The Thing from Another World (1951)
Directed by: Christian Nyby. Written by: Charles Lederer, loosely based on the story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr.
Plot: Scientists and Army guys find an alien space ship buried in the ice up in the Arctic. Thinking they have made the discovery of the century, they bring it back to the camp where it thaws out and starts walking around killing folks, using their blood to fertilize its spores.
Review: Honestly, I wasn't actually going to review this movie but I figured I couldn't really review Creature from the Black Lagoon without including this so there we go.
This movie, apparently, is one of the first monster-tries-to-destroy-humanity movies ever (I looked that up after writing my review of Creature from the Black Lagoon), and is, according to me, the template for later films such as Alien - it’s got pretty much the same plot, the monster’s just cooler and way more people get eaten (probably because the monster is not only cooler, but more effective).
Unfortunately, the titular ‘thing’ is really not cool at all. It’s sort of like Frankenstein’s Monster except without the personality. It’s the lame kid on the playground as far as monsters go. I mean, really. In a fight between the Thing and a badass motherfucker like, say, the Blob, the Thing would get pwnd.
Mind you, the Blob pwns just about everything. It’s the fucking Blob. The only force more powerful than the Blob is Steve McQueen, and I’m pretty sure he’s dead. If he’s not… well, he probably should be. (I just had to look that up - apparently he died in 1980 at the age of fifty. Bummer)
Okay, back on track. I read somewhere that they wanted to make it more like the monster in the short story (and in the remake) but didn’t really have the budget for it. Which is probably for the better in the long run. Ya know, it would have been a wee bit disturbing.
And even though the Thing is not as cool as the Creature from the Black Lagoon (or the Blob, or Predator - it is, however, cooler than the Terror from Beyond Space), this movie is way more interesting and moderately scarier, mostly because the Thing is much harder to kill and, unlike the Creature, is probably out to destroy humanity.
All the Creature wanted to do was get laid, and all the people had to do was shoot him with a harpoon. Problem solved (okay, until the sequel, but we’ll just pretend those movies didn’t happen). In this movie, they had to electrocute the fucker, and that is really hard. I mean, you have to rig up everything and shit. Scary. Also, the characters were better. Sort of. That's not saying a whole lot, but, ya know, it counts for something. And the pointless set-up scene is shorter (granted, it is even more pointless - in Creature, they sort of show how the Creature is discovered and then they go somewhere and introduce the characters and talk about marine life. In this movie, it's just a bunch of jerks sitting around playing poker and talking about how much they hate the arctic).
But yeah, this movie is better. It's actually a pretty good movie in general.
My God. I can’t believe I spent the entire review of this movie talking about Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Blob. Ah well.
Favourite Part: The obligatory confused-man-of-science who realizes that the Thing is a destructive force but wants to protect it so humanity can learn from it or whatever. There always is one of these guys in this kind of movie (in Alien he was a robot). He doesn't know what's good for anybody, but you can’t help but love him.
Other versions: The Thing of ‘86.
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