The Thing

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This latest version of The Thing raises one immediate question: Why? The movie is conceived as a "prequel" to John Carpenter's 1982 film of the same name, so it's set in the doomed Norwegian Antarctic research outpost visited near the beginning of Carpenter's picture. But apart from this change of venue, the new movie, by Dutch director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., plays like a remake. Once again we have a hideous alien life form terrorizing an isolated polar encampment, taking over the bodies of various inhabitants, and pumping up the paranoia of its uninfected personnel to nerve-wringing heights. It's the same movie, essentially, but the shocks—while still jolting in some cases—are no longer fresh.

The film benefits from the presence of Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the lead role of Kate Lloyd, a paleontologist recruited by a Norwegian scientist (Ulrich Thomsen) to examine a curious "specimen"—a creature frozen into a block of ice extracted from a remote site at which a huge spaceship has also been discovered. As photographed by cinematographer Michel Abramowicz, Winstead's distinctively sweet features have the glow of a porcelain figurine lit from within; and she invests her character with a cool determination that transcends routine spunkiness. (With her take-charge spirit, Kate is a clear iteration of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in Alien, a movie whose production design is echoed at several points here.)   

Also an asset is Joel Edgerton (of Warrior), who plays Carter, one of the base pilots. Edgerton's job is to provide the sort of gruff, leading-man amiability projected by Kurt Russell in the Carpenter film. But Edgerton doesn't really get sufficient screen time to do this, and he doesn't even get to wear an interesting hat. (He does sport a small earring, which turns out to be cleverly significant.)

The rest of the cast, composed largely of unfamiliar Scandinavian actors, is a little hard to keep track of. But since they're all going through the story's very familiar motions, that doesn't much matter. The block of ice in which the creature is confined naturally begins to melt. The creature makes an explosive escape and is soon revealed to be a gooey, whip-tentacled monstrosity capable of subdividing into scrabbling satellite beasties and of melding with its victims (in rousingly gross ways) to form perfect replicas. The un-melded characters grow increasingly suspicious of their colleagues. A test is devised to sort out those who are still human. More bloody pandemonium ensues, with the creature doing its own kind of sorting until the cast has been chewed down to a very nervous minimal number. And then….

Directing his first feature, Heijningen does a capable job of marshaling special effects and CGI in sometimes memorable ways: a severed arm with a stump full of gnashing teeth, a fat tentacle cramming itself down the throat of a flailing victim. But despite the technical advances made in the field of effects since 1982, little of this has the imaginative power that distinguished Carpenter's film; and there are no iconic genre moments to equal the possessed dog splitting apart in the earlier movie. This Thing is ideally suited for sci-fi horror fans who've never seen that picture. But do such people exist?

Kurt Loder is a writer living in New York. His third book, a collection of film reviews called The Good, the Bad and the Godawful, will be out on November 8th from St. Martin's Press. Follow him on Twitter at kurt_loder.

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  1. We are the 99%.

    As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.

    ~Adam Smith
    Wealth of Nations

    1. As soon as Hollywood does a remake, the question to ask yourself is whether the original really could be improved.

      ~Ken Shultz

      1. I think the remake of the “Thomas Crown Affair” was in most ways better than the original.

        1. HA! It sucked. The entire premise of robbing art galleries over robbing banks was dumb.

          1. Art galleries and architects only exist in TV and movies.

      2. Also consider that the latest “Casino Royale” is (sort of) a remake as well.

        1. A film based on a book is already a remake, just in a different medium.

      3. I don’t object to remakes per se, though I think the frequency of them could stand to be reduced an order of magnitude. It’s the pointlessness of most remakes that bugs me.

        1. Like I said, if you can improve them in some way? By all means…do the remake.

          But Carpenter’s “The Thing” was almost a perfect movie for its genre.

          You gonna remake “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”?

          How you gonna improve it?!

          That’s the question to ask yourself. If the director can’t answer that question? Then the young demographics better be there ’cause you’re competing with a better version that people can download.

          I wouldn’t fund that–unless the demographics were there. If the director can’t tell you how he’s gonna improve it in some fundamental way, then it’s probably just a self-indulgent project for the director.

          1. I should add, it’s hard to imagine that the movie could be better than the ad too.


            That’s some awesome advertising–and it shows you what the target demographic is.

            1. Thanks for the link, Ken — it is, indeed, awesome.

            2. You just scared the crap out of my kid who was watching over my shoulder, lol. Well done.

          2. It’s legally treason to remake Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns. You can look it up.

            1. Don’t say that, because I have a feeling you are eventually going to be proven very wrong.

              1. Go ahead, make his day.

          3. Of course, you and Mr. MTV News both fail to mention the early 1950s version.

        2. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three was a movie that should have never been remade. I don’t know what they thought they could improve upon.

