The Thing

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re Thing intelligence and what sort it is: i like to imagine that Things in their native environment are actually quite fastidious and genteel, and that back on Thingworld there is an elaborately ritualized form of Thing-on-Thing sex that Earth conditions make impossible (for whatever reason)

which explains the instinct to get the hell off our godforsaken planet, and get back to where the Thingin is good

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 26 March 2012 09:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

I prefer to imagine Thing planet as full of hilarious body horror japes - voluntary autodecapitation, head running off on spider legs, etc.

ledge, Monday, 26 March 2012 09:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

Taking the "jacket on back of chair" to next level by having your body actually stay in work while your head is down the pub.

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 26 March 2012 11:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

only needs one orchid-tingue head-spider to get hammered and the whole hivemind has a hangover

"there is no i in thing" <-- tagline for the high-concept horror-comedy based on this insight

mark s, Monday, 26 March 2012 12:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think of the Thing as viral. That is, survival is paramount. It exists to exist. I'm not sure the Thing has any motivation other than survival.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 26 March 2012 13:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

Alternatively: we are all the Thing!

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 26 March 2012 13:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

Makes you think. (Thingk).

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 26 March 2012 13:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

Another thingk coming.

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 26 March 2012 14:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

what would be the difference, between that world and this one? (presuming that beyond this limit-point no further trade-ups are possible/desirable)

yeah, to my mind, that's the interesting question. greg bear asks it in his novel blood music: if everyone were infected and transformed, and happy about it, still in some sense "themselves", then would that be so bad?

Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Monday, 26 March 2012 16:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

in some sense "themselves"

these four words doing a lot of work here

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 26 March 2012 16:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

troo

Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Monday, 26 March 2012 16:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

but that's the question, innit? what are we but what we think we are? and aren't we always engaged in a process of transformation, anyway? you can never step into the same river twice, etc.

yes, i know, "makes u think"

Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Monday, 26 March 2012 16:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

"makes u thingk"

PSOD (Ste), Monday, 26 March 2012 17:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

what are we but what we think we are?

it's definitely subtextual (and this is not an original take) but always took the horror of The Thing to be precisely the possibility that we aren't who we think we are, and that the movie dramatizes an ultimately futile quest to distinguish Ego from Other (or that the Ego is always already infected and inhabited by the Other), etc....the real protagonist is then the Thing itself because that's the drama we all face, having to "pass," to fake it, to have no identity but pursue one. that's what i thingk anyway.

ryan, Monday, 26 March 2012 17:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

someone should write an academic treatise on this very phenomenon: on "thingking"

ryan, Monday, 26 March 2012 17:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 26 March 2012 19:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, to my mind, that's the interesting question. greg bear asks it in his novel blood music: if everyone were infected and transformed, and happy about it, still in some sense "themselves", then would that be so bad?

See also the original novel and the first 2 film versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers--once the pod people take over, they just go about their normal lives, 'happy' to be emotionally dialled-down group-thinkers

Not only dermatologists hate her (James Morrison), Monday, 26 March 2012 23:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

saw this tonight...first half hour I was like, "eh, maybe it won't be as bad as I thought" and then it just turned into SCREE!alien!flamethrower!SCREE!alien!grenade!flamethrower-flamethrower!SCREEEEEEEE for like, ever.

jjjusten pretty much nailed it upthread. My feeling is that the whole point of the original Carpenter movie was the characters' reactions TO the alien. Like, actually developing some of the characters to show their personalities under stress etc etc. In the remake they had like, what, TEN plus people in that research station and I didn't give a hoot about any of them, including fake Uncle Owen.
I think that's what bugged me the most, is that it was like the worst kind of sci-fi to me, where whoever's making it thinks it's all about the creatures and the spaceships and for the most part it's the people in these movies and stories that make the creatures/spaceships memorable. I'd be curious to see Ronald D Moore's version of the screenplay.

and it made the same stupid mistake that Super 8 made in its shonky ending. I DON'T WANT TO SEE INSIDE THE SHIP if you don't know how to end the bloody movie. That's not an exciting thing that needs to happen if the story's pretty much over with. It's like, "uh guys we've still got 20 minutes of movie left to fill in, whaddya wanna do? I dunno. Show em inside the ship maybe?" So dumb.

