30 years old!

If you consider yourself a horror fan, then you have to have seen The Thing by now, and if you haven’t; get on it. Seriously. It’s scary, it’s dark, and it can be fairly depressing; especially when you come to the conclusion that the ending might just not be as happy as you would hope. But it’s a masterpiece in it’s own right. Though, be aware: it’s not strictly horror, since it could also be considered a sci-fi film as well, but it’s just so good; it definitely one of those movies that deserves it’s praise! [even if it was a flop when it first released!]

Another thing! If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow morning when I talk about weirdo’ween #13! STAY TUNED! [and with this post now written, we are officially caught up on weirdo’ween movie reviews, yay!]

because I know that you wanted to see the dog ‘transform’ ..

THANKS FOR READING.

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If horror was written by R.L. Stine

One of the fortunate things about growing up in the early 90s is that I regularly watched two horror-themed TV shows that were aimed at younger audiences:Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and the one I tended to watch more, because it was less scary, Goosebumps! Back then, I was a lot easier to scare than I am today, and even though the show hasn’t entirely aged well; I still get those nostalgic feelings whenever I come across the show’s episodes on Netflix. [both shows are even Canada-based!] Surprisingly, even though being directed at kids,Goosebumps gained a very strict censorship when it reached the UK, [over content being considered too “gross” or scary to be shown to young or sensitive viewers] which resulted in many of the early episodes being banned [such as “Night Of The Living Dummy II”, “Night Of The Living Dummy III”, “Bride Of The Living Dummy”, and “The Haunted Mask”] or if they were aired, they were given extremely heavy edits, mainly to the twist endings. Not to mention that the episode titled “The Werewolf Of Fever Swamp” is the onlyGoosebumps episode to receive a 12+ rating by the BBFC. [the British Board Of Film Censorship]

Enough about the censorship though, today we’re going to talk about something involving Goosebumps that I’ve been meaning to write about, and not just because there’s a new movie coming out based on the show [which, in turn, is based on the books] but because of a nifty little Tumblr blog known only as If It Were Stine. Seriously. The idea behind the blog is simple: pick a horror film, PhotoShop the hell out of it, and turn it into a Goosebumps book. The original author of If It Were Stine, Jude, even went so far as to write the back blurbs for the horror based books! Unfortunately, the site has since ended it’s run after only a year – but there is more then enough content to keep you satisfied, some movies even have more then one ‘book’, based on requests, etc! [there’s even a few video game based “books” such as Bioshock]

From classic films such as A Nightmare On Elm Street to even films like Re-Animator, If It Were Stine did a lot of films, and the back blurbs are brilliant: enough to even have the same readability to feel like R.L. Stine could have wrote them himself! Below, I’m going to share just some of my favorites from the Tumblr page, be sure to check out If It Were Stine‘s official page – even if it isn’t producing new content any more! [which is really unfortunate for fans of the page like myself]

Carrie

*click here to read the back!

Let The Right One In

*click here to read the back!

The Thing

*click here to read the back!


Of course, that’s just three of the 25+ movies that the blog has, and that’s not even including the video game based ones! If you’re curious what other movies the site has, why not go over and take a look – Or because it’s easier – just click here for an alphabetical archive list! I’m not sure about you, but now that I’m older – and I don’t scare as easily – I’d love to read these; however, I feel that if they were written in the style of the original books, they wouldn’t be as scary as the movies can be, mainly since they were usually pun-filled, child-friendly fears [I still hate that damn Slappy dummy though, I don’t care who says otherwise: that ‘child friendly” toy scares the fuck out of me!]

If they aren’t on the blog, what are some other horror movies you’d like to see turned into Goosebumps books? I find myself liking the idea of a book based on Splice [though that’s unlikely] or even ParaNorman, [that’s a little more child friendly] just to see what the back would be written like.

THANKS FOR READING and REMEMBER when reading Goosebumps,