          1. Fuck, yeah, I forgot about that one. The original was too obscure for it to bring name recognition value, so what did they get out of it?

            1. On the plus side, when the remake came out someone cashed in by putting the Walter Matthau version on TV, and that was the first time I had gotten to see it – and it is frickin’ excellent.

              1. It really is surprising how unknown that movie is, considering how good it is; plus, it is full bore 1970’s NYC and therefore super retro.

                1. Yeah, if you watched that movie and then Dog Day Afternoon and then Serpico back-to-back-to-back, when you were done you’d have actual real accurate memories of having lived in NYC in the 70’s yourself.

                  1. Add to that Taxi Driver, Marathon Man, and Death Wish and you’ll probably believe you lived in NYC in the 70s.

                    1. I’d toss in Cruising for good measure.

            2. The Beastie Boys gave it a nice shout out on Ill Communication.

      4. The Italian Job remake was much better than the original.

        There are some movies that it would be pointless to remake – The(first) remake of The Thing is one of them, so its good that this is another entry in the series. But like Loder wrote it doesn’t provide anything new for the franchise.

        Three Days of the Condor is another one that you could modernize but couldn’t improve upon.

        1. Remaking Three Days of the Condor would be doubly stupid because there’s no Cold War any more.

          All of the classic spy movies from during the Cold War would be really hard to remake. That’s probably a good thing.

          Of course, they still did it to The Manchurian Candidate. Yeah, remake an awesome John Frankenheimer film using Johnathan Demme. That’ll do well.

          1. That’s a big part of the problem with the Bond franchise.

            That and how the whole mod thing just goes over everybody’s heads now.

            There was a time when awesome being privy to awesome technology wasn’t necessarily associated with big thick black glasses and social phobias.

            Not that I miss the Soviet Union.

            1. If I controlled the Bond franchise, here’s what I’d do: Starting from the beginning, make the books into movies. Not like before, where the title and maybe a character from the book showed up. Much closer to the originals. And–here’s the kicker–set in their proper time.

              1. We met with the Fleming family trust.

                Their staff and advisers all have 007 on their business cards.

                1. Awesome! I’m a Bondophile. What do you do Ken? CPA? Lawyer? Just curious…

        2. At the risk of blaspheme I liked the remake of Oceans 11…douchebag actors politics aside of course.

          1. But the original had Norman Fell rubbing shoulders with the Rat Pack. I never knew Mr. Roper was down.

        3. “The Italian Job remake was much better than the original.”

          I’ll give you that from a number of perspectives.

          …but if Benny Hill had never done anything else but the original “Italian Job”? He should have been given a lifetime achievement award just for that!

          1. You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!

      5. Ricardo Cortez was the ultimate Sam Spade.

    2. What’s with you hippies and natural produce?

  2. Why? I’m still asking that question.

    1. Because either Hollywood is out of new ideas or producers are too chicken shit to take risks.
      Most likely both.

      1. Yeah, it’s aimed at demographic that never saw the Carpenter version.

        There’s money to be made there.

        If it’s a script that can’t be improved though–you’re basically asking for a flop. …especially with Netflix, et. al. being nearly ubiquitous.

        Take the Planet of the Apes franchise…

        The original really couldn’t be improved on–but Burton and Co. decided to do that 2001 remake anyway. It was one of the worst remakes in the history of remakes.

        The movie was hideous. The female apes we were supposed to empathize with? Were made to look so bad–it seemed like Burton was trying to make fun of transvestites.…..x=59&ty=58

        Meanwhile, “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is in some ways a remake of “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”. It was a reboot too, but the original was topical–quite frankly it was about the civil rights struggle and the ongoing riots in the wake of the civil rights struggle.

        The original ending was never shown in theaters. Could that movie have been improved? Hell yes! Considering that it’s not really topical anymore–a remake was warranted.

        And Rise of the Planet of the Apes is roundly considered a good movie.

        If you can’t improve “The Thing”, don’t remake it! That should be the general rule. There are thousands of films they could remake–pick one you can either reinterpret because the topic is no longer relevant, or pick one you can improve.

        1. Anybody see the Burton’s remake of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”?

          Burton should have been arrested for that film.

          1. I just presume that if Burton’s involved, it’s going to be utter and complete shit.

            1. Early Burton is fantastic, dude. I hope you’re only talking about later Burton.

              1. Batman? Batman Returns? Scissorhands?

                Meh. More meh and meh, yet again.

                Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks, I’ll give him credit, as the latter had it’s moments, even though as a whole it was a train wreck.

                1. Pee-Wee? Beetlejuice? Ed Wood?

                  And I like both Batman and Edward Scissorhands.

                  1. Pee-Wee? Beetlejuice? Ed Wood?

                    I had forgotten that he did Pee-Wee and I gave him credit for Beetlejuice, but Ed Wood was a film geek’s film. I watched it, but couldn’t get into it at all.

