Monday, October 24, 2011

THE THING Then and Now

Back-to-back weekends going to the movies, I'm getting summer flashbacks. This past summer it seemed like every week I was taking my wife and son to a big movie. This time I flew solo and saw the prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 classic, THE THING. Both movies share the same title and the creators of the new one did a great job making sure their film matched Carpenter's movie. As we all know, THE THING (both the 2011 and 1982 films) concern a group of researchers in Antarctica battling a shapeshifting alien than absorbs the creature it mimics. In the 1982 film it is a group of Americans who stumble upon the alien (in the form of a dog) after it escapes a Norwegian research camp it just destroyed. The 2011 film concerns the Norwegians (with a sprinkle of Americans in there).

The film makers of the 2011 movie had the right tone with the suspense, look of the film, and the actors did a credible job. I was also impressed that the little snippets we saw in the Carpenter film about what had happened in the Norwegian camp became plot points in the prequel. I rewatched the older movie yesterday and I was like, "ah, they included that as well."

Unfortunately, the new movie has not done well at the box office, only taking in $14 million thus far. The 1982 film only grossed $19 million, but the true classic scifi/horror pics are rarely box office successes early on. They usually gain a following much after. Consider that in 1982, both BLADE RUNNER and THE ROAD WARRIOR were released and made less than $30 million.

I don't know if the new THE THING will fall into that category, but it's a movie I definitely look forward to see again.

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