The Thing

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it was the film's one gesture in the direction of utopian science fiction: a world where Mac kills Windows ?

(i'll get me coat)

Snowy Mann, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 16:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

uggghhhhh

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 16:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

Would it be too many xposts for me to reply to mark s with "No, there was also a pred ship?"

Ad hom . . . in em's cock? (Phil D.), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 17:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

"pred"?

mark s, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 17:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

don't ask

satisfying punishment for that thing he said about lesbians (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 17:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

to catch a pred(ship)

Puff Daddy, whoever the fuck you are. I am dissapoint. (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 17:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

so lemme get this straight, a "prequel" with the *same name* as the previous film... has this been done before?

Ask The Answer Man (sexyDancer), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 18:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

for some (swedo-norwegian) reason i have totally got it mixed up in my head with the remake of tinker tailor soldier spy

mark s, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 18:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 14:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

The thing is an "exact copy" in that it is not visually different from the original, but clearly the thing has different motives. Hence the test. Childs may not know if he's a thing or not, but the thing that's part of him sure does. It wants to survive above all else, so that's why the test works. Now, what the alien's motives are beyond survival are never mentioned. It's like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" - they take over earth ... and then what?

Plus, really, in the end none of the characters know anything about the thing. They're just quickly adapting under stressful conditions. The Thing and us ... we are the same!

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 25 August 2011 14:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

maybe it doesn't want to take over the earth but just wants to be left in peace so it can finally build that spaceship out of helicopter parts and not be INTERRUPTED all the GODDAMN TIME and get the hell off this stupid planet

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

I have somehow never seen this movie

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think you need to question a few things abt yr life then

just sayin, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

The thing is an "exact copy" in that it is not visually different from the original, but clearly the thing has different motives.

ha i thought you were talking about the movie versions here

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

Cell by cell the Thing has different motives, but does it have its own "humanscale" consciousness? The Norris-Bennings "puppetshow" scene is interesting in the sense that the larger part of the body on the autopsy table puts on an absurd diversionary show so that the smaller part -- the NorrisHeadSpider -- can creep away under the table, and perhaps escape. So is this liKe a wolf in a trap gnawing off its own leg? No: because the leg is also conscious. It's more like Gandalf holdng off the Balrog while the others flee: one Thing self-sacrificing to save another (even though they were just one "creature" beforehand).

And then of course Palmer -- himself also a Thing, albeit a stoned Thing -- dobs the NorrisHeadSpider in, and gets it fried. Suggesting that once the Thing is in DIFFERENT hosts, it no longer operates collectively. Is the Thingmind in Palmer being canny in some to us unreadable way? Or is it at the moment overriden by Palmer's consciousness? Or are different Things indifferent to one another's Host's well-being, since one cell is actually enough? Or are they perhaps even mutually hostile? Or mutually unaware, once in host bodies which lack sensory Thing-awareness.

The dog seemed to know the dogthing wasn't a dog. Why? Smell? Doggie racism (bloody Scando Huskies coming over here taking our Pedigree Chum...)

In Darwinian terms: How would a Thing even evolve? Would it evolve intelligence? Would it need to?

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

jeez i hadn't even twigged that Palmer was a Thing already in that scene.

i like those videos. quite a bit.

i had never considered that abstaining from a shared bottle of liquor could be considered an indication of human-ness, i.e. you don't want to risk infection. so maybe blair up in the shack wasn't infected (yet), but childs accepting the J&B might prove he already is infected, since he doesn't care about the possible contamination. it IS a little funny how the soundtrack starts up the ominous BUMP BUMPS the moment he takes a sip.

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

In the original story, the Thing has a degree of telepathic ability -- it can certainly broadcast into dreams, whether or not it can read. In this film, Blair at least leaps to various conclusions about what's going on WAY in advance of any the evidence. (Quite a lot of time passes -- it's set over several days, which isn't readily apparent -- so we obviously miss many agitated conversations, but even so, when Macready says "aliens", we have at least seen a flying saucer and encountered some very weird morphological shit; but when Blair says "this creature can imitate anything it wants, down to the cell level" -- or however he says it -- he is fronting.)

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

No reason to suppose the saucer-building alien is of the Thing's race: it might just be infected. The bugthing and the orchidthing presumably predate the saucerthing. Is the Thing a threat to "lower" lifeforms? There aren't any flies in the Antarctic (I seem to remember).