                    Burton has his moments, but his later films and earlier mediocre efforts overshadow his worthwhile work. I just find him to be severely overrated.

                2. Scissorhands was a good film.

                  Beetlejuice was a good film.

                  The original Batman Dark Knight? Every superhero movie we’ve seen since that gives us a straight version of the story rather than camp? Is a tribute to Burton’s Batman.

                  I liked the Nightmare Before Christmas. It was original and interesting…

                  He’s made some great films–but remaking his favorite films, that really can’t be improved? That’s not his strong suit.

                  1. The original Batman Dark Knight? Every superhero movie we’ve seen since that gives us a straight version of the story rather than camp? Is a tribute to Burton’s Batman.

                    Bullshit. I had Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns not too long before Burton’s Batman and was completely stoked to see the flick. What a thundering disappointment it was. Maybe that was a result of my raised expectations, but it still came off as half-baked milquetoast.

                    You look at it now and it’s not holding up well. I was even willing to given Keaton a pass, at the time, as Batman and regretted it. He sorely lacked the gravitas to pull it off. The remaining films only degraded in quality to the point of parody.

                    Nolan’s versions are a direct link back to Miller’s work. I would sooner forget that the 4 from the 80’s and 90’s ever existed.

                    1. At the time? Getting a huge star like Keaton to play that role was a coup!

                      Try to understand what I’m saying here. People’s perceptions of superheros at the times was still this:


                      You couldn’t get funding for a superhero movie back then! The only reason Burton was able to pull it off? Was because he had huge stars like Keaton and Nicholson…

                      Every superhero movie made since–every one of them!

                      Burton did for realistic superhero movies what Lucas did for dogfights in space.

                    2. Burton did for realistic superhero movies what Lucas did for dogfights in space.

                      First of all, Burton was only riding the wave of the graphic novels that were becoming popular. Much darker and grittier than the standard fare. I’m far from a comic book geek, so I can’t speak to the level of popularity of this genre, but Miller’s work had an impact on me.

                      Secondly, Donner’s Superman preceded it by 7 or 8 years. And add to that, the Batman series that Burton begat only dove straight into camp. By the end, it was a joke. I maintain that the walking horror that was Batman & Robin actually killed superhero films for the better part of a decade.

                      Burton’s Batman wasn’t horrible, it just had so much more potential to be so much more. Instead, it was bland Hollywood standard.

                    3. Well, fact is?

                      Comic books are storyboards. The difference between comic books and story boards are practically invisible to directors.

                      When any director looks at a graphic novel, they’re looking at a story board. Practically every big budget movie ever made for decades, in that way, has been a function of a graphic novel.

                      One of the reasons Tarantino was able to pitch his films so easily was because he and his artist friends were all comic book freaks–and they transferred his screenplays to storyboard waaaaaaay before he got the chance to make anything.

                      I’ve sometimes wondered if that might be partially to blame for his…um…uneven output since Jackie Brown. Sort of like giving Bob Dylan years to write dozens of great songs–and he comes out of the blocks with all that output ready to record.

                      Then he’s supposed to do that every couple of years late in life?

                      Anyway, the fact that directors look at comic like they’re storyboards shouldn’t be indicative of much–that’s why Frank Miller is basically the director of Sin City. He directed it when he created the comic. Sin City being among the most misogynist films I’ve seen, but I guess that’s beside the point. Just thought I’d mention it.

                    4. I rather enjoyed Batman Returns, moreso than the original Batman by leaps and bounds even. Always thought that the original was a bit oversold, while the sequel of Batman Returns, complete with a psychotic Pfeiffer, sociopathic Walken, and believable DeVito as Penguin was top notch and the only Batman movie worth watching pre-Nolan blessing the series with his gift.

              2. Agreed.

                Burton made some great films.

          2. I liked it. I thought it was fun with some interesting set design and odd performances. Of course I never really cared much for the original other than as pure camp.

            1. You don’t like the original? That’s like un-American.

              1. It’s a nice cultural touchstone but as an overall movie I thought it was lacking. It’s one of those movies that labels itself “imaginative” but doesn’t really live up to it. It’s like its made for kids based on what adults think kids like and not what they actually do. Don’t know if that makes sense or not.

            2. Seeming to kill bad children?

              Oompah Loompahs.

              Blueberry girl and the bad egg?

              Freaky psychedelic trip down what it means to be a good child–it was like Alice in Wonderland for kids that grew up in the ’60s and ’70s.

              Like a disturbing H.R. Pufinstuf.

              What’s not to like?

              1. A big fat kid falling in a chocolate river–and getting stuck in a big tube?!

                If you don’t like that, I don’t understand what you’re lookin’ for in a movie.

