The Thing


Justus Brocka, Journalist

The Thing has two iterations, “The Thing From Another World” from 1951 and the remake “The Thing” directed by John Carpenter from 1982 (the remake also has a 2011 prequel, I haven’t seen the 1951 movie or the prequel so this review is just for 1982). Interestingly when it first came out it was hated by critics. For example, Vincent Canby, a movie critic for the New York Times said, “foolish, depressing with its actors used merely as props to be hacked, slashed, disemboweled and decapitated, finally to be eaten and then regurgitated […] it is too phony to be disgusting. It qualifies only as instant junk”. I found out about how hated it originally was after watching the movie. It made me wonder why I thought it was a pretty good movie. The Thing came out shortly after E.T. which is the exact opposite of The Thing. While E.T. is light and cheerful, The Thing is dark and terrifying. The movies were both alien movies so people didn’t expect The Thing to be so different (which is surprising, The Thing when it was released had an R rating while E.T. had a PG rating). The Thing is truly a good movie despite its reception when it was first released. The special effects hold up today, and the props are really good. Looking into it and thinking about it Among Us seems to have been heavily inspired by The Thing. A crew in an isolated area (space or in The Thing’s case The Arctic) has to find and kill a creature that can look like any member of the crew and is picking off the crew one by one. The imposter or thing can’t be killed by just shooting it or stabbing it, in The Thing to kill one it has to be burned internally. That’s why in Among Us more permanent measures are taken, like being thrown out of an airlock or into a lava pit. The one difference is that when the thing kills someone they are now a thing as well. The thing plays well into the paranoia the scientists at the base are feeling, even giving the viewer the same uncertainty on who’s human and who’s not. Towards the beginning of the movie, we see the thing infect someone but we just see their silhouette, except the silhouette wasn’t any of the actual actors who played any other character so no one could figure out who the silhouette is their first time watching the movie. Even the actors weren’t told if they were the thing until shortly before the scene where it was revealed was filmed. The ending leaves off on a cliffhanger that you have to read the sequel comics to find out what happens next (it’s not necessary though and I haven’t yet). The thing hinges on the fear that all people have (whether they truly realize it or not) of becoming something other than human. The Thing overall is a good movie that definitely deserves its R rating. I’d give it a 10/10.