Friday, July 15, 2011

My Thoughts on the Thing Prequel

As many of you know, especially after Thing Week… I am a hardcore fan of John Carpenter’s The Thing. You already know how I was exposed to it and why it is my favorite horror movie of all time but when I heard they were doing a remake, I couldn’t believe it because the first was so flawless. Then rumors began to surface that it wasn’t a remake but rather a prequel that starred MacReady’s brother, which doesn’t make sense because the first camp that was attacked was Norwegian. So, like a cynic, I decided to not follow the hype or anything about this prequel until I saw a trailer and just yesterday Bloody Disgusting released the trailer for The Thing (Prequel) along with the poster (pictured above). I know some might want to know what I think of it but first I want to express my feelings towards the poster.

I like the poster. I like it a lot. Is it the best horror poster ever? No but it does seem to be very stylized while still keeping that Carpenter-y feel. The big bold white letters that spells out ‘The Thing’ and inside the letters is “human” on the verge of becoming its full form. If you look at his right hand you’ll notice that it’s full-blown alien and I couldn’t help but think of the scene when the group, from the original, encounter the Bennings Thing running in the snow. He falls to his knees clutching his right hand, which looks like a giant deformed crab claw, tilts his head back and howls at the group before getting torched. That’s what this poster reminded me of. However, the more I look at it the more I can see just how bad (for lack of a better term) this was photoshopped. I’m still happy with it.

Note: As you watch the trailer below, keep an ear out for the Ennio Morricone score they use. I don't know if it's directly from the The Thing or if it's reproduced.

As for the trailer itself… it looks exactly like how I thought it would be. It reveals nothing about what the Thing will look like and rightfully so but I couldn’t help but get this feeling of redundancy. To many people, including myself, the original 1951 movie was already sort of a prequel to the John Carpenter film so watching this trailer made me feel like I was watching a remake of The Thing From Another World. It didn’t feel flashy to me, which is good but it did seem to be in favor of more action sequences than building an ominous/paranoid atmosphere. I would still end up seeing the film not because I’m excited but because I would like to know how they think the Norwegian incident went down. Again, it feels very redundant because we already know what will happen in the end… two Norwegians escape trying to shoot a dog that they believe is the Thing but end up getting killed in the process. If that’s not how it ends then I guess it’s not really a prequel but rather a remake of the ’51 film. However, there are some specific things in the trailer that I noticed that I want to briefly discuss

To me it feels a little out of place to have a female in The Thing if only because the Carpenter film was so cold and “manly.” This makes me believe even further that this film will be more of an adaption of the Howard Hawks film than a prequel to the John Carpenter film. Still, since it seems like she is the main heroine and we’ll have to wait and see if she can be better than MacReady.

There’s that nice big block of CGI ice that has our lovable alien friend in it. In the third picture, if you’ve seen The Thing as much as I have, you’ll notice that the shot that shows the ice block sitting in the dark was directly taken from Carpenter’s film. The camera slowly movies forward along the small balcony that overlooks the encased alien. So I guess they are going for some level of homage here.

The next couple of scenes are short, almost like flash-frames, but they are of the alien on its back either dead or just barely alive. I don’t like CGI and I’m sure a majority of the film will incorporate CGI monsters and attack scenes but after seeing these two scenes, I might have something to hold on to that they might have some practical effects as well. The practical effects and puppetry was a staple (almost iconic) in Carpenter’s Thing so why not carry on that tradition.

Also, instead of creepy upside-down head spiders, we’re getting crab-like snake things that grab people’s heads. Fine by me.

Overall, I have faith in Universal because they seem to take care of their horror movies considering the entire company was founded on horror but that still doesn’t mean that the film had to be made. I felt the same way about Wolfman but I still enjoyed it. I can only hope that this film will inspire others to seek out the Carpenter film, and the Hawks film for that matter, to see what true paranoia is.

11 comments:

HorrO said...

Wow you went all out here. I am in no way an expert on The Thing but the trailer had me interested. I hope the movie turns out well and you like it because I know this is your favorite. Definitely will look forward to your review when it comes out.

Sean Thomas Fisher said...

It won't be the same without Kurt Russell and Wilford Brimley but looks cool just the same. I have faith in the producers of Dawn of the Dead. Thanks for the heads up!

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

Thanks Sean. The producers did pretty damn well with the Dawn of the Dead remake so we'll see how well they do with a prequel.

vicjd1 said...

Great breakdown! It almost appears like a shot by shot remake of sorts and it does seem to have a more frenetic pace. I hope they do keep all of the elements in this incarnation that worked well in JC's version. It also feels a bit strange having a female in the "MacCready" role.

Anonymous said...

Redundancy, yeah, with fresh, unrecognizable, totally uninteresting faces. Sorry to rain on the parades of those to whom hope springs eternal, but we'll have forgotten about this (those of us who bother to watch it) in 18 months.

Kyle Scott said...

Im tryin real hard not to get my hopes up, as THE THING is among my fav films of all time. This does look respectful to Carpenters film, while taking beats from the Hawks movie. WHo knows. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. But why is it called 'THE THING'? When its the previous Norwegian situation being explored? Makes no damn sense. Let us pray..

Jenny Krueger said...

THE THING is amazing but a prequel? Check please!

MarkusWelby1 said...

just not sure about this one....I mean...we already know how it ends. Would have been more interesting to take the Thing to a new location perhaps. One of my favorites of all time as well. I'll remain optimistic.

jaxstor said...

if Carpenter had been able to use CGI better believe he would have. The shooting script, which was soo much better then the final film, as great as it was, had to be paired down because of tech and budget. In particular, the dogs wer to all become things and escape. The team along with Benning give chase on the ice flows. The dogs merge into one thing...hide under the ice...and pull Benning to his doom. The other scene was the death of Windows in the script. The men lock the,selves into a large room for a last stand...The Thing breaks thru the door grabbing Windows who swallows cyanide. Carpenter would have filmed these if he could have using CGI. The shooting script had more thing attacks.

Watch The Thing Online said...

The movie was terrific on many levels. The incredible sense of paranoia, mistrust and fear, lent not only by Carpenter's direction (which is stunning) but also by the incredible acting of the cast in general.

Franz Patrick said...

I'm glad you're being optimistic about it. I also loved "The Thing" as a child (thankfully, not traumatized) and adored variations of it like from "The X-Files" episode called "Ice." I've been meaning to rewatch the movie, possibly this weekend. Looking forward to your take on it once it comes out.

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