          3. Couldn’t finish it. Godawful.

          4. Depp sucked in his version too (and I like him).

          5. Burton didn’t remake Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

            He MADE Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–Willy is based on Charlie.

            Burton’s is closer to the original.

            He screwed up the story in his PoTA, but his apes–apart from the girl chimps–were a vast improvement.

            Eventually someone will actually make a PoTA that reflects the book.

        2. When they remade The Shining as a made for tee-vee flick, I wondered out loud what the fuck was wrong with the producers.

          Oh yeah, it’ll be fucking glorious. No one will think of Kubrick or Jack Nicholson or redrum….genius fucking green lighting there.

          1. It’s King himself that’s the problem. Somehow, he doesn’t like the Kubrick version.

            1. His big complaint (IIRC) was that he thought Nicholson was crazy from the outset, rather than being driven crazy by the hotel.

              1. I just don’t see why. Jack was likeable enough at the beginning, just a little hint of an edge.

              2. That’s because Nicholson is a grossly overrated actor. His character is always Jack, and as such, there is very little to no character progression in any role he takes, thus making his roles dry, tedious, and boring.

                Add to that he’s a Lakers fan and he really is the scourage of all taste and decency.

                1. Thank you! I’ve been bitching about this for years. Nicholson sucks. Every character he plays is exactly the same.

          2. I think the original intent was to produce a version of The Shining that was more true to the novel. Having said that, they completely fucked it up by making it feel “halloweenish”, as opposed to the psychological horror of the Kubrick masterpiece. Plus, the kid actor playing Danny – I just couldn’t get past his permanently gaping fish mouth. Could they have found an uglier kid?

        3. I wish they woud remake The Best Man. Great film. Saw it last night for the second time on TCM.

          The 99%-ers need to see it.

  3. When I saw the first trailer I thought do we really need a remake of a remake? Knowing this is supposed to be a prequel just makes it that much worse.

    1. Yeah but the Carpenter version was hardly a remake of the original film, since the original film had almost nothing to do with the actual short story. The Carpenter version was really the first close portrayal of the story.

  4. I was initially somewhat buoyed about this movie because when I heard it was a prequel at the Norwegian base, I thought “ok, at least it’s not a remake, and that’s sort of an interesting place to take it”.

    However, it’s disappointing to hear that it’s essentially a remake. The only way to make this thing (ha) interesting was to make what happened at that base really fucked up and different from the American base.

    It’s amazing how well the original holds up to this day. The special effects are still incredible, and the story has been copied by numerous shows and movies. And the theme music from Ennio Morricone is great.

    1. You mean the Carpenter remake, I assume? Which, I agree, is a great flick.

      1. I don’t consider the Carpenter version to be a remake, just as I don’t consider Peter Jackson’s LOTR to be a remake of Ralph Bakshi’s LOTR.

        They’re different interpretations of the same novella.

        1. I’ll buy that. I just don’t want to ignore the first film.

        2. Exactly. And the old black and white film was a totally different take on the story, informed by Cold War paranoia and patriotism.

          1. patriotism nationalism

        3. I don’t consider the Carpenter version to be a remake.

          Carpenter did…I think I will go with his version of what movie he made rather then your consideration.

        4. Since you brought up Bakshi, I’ll pitch American Pop. Because everyone needs to see it.

    2. It’s amazing how well the original holds up to this day. The special effects are still incredible, and the story has been copied by numerous shows and movies. And the theme music from Ennio Morricone is great.

      Stan Winston FTW.

      I’m more intrigued by the Alien prequel that Scott is directing. Hopefully, he hasn’t lost his edge.

    3. I liked how in the original the Thing was growing little thing seedlings and it looked basically like a giant carrot. Wait… maybe that’s why I hate to garden.

    4. The Thing is on my short list of topics I occasionally obsess over for a few weeks at a time.

      1. Dean Cundey’s photography in it is also fucking beautiful. The opening scenes with the dog and the helicopter makes full use of that. I’m so glad he decided to shoot it anamorphic.

        1. I got to see it for the first time in a cineaste’s home theater, complete with a screen curtain that pulls back and a popcorn machine.

          The film made me re-think my approach to bio-atrocity possibilities.

    5. Remember that the original is actually a remake.

      1. See my response to ProL above. It is not a remake.

      2. Even if it is a remake, it’s an improvement.

        If you can’t do it better than the original, don’t bother.



        It’s simple really.

        1. You think Zeppelin’s version is better?

          *shakes his head in confusion*

          Something just ain’t right with you, boy.

        2. Not a good example…’tall.

          1. It’s a perfect example.

            And there are dozens more.

            Zeppelin I is basically a list of examples of then improving blues originals.

            Here’s another excellent example–different band:





            I’m not saying the original isn’t any good. I’m saying they did something to improve it.

            Zeppelin turned the blues into psychedelic blues.

            The Gun Club turned it into punk rawk.

