The Thing Musical

Worried about the upcoming remake/prequel of The Thing (1982)?

Then check out this Frank Sinatra remix of the original.

I like the first YouTube comment visible under the video:

“My god… It can even imitate Sinatra!”

Music, lyrics and video editing are by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan.

> More on John Carpenter’s The Thing and the 2011 remake/prequel/whatever
> Jon and Al Kaplan

Behind The Scenes

The Making of The Thing

With a prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing in the works, a 1982 making-of documentary is a reminder of the raw terror of the original.

Although critically reviled and a box office flop when it first came out, the film still endures as one of the best sci-fi horrorsof the 1980s.

Carpenter’s direction, Rob Bottin‘s special effects make up, the ensemble performances, Dean Cundey‘s visuals and Ennio Morricone‘s chilling score are just some of the elements that combine brilliantly.

This making of video from the time depicts the gruelling shoot in British Columbia:

The negative reactions when it first opened were unfortunate, but also part of the reason why the film has endured over the years: unlike a lot of horror films, it is genuinely horrifying.

The central premise of scientists coming across an alien in the Artic was adapted from both the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, and the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. which inspired it.

But Carpenter goes much further, turning the Cold War fears of the original into something darker and more primal.

Not only is the Arctic setting claustrophobic and lonely, it plays on the paranoia of a group confronted by something they cannot comprehend.

This is also true of the audience as try to get a grip on what the Thing actually is.

Most aliens and monsters are vaguely humanoid but the Thing is such an uniquely revolting villain precisely because it is genuinely ‘other’.

As a shape-shifting parasite it is also doubly unnerving as it can be anyone at any time.

After watching it – yes, this is a spoiler warning – check out this IMDb FAQ and you will see some tantalising ambiguities in the story (my favourite being ‘Was Blair assimilated?’) which add to the mysteries on screen.

Back in 2008 Carpenter did a video introduction before a 70mm screening of the film in Bradford and described his approach to the film and why it upset people at the time.

It is rare that films flop because they are too successful at what they do, but The Thing is one of them.

> The Thing at the IMDb
> Outpost 31 – A fan site for The Thing
> Buy The Thing on Blu-ray or DVD at Amazon UK


Fear on Film Roundtable Discussion

In 1982 John Landis, John Carpenter and David Cronenberg sat down for a roundtable discussion about horror.

Hosted by Mick Garris, the 26-minute talk was originally created for Universal Studios as a promotional tool, as all three directors had projects there at the time.

Landis was coming off An American Werewolf in London, Carpenter was about to release The Thing and Cronenberg was making Videodrome.

They talk about which horror films inspired them, censorship issues, whether horror films are harmful, special effects, test screenings and re-shoots.

It is unusual to see three directors sit down for a discussion of this kind, especially when they all had horror films out at roughly the same time.

Watch it in three parts:

> John LandisJohn Carpenter and David Cronenberg at Wikipedia
> An American Werewolf in London, The Thing and Videodrome at the IMDb


John Carpenter on Horror

An interesting video of director John Carpenter discussing horror films, with particular reference to The Thing.

The Daily Video

The Daily Video: The Thing – Sweded Version

A sweded version of John Carpenter‘s The Thing.

> The Thing at the IMDb
> More sweded films