I actually think Carpenter sets up the final chat between Mac and Childs to be literally undecideable: I feel that formal story undecideability trumps clues here -- sometimes putting on a white fur coat is putting on a white fur coat, as Freud would say. But he's absolutely right you should be paying attention at that kind of level. (You always should: the wardrobe designer may be sending out a secret message-in-a-bottle...)

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

so he's either become Thing or has been thought-implanted by Thing. if it were the former, you'd think he'd keep schtum about the Thing's M.O. unless... unless Thingblair figures that if the men knew it could duplicate them, they'd turn on each other..

xpost ha you are saying that the bugthing and dogthing might have just hitched a ride on some other alien's craft?

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

no dogthing i am fairly confidenct came from the norwegian camp! we will have to wait for the premake to revolve that...

my "plausible" backstory is that the Thing is originally quite "primitive" organism in "great chain of being" terms: and perhaps evolved on a planet without too many -- large -- mobile animals. It can't -- or doesn't -- infect "down": otherwise bacteria in the air would carry it from person to person. So it starts as a fungus and gradually grows into a swamp-full of uglies, maybe on an isolated island. The aliens land in their nice saucer, pick some flowers and fly off -- gradually realise something is horribly amiss, and crash the saucer into Earth, but not before they're all Thingified.

The bug fits somewhere into this story. Maybe it was the ship's pet bug.

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

bug? orchid? I missed these...

satisfying punishment for that thing he said about lesbians (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

It depends on the subtlety of Thing intelligence: I feel it is aware and hyper-driven by a local, connected sense of survival, which is also intensely situational in the sense that is articulated "through" the intelligence of the copied body. So Thingblair may reason that if the "rest of" the Thing is identified and destroyed, it gets off unnoticed.

I don't think the Thing is very bright in itself. It hitches a ride on the intelligence it has to hand. Blairthing could think "I'm also the saucerthing! It could build a saucer out of stuff in this shed. I will bodyshift back." But dogthing could not think this.

It is not as bright as people.

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

The bug grows out of Norris's head -- also we see someone break off a buggish-looking leg at an earlier autopsy. The "orchid" is in the dog compound -- a sort of flowerhead that pokes out at MacReady, while the big talons are smashing through the roof. It's what jumpstarts him into frying it.

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

ah gotcha

satisfying punishment for that thing he said about lesbians (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

So many autopsies!

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

they're like the memories of lifeforms it's imitated in the past (on other planets?? or maybe the norwegian camp have a greener thumb than our ice jocks; in any case, those tentacles aren't native antarctic fauna)

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

omg the guy who discovered lake vostok just died three weeks ago!!

http://int.rgo.ru/news/andrey-kapitsa-dies-in-moscow/

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Its MO is funny, because it alternates between hiding as well as it's possible to imagine, and going BOO as chaotically as it's possible to imagine -- and the latter, though it's when we jump most, is actually when it's at its most vulnerable in some ways. Providing you're not frozen in fear, as poor old Windows is, and let yourself be actually bitten, it's not that strategic, or even quick, when it comes to growing effective mandibles. Tendrils is a plant's trick.

The final monster is BIG, and has some kind of turbo-tendril traction for speed -- not legs, though big snakes can move fast -- but its threat is primarily weight, and strength. I assume from its size it had gobbled Nauls also.

Grenades don't entirely strike me as a lasting solution: but maybe I have watched T2 too often.

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

PROF. ANDREI KAPITSA (Moscow State University): The best way to warm yourself up you eat butter. A pound of butter goes in you and suddenly you are warm again and everything is nice and it's like drinking a glass of vodka but much better.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2000/vostok_transcript.shtml

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's almost like at the moment of transformation it has to recapitulate all its prior transformations, sort of a "greatest hits" (play the old stuff first, then play the new stuff)

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

like the T-1000 in the molten steel at the end of Terminator 2

Kanye Borst (Kerm), Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

During transformation its "brain" is presumably quite basic: I think it's like a workman shuffling through all its tools to see which one will work, waiting for a kind of muscle-memory instinct to kick in: "It's slimy pistil time" -- but it only knows this when a bit of the pistil sort of quivers in readiness as it forms...

I am off to the pub now.

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

The "orchid" is in the dog compound -- a sort of flowerhead that pokes out at MacReady, while the big talons are smashing through the roof. It's what jumpstarts him into frying it.