            They improved it. They added something significant. That’s why you cover stuff. That’s why you do a remake–because you can make it better.

            That’s essentially why Wagner used ancient source material to create opera–he was improving it with music. That’s why Shakespeare used things like history and aspects of Sophocles–he was improving it with theater.

            If setting “The Thing” to music is an improvement, then by all means do it. Otherwise, the only reason to make “The Thing” is to separate 20 something guys from some of their paycheck. But Zeppelin didn’t just “remake” blues standards just for the money–and that’s why people are still buying their recordings today.

            They improved blues standards.

    6. The only way to make this thing (ha) interesting was to make what happened at that base really fucked up and different from the American base.

      Perhaps if The Thing instead turned into the Norwegian bikini babes, who then infected others by spraying a combination of santorum and afterbirth out of their mouths like a firehose (ala Prince of Darkness, and at the end, it turns out the only two survivors are 1) a strangely effeminate George Bush, and Powers Boothe.

      I’ve had this mapped out in my head for a long time.

      1. I’d go see it.

      2. Mad props to you for working ‘Santorum’ into an actual conversation. This thing really needs legs, and it’s heroes like you putting it out there for the world to see, learn, and adopt.

    7. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t do a sequel, as opposed to a prequel? In this way, fans of the Carpenter classic would be enticed by the question of whether or not the thing would survive or not (as opposed to knowing the outcome in the prequel). That and maybe a little insight on the creature’s intelligence.

  5. I saw the 1982 version when I was a kid. Freaked me the fuck out. I like the lead actress here, she was hawt in Scott Pilgrim. Still though, this looks like a rental, at best.

  6. Yes the splitting dog in the original was unforgettable. So was what happened when they tried to revive that guy with the electric paddles.

    1. That’s because you’re supposed to apply the paddles to the chest, not the stomach.

    2. As a kid that seriously fucked me up for a day or two. The head/leg thing didn’t help either.

    3. I love the scene where Nauls, Childs, and Garry are tied down for the test and the Thing comes out and they’re all sreaming and trying to get away, but can’t.

      1. Fucking Windows, that idiot. I’ll never forgive him for that shit.

      2. i was a kid and it seriously fucked me up too. How bad? It fucked me up so bad that when i was going to sleep that night i actually prayed that there was no such thing as an alien that bad. The ceiling sort of glowed, and i saw God’s face, and he said “It’s a fucking movie, get over it.”

  7. I liked this better the first time I didn’t see it, when it was called Whiteout.

  8. Is there also going to be a “The Blob” remake ?

  9. Is there also going to be a “The Blob” remake ?

    1. There was in the 80’s so I guess it’s time.

  10. I thought this was going to be about Ron Paul’s fake eyebrow.

  11. obligatory The Things short story.

  12. This latest version of The Thing raises one immediate question: Why?

    Because the long tail of the awesomeness which is John Carpenters “the Thing” has ceased to bring in the revenues that the studio wants from its intellectual property.

    I for one do not mind this sort of profit mongering.

    For example the superior dangerous liaisons staring John Malcovich is not diminished by the inferior though still enjoyable more recent adaption…plus it exposes a younger audience whom may never other wise see the original.

    I hear every year people put Shakespeare plays…and they even often change them or “update” them.

    This is not a bad thing.

  13. Can they somehow get Wilfred Brimley in the picture? I would watch it just for that.

    1. “Hi. This is Wilford Brimley. Welcome to Retardation: A Celebration. Now, hopefully with this book, I’m gonna dispel a few myths, a few rumors. First off, the retarded don’t rule the night. They don’t rule it. Nobody does. And they don’t run in packs. And while they may not be as strong as apes, don’t lock eyes with ’em, don’t do it. Puts ’em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming ‘no, no, no’ and all they hear is ‘who wants cake?’ Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.”

      1. Hey, Brimley played Smith in Remo Williams. Which means he ran the Destroyer. That’s not bad.

        1. I really liked him as Blair in The Thing. I thought he did a great job.

          1. Yep.

          2. Anyone else have a major problem with him putting that pencil eraser to his lips after touching the burned Thing? Biggest grossout in the movie for me.

        2. He does a surprisingly good turn as a tough guy. as Smith in Remo, Blair, or as the “security” guy for that law firm that Tom Cruise used to work for.

          1. He was pretty good in Absense of Malice, too.

            1. That’s a very underrated movie. Still very topical, too.

              1. I’ve said previously that it’s almost a stealth libertarian movie. A DA who’s totally abusive with his powers trying to fuck over an honest businessman?

  14. On the plus side, “Footloose” will have some actual dancers in it this time.

    1. Yeah, but contemporary music? Ick.

  15. Gentlemen, gentlemen – the best scene in the 1982 version is CLEARLY the scene where the head rolls on to the ground, and then grows spider legs and runs away.

