Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Thing Week: Ice from The X-Files

As many of you know I am a huge X-Files fan and well before I even started The Thing Week I went through all the seasons of the show and watched every episode. One episode I cam across in the first season stood out because it reminded me of The Thing and that episode is called ‘Ice.’ Low and behold, ‘Ice’ was a direct adaptation, of sorts, of The Thing as well as Who Goes There? The episode was very well-received by X-Files fans however, though I thought it was good… I don’t think it’s one of the best episodes of the season.

The basis of writing this episode came from Glen Morgan who read about a group of men in Greenland that dug up something in the ice that was about 200,000 plus years old. For Thing fans, it’s easy to see where the episode borrowed from The Thing and Who Goes there and Carter (Creator of The X-Files) himself stated that his biggest influence was The Thing. The basic concept of the episode is about Mulder, Skully, three scientists and a helicopter pilot trapped in an isolated research station with a parasitic alien worm that uses the human body as a host. The episode relies on trust and paranoia to make the audience feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic.

While looking up some information on Ice’s relation to The Thing I found a few interesting facts that Carter put in to make this 45 minute tribute complete. While looking through the credits of the episode I noticed a character named Campbell, which I initially thought was a tribute to John W. Campbell and my speculation was correct. Graeme Murray designed the complex in which the episode took place and coincidently he designed the entire complex in Carpenter’s The Thing. This next observation is not really backed up but is more of a personal observation; Dr. Hodge (played by Xander Berkeley) bares a striking resemblance to Palmer (played by David Clennon) in The Thing.

‘Ice’ does a great job showing the intense paranoia between all the people in the complex. It manages to keep that tension between people in such a short amount of time. The complex is also very claustrophobic and with the mentioning of the heat, it makes the audience member get psychologically hot as they are trying to figure out who is who. I absolutely enjoyed the characters and I was pretty depressed that Bear died because he seemed like the strong character in the beginning. Hell, the episode didn’t really have that much gore and still accomplished a surreal and nightmarish reality. I think the problem that I had was the pacing; it just seemed a little off and ultimately made the episode a little rushed.

Much like The Thing, The X-Files uses science to explain how things work with the parasitic worm and the explanation is so fascinating but the only difference is that the worm is a little less aware than the Thing. To me, like many other times, it’s very interesting to see the roots of The Thing as well as Who Goes There extend into other sci-fi and horror realms.

"Before anyone passes judgment, may I remind you, we are in the Arctic"
- Fox Mulder


Post a Comment