An "orchid" made out of dog tongues with teeth running down the middle, no less:

Ad hom . . . in em's cock? (Phil D.), Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

that moment above was one of the 'HOLY FUCK' ones in this film - but i think the 'orchid thing' (itself in the same bracket) is just a wee bit earlier than that ?
it's when the dogthing's head first splits open, but the main body is still intact (albeit quickly punctured by spiny bug/crustacean legs)
- the head kind of 'peels back' into 4 flesh-petals, and a tentacle/tongue comes thrashing out from the neck cavity - the whole thing looks like a giant horrible orchid...

ref. the 'intelligence' - love the idea of it being a low-level lifeform 'hijacking' whatever is to hand - but i like how the dog, before we know it is a dogthing, is already acting in a sinisterly 'deliberate' way - e.g. that moment when it is peering intently through the window, as they return from the saucer investigation - and it gave me the impression that it was much cleverer than a normal dog.
('saucer-building activities hampered by lack of opposable thumbs - must temporarily grow some when no-one is looking')

Snowy Mann, Thursday, 25 August 2011 18:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

oops not 'saucer investigation' - 'visit to the norwegian camp'

Snowy Mann, Thursday, 25 August 2011 18:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

I actually always read the dog as being sort of confused and uncomfortable, like it knows something is wrong with it but can't articulate it ... because it's a dog. Sort of the way dogs bark at the weather.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 25 August 2011 18:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's almost like at the moment of transformation it has to recapitulate all its prior transformations, sort of a "greatest hits" (play the old stuff first, then play the new stuff)

In the making of documentary included on DVD, I recall Bottin mentioning that the final Thing incorporated elements of it's previous incarnations: dog parts, Blair head, etc.

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, 25 August 2011 18:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

Trivia from Bottin's Wikipedia page...

From there, Bottin's reputation grew when he again worked with Carpenter on The Thing. Bottin worked on The Thing seven days a week (including late nights) for a year and five weeks straight, making himself so ill in the process that John Carpenter had him admitted to a hospital when production was complete.[4]

Bottin also worked on the Star Wars cantina scene creatures.[5] He was, in fact, the tallest player in the Cantina band. He kept some of the masks from that scene in his private collection.

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, 25 August 2011 18:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

amazing thing abt bottin is how young he was when he did the howling and the thing, like 19 or 20

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 25 August 2011 20:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

iirc the dvd documentary is pretty interesting - carpenter smoking a cigarette - but v v static, just endless headshots speaking direct to camera.

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 25 August 2011 20:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

Trivia from Bottin's Wikipedia page...

From there, Bottin's reputation grew when he again worked with Carpenter on The Thing. Bottin worked on The Thing seven days a week (including late nights) for a year and five weeks straight, making himself so ill in the process that John Carpenter had him admitted to a hospital when production was complete.[4]
Bottin also worked on the Star Wars cantina scene creatures.[5] He was, in fact, the tallest player in the Cantina band. He kept some of the masks from that scene in his private collection.

― Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, August 25, 2011 2:25 PM (4 hours ago) Bookmark

yeah, im positive this is why bottin is semi-retired, along with the industry seachanges wrt practical effects. he put so much energy into every movie, and he's not so young anymore!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i_qxQztHRI (Princess TamTam), Thursday, 25 August 2011 22:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

pete baran's theory -- which i love but cannot endorse -- is that the Thing is an Actual Real Elder Shoggoth already on ancient Earth when the alien saucer crashed in the ice beside it, thawing it out. The alien/s were thrown clear and then Thingified. And etc. Hence why the bugs and the flowers are earth-ish, I guess.

mark s, Thursday, 25 August 2011 23:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

Want to say that Bottin is, like Savini, sort of in a behind the scenes advisor capacity. Greg Nicotero, however, flies the banner high for practical gore effects.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 26 August 2011 01:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 26 August 2011 01:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wow, Bottin did "The Howling,'' "The Thing," "Robocop," "Total Recall," "Se7en" and "Fight Club." Looks like he built up quite the relationship with Joe Dante (with whom he did five or so movies, plus Verhoeven. No credits on IMDB past, um, "Mr. Deeds," in 2002. What's up with that?

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 26 August 2011 01:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

like i said, he's basically retired

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i_qxQztHRI (Princess TamTam), Friday, 26 August 2011 01:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

you dont work on Serving Sara and get away clean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i_qxQztHRI (Princess TamTam), Friday, 26 August 2011 01:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 26 August 2011 01:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

Reading a couple of related interviews he seems more than retired. Like he totally dropped off the map.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 26 August 2011 01:22 (2 years ago) Permalink


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