    That may in fact be the greatest scene in film history.

    BTW, OT: This case makes me take back all that anti-death-penalty stuff I said the other day:…..picks=true

    What’s that you say? No one is facing death in this case? Too bad.



        What movie is this?

        1. Lifeforce.

          Other than naked female space vampire it’s not too good.

          1. Aw come on dude. The ruin of London is great.

            What’s next for London? “Sterilization by thermonuclear device.” Classic.

            The scene where the Prime Minister calls his secretary behind the screen and WHAM! sucks out her soul? Classic. Also hysterical.

            1. It has its moments, but Tobe Hooper just isn’t the right director for this kind of thing. I’m not saying it’s bad; it just fails to come together properly. And I blame Tobe because it was written by Dan O’Bannon.

              When you have Alien, Return of the Living Dead, and Total Recall under your belt, you probably did an OK job.

              1. I think the film isn’t well edited in the 2nd act, but that kind of flaw is usually the result of studio interference.

                It just feels like there was supposed to be extra material right before they show you the first “alternate body” the girl has jumped into that was cut for some reason. There’s a very jarring story cut there that just feels like someone got a “Shorten this film!” note. But other than that, I think it works very well.

                1. It is the editing and story continuity that are my greatest complaints, so you may well be right.

              2. When you have Alien, Return of the Living Dead, and Total Recall under your belt, you probably did an OK job.

                You leave off Dark Star? Heathen.

                1. “You leave off Dark Star? Heathen.”

                  In terms of quality to budget ratio, one of the best movies ever made.

            2. I’ve read the novel, the straight-forwardly titled The Space Vampires. All of Colin Wilson’s books are pretty cracked, in the best way.

              Wilson hated Lifeforce as an adaptation, but was all right to me. Hubba-hubba.

          2. Nooo. That movie has some great moments. And the whole freaky zombie energy sucking stuff was creepy. All that in addition to the naked female space vampire puts it well over the top.

          3. “Other than naked female space vampire it’s not too good.”


            1. It insists upon itself.

          4. oh yeah – the ultimate man movie… explosions! breasts! zombies! breasts!

        2. The Urkobold has become confused and is thinking of the movie Lifeforce.

          It’s understandable. Often I will be walking down the street, or driving in the car, or riding in an elevator, and I too will forget myself and linger in my memory over the greatness that is Lifeforce.

          Once while stupidly attending an opening day showing of Land of the Dead I successfully hyponotized myself into seeing an entire reel of Lifeforce rather than the atrocity that was before my eyes.

          1. Caine follows Carlsen and dispatches the second male vampire (with the lead sword, obtained from Fallada, who Caine had to kill due to becoming infected as with the others at the research centre) before locating Carlsen who sacrifices himself by impaling himself and the female alien in the process. Wounded but not fatally, the female vampire returns to her ship, releasing a burst of energy that blasts the top off the church building in the process and taking Carlsen with her. The two ascend up the column of light to the vessel, which then departs towards the comet it came from.

            Why the fuck can’t I remember this movie clearly?!?!?

            1. Aw man, now I have to watch this again, because you just made me remember the shot where Fallada has been talking about getting to see the afterlife, and Caine guts him with the sword, and he says, “Here I go!” and then explodes.


      2. Also:


  16. Does anybody subscribed to the hyper-insane* theory that The Thing was the earliest pop-culture reference to the AIDS pandemic?

    *In that production of the movie started before the original GRID studies were published.

    1. The novella which it follows extremely closely was published in 1938.

      So no.

      1. John Campbell, who gave the world many fine science fiction writers.

      2. Well, the 1982 version was definitely not an intentional allegory for AIDS, but I can see how in the years afterward viewers could have drawn connections between the two.*

        *By the way, I way to young to know about the earliest years of the AIDS pandemic first-hand, but was there really as much paranoia for the disease as has been taught to people like me?

        1. You should probably ask a gay guy who was in his 20s or 30s in the 80s about that. The gay community was where the real damage was being done.

          1. There are plenty of gay survivors. A generation of hemophiliacs was totally wiped out.

        2. Yeah, it was to a large extent. I had friends who would never use public restrooms b/c they thought sitting on the seat might give you AIDS (of course, I do my best to avoid sitting in public restrooms in Penn Station anyway) & others who were afraid to talk to kids with HIV b/c they thought they might catch it through the air.

          Bad science/medicine, but real fear. Of course, some members of the government didn’t help matters by declaring that possibly 25% of the population would die if we didn’t find a cure.

        3. being a child of the 70s, AIDS paranoia was pretty rampant during my teenage 80s.

  17. BTW –

    I may see this just because in the commercial the girl with the flamethrower looks hot.

    I would watch an entire movie just of that girl torching shit with the flame thrower.

    You know – walking down the street, GTS style. Mailbox – WHOOOSH. Parked car – WHOOOSH. Occupy Wall Street encampment – WHOOOSH.

    Yeah. Very hot.

    1. Yeah, Fluffy, like Linda Hamilton locking and loading in T2. MMMmmmmm.

    2. Mira Sorvino in “The Replacement Killers” in a v. tight, v. short skirt, standing beside Chow Yun-Fat.

  18. Request: someone please review the Footloose remake. I want to hear in detail how awful it is and I want the movie snobs around here to have something to ragerant about.

    1. With all due respect…it would be impossible to produce a remake worse then the original.

      1. What on earth are you talking about? The Kevin Bacon Footloose is one of the greatest achievements in film history. The scene where he angry dances through the warehouse? John Lithgow being all Super Serial? The farm boy-learning-to-dance montage? Show me a better montage, I dare you.

        1. Dude I can name at least 10 other better montages staring Kevin Bacon let alone in the whole montage universe….

          Fuck man I can find at least 3 in Quicksilver that are better. 2 in the first 30 min.

          1. I hope you’re damning with faint praise, because I hate bike messengers (living in NYC will do that to you), and Quicksilver made me hate them even more. Fuck, that movie sucked.

            1. How about American Flyers or Breaking away?

              Is it bike messenger movies or bike movies that get to you?

              1. It’s Quicksilver that gets to me.

            2. What on earth are you talking about? The Kevin Bacon Footloose is one of the greatest achievements in film history.

              I beg your pardon, but that achievement rests with Road House.

              1. I think she lives in the alternate universe inhabited by those with XX chromosomes, a strange and not very believable universe where “Footloose” doesn’t totally suck.

          2. Why did I not know about Quicksilver?

            I do appreciate that you have an appropriate level of respect for montages.

            1. (Dagny runs to update Netflix queue)

              1. Just so. That shit has a bicycle dance scene. Bicycle! Dance! Scene!

                1. You’ve been warned, so it’s on your head now when you hate it.

                  IT’S ANGSTY.

                2. Meh. Gene Kelly did a dance scene on roller skates. He even danced with a fucking animated mouse.

            2. There are no better montages than the three in Real Genius.

              I HAVE SPOKEN.

              1. There’s the “study and work on the laser super hard” one, the “we have to sneak into the army base” one, and then what’s the third one?

                1. There is the early montage of him going to his classes. It includes the running gag of the class that no one shows up for and only tapes, then the professor is also on tape.

                2. Isn’t there a “general college life and pranks” one, intermittently cut with shots of the guy disappearing into the door in the back of the closet?

                  1. Yes, yes, now I remember. That one and “work on the laser super hard” blended together for me.

              2. I saw Real Genius and it sucked.

                1. Dude.


                  It’s your only way out.

                2. hmmm….the ignore button on reasonable seems like my only recourse

            3. The only watchable Bacon movie was Tremors. And Real Genius was Kilmer’s magnum opus.

              1. The only watchable Bacon movie was Tremors.

                Hollowman, while not very good, had a nekkid rhona mitra. I would say that makes it very watchable.

          3. Bacon? Come, it’s Animal House.

    2. Here is Ebert’s take…../111019994

      1. I always find it fascinating that the man who wrote the screenplay to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is considered an authority on movie criticism.

        1. What are you talking about? BTVOTD was awesome.

          And Ebert is a Russ Meyer fan, which makes him all right in my book.

    3. Here ye be:…..ifier=2362

      You couldn’t pay me to see Footloose – the remake or the original.

      1. I would go for the lulz. But then, I went to the Britney Spears movie Crossroads so I guess I have a slight cinema-related masochistic streak.

        1. I would point at you and laugh, but I’ve seen all three Twilight movies. Granted, it was at the behest of my 11-year-old daughter, but no matter how good your excuse, you come away from something like that feeling like less of a man. Less human, even, as though a small part of you died in the theater.

          1. Ouch. I will watch the chickiest of chick flicks and when attempting Twilight at the insistence of my sister (who’s in her mid-twenties. At least your daughter has an excuse.), I only got through about the first 45 minutes of the first one. It’s not even fun sucky.

            1. I have seen all three. With no one prompting me. I watch many things just so I can make fun of them more accurately and cruelly. Damn, those things hurt to watch.

              1. As someone who does the same for Michael Bay, Uwe Boll, and Roland Emmerich films: Twilight is a bridge too far.

                1. Yeah, but with Michael Bay films at least, you can say you were at least taken in by the effects. Not so with Twilight 🙂

              2. You sound like Mark Walberg in The Other Guys, when he took dance classes at RISD so that he could better make fun of the dancers he picked on as a kid 😉

          2. I saw the second only, because my wife loves the stories, and I didn’t care for it. At all.

        2. I love how they solved the teenage-pregnancy dilemma in Crossroads by having the character fall down some stairs.

          All the pathos of unborn child death, none of the controversy of abortion.

      2. You could pay me. I’ll take $100,000 cash. All $20s, and I want random serial numbers.

  19. This will actually be the first new movie I’ll see in a theater since Star Trek in 2009. The only movies I’ll pretty much go out and see anymore are classics in the old vintage theaters that we’ve presrved around town.

  20. A test is devised to sort out those who are still human.

    This idea is so important to the Carpenter version, stealing it for something that’s supposed to not be a remake is just shitty.

    It’s different people in the same situation, so give them a different narrative place in it. Carpenter’s characters know there’s a “thing” and they figure out how it works and try to figure out who’s been worked on by it, because they can’t escape it. So, don’t do any of that.

    The Norwegians should not know what’s happening (give the movie a “thing” POV, like if Hitchcock made it, so the audience knows everything and the characters they’re supposed to care about are sympathetically doomed) except that the ice block is startlingly empty, so they panic-run from that. And they die.

    Have just the last two figure out what’s up?like, the guy who brought the dog along is a “thing” and he’s accidentally killed, reveals his true nature in dying, and casts suspicion on the dog that nuzzled on him all along?so the dog runs from the last two Norwegians who maybe kinda start to understand how bad the situation is, and?

    Beginning of Carpenter’s movie.


    1. This is what I had been hoping they were going to do. It seemed so obviously the way to go. Oh well.

      1. I was hoping they’d go a route where the Norwegians were 100 times more competent and organized than the fuckup American squad –

        – and they’ve got the Thing beat cold, have wiped it out, and are chasing down the last infected dog –

        – and then those American dumbasses destroy the world to save a fucking German Shepherd.

        1. How could that have been portrayed as competent when the dumbasses blew up their own helicopter?

          1. I guess I’m remembering it wrong. I thought the copter went down when the Americans interfered?

            1. No, the Norwegian accidentally threw a grenade in his own chopper.

              Your idea can’t work because Carpenter portrays the Norwegians as out of their minds with fear and therefore making deadly mistakes.

              Then Garry shoots him in the face.

              1. Wow, my bad.

                I completely changed those events in the copy of the movie in my memory.

                1. So you had an impostor copy that was almost, but not quite, exactly like the original?

                  1. Yes.

                    And now it’s changing other movies slightly, too, at a rate that means all original movies will be gone in X + 1154 hours.

        2. being Norwegians, a-ha should show up, singing Take on Me.

  21. I’m NOT an alien!

  22. The Godzilla remake with Matthew-Jessica Broderick was also AWFUL.
    The helicopters couldn’t go up to avoid Godzilla?

    1. I was by Roland Emmerich. What did you expect?

      1. I was in my early 20s and didn’t know better?

      2. I was in my early 20s and didn’t know better?

        1. What’s your excuse for double posting?

  23. anytime kurt loder slags a movie, it just means it’s that fucking awesome. if you look at all his reviews he’s the “total pansy”. if there isn’t talk about menstruation and guys hugging each other, loder gives it two thumbs down.

    1. I like your style.

  24. The film benefits from the presence of Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the lead role of Kate Lloyd, a paleontologist recruited by a Norwegian scientist (Ulrich Thomsen) to examine his curious “specimen”.

    Infinitely better when the Norwegian scientist turns in to Ron Jeremy.

    1. Then it’d be called “THAT Thing.”

  25. I’m still waiting for the remake of Logan’s Run

    1. It’s called ‘time’ has the Timberlake kid in it…out soon?, Now?

  26. I think you could count on one hand the number of directors who have had a run as good as John Carpenter had from Assault on Precinct 13 through They Live. The quality goes up and down, but the only real dud in that period was Prince of Darkness, and four of five of them are masterpieces.

    1. You nailed the run exactly, Tim. Though there will be some who insist you include Dark Star in there.

      1. Dark Star, while having a great ending, was one of the most boring films I have ever seen. He was right to leave it out. There’s like 3 straight minutes of a guy trimming his facial hair.

  27. Liked the John Carpenter film.

  28. Speaking of films, you guys need to see ‘The Trpll Hunter’.

    Trolls are the new zombies.

  29. Er, The Troll Hunter

    1. I guess you need HP Lovecraft to revise your internet comments…

      (Okay, okay, that was Hazel Heald)

  30. For liberal viewers, “The Thing” subconsciously captures their view of what happens to people who they used to like who become libertarians.

    Or something.

    It’s not really about aliens at all.

    1. Look at that still. If he’d just applied the paddles to the chest like he should’ve, had would’ve been fine.

  31. I just can’t wait for that remake of The Wild Bunch that is in the works!

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  35. Kurt Loder’s just still bitter because Tabitha Soren wouldn’t spread her legs for him back at MTV. I just saw the movie and thought it was f*cking great!

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