The only thing I liked was the closing credits where they recreated the helicopter scene from the Carpenter original.
And the music was pretty good I thought.

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 9 April 2012 07:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

agree on all counts, except that i didn't really hate it. just half dug it for a while, then started to roll my eyes and tune out as it slid off the ledge into SCREE!alien!flamethrower!SCREE! all of the characters were dull, two-diminesional and poorly motivated, including the creature itself. disagree abt the music, though. found it very distracting and inappropriate. especially jarring when they switched to carpenter-style minimalist thingmusic for the end credit linking scenes. i mean, i liked that music, but it made me wonder why they'd gone for the orchestral glop earlier.

preternatural concepts concerning variances in sound and texture (contenderizer), Monday, 9 April 2012 07:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure the Thing has any motivation other than survival.

As opposed to all the other species out there...

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Monday, 9 April 2012 15:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

I keep wondering if the Thing reproduces sexually or by some kind of parasitic host takeover or are the taken-over hosts just programmed to destroy/self-destruct?

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Monday, 9 April 2012 15:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost yeah contenderizer despite my ranting I didn't really HATE it, but it got really boring really quickly.

but I also don't want to be placated by the fact that it didn't out-and-out suck. Mediocrity is still unacceptable, lol.

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 9 April 2012 15:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

Problem with genre entertainment as a whole; too easy to focus on the genre trappings as those are the lowest hanging fruit and either miss or not care about characters or dialogue or plot or anything you can have an actual emotional connection to.

It's one of the reasons why I get irritated over friends online or elsewhere gushing about some upcoming flick cuz its got spaceships or superheroes or some shit in it.

Not that I'm substantially less gullible or susceptible to genre stuff(I'd get a kick out of someone doing a cyberpunk genre exercise or something), but by only going off the most superficial details means you can't tell the difference between, say, Brett Ratner's Xmen 3 and First Class, or even the 2nd Xmen flick.

Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Monday, 9 April 2012 15:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

you are so otm with all of what you just said, kingfish

I will *double* otm you :)

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 9 April 2012 16:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

"uh guys we've still got 20 minutes of movie left to fill in, whaddya wanna do? I dunno. Show em inside the ship maybe?" So dumb.

Didn't this start with the re-release/re-edited Close Encounters: The Special Edition?

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 01:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

I haven't seen that version. Tell me they did not do that.

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 01:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

They did, but I want to say Spielberg considers it a mistake, like the walkie-talkie for guns swap and CGI E.T. in "E.T." He still did it, though.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 01:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, he did it under studio pressure because he was never happy with the film as released, and wanted to do some additional editing. His preferred cut is kind of a weird hybrid of the original and "special edition" edits minus the inside-the-ship stuff.

Frank Youngenstein (Phil D.), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 02:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

yuk

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 02:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's weird that he dissatisfied with the original cut/version/whatever. it was critically lauded and hugely popular at the time, certainly one of my favorite spielberg films.

preternatural concepts concerning variances in sound and texture (contenderizer), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 03:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

I know, mine too!

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 03:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

the dvd/blu-ray has all of the various cuts btw so it's not like a star wars scenario

I cannot host as my wife hates Walker (latebloomer), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 03:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, ET, too, has both versions on it.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 03:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think we have an old dvd editon, never upgraded to a blu-version

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 03:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

if you have the older dvd, then it's probably Spielberg's hybrid cut, which is pretty close to the original cut with some of the special edition scenes spliced in (minus the "inside the ship" scene).

iirc before the movie was on dvd the only version available for many years was the special edition.

I cannot host as my wife hates Walker (latebloomer), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 03:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

and it made the same stupid mistake that Super 8 made in its shonky ending. I DON'T WANT TO SEE INSIDE THE SHIP if you don't know how to end the bloody movie. That's not an exciting thing that needs to happen if the story's pretty much over with. It's like, "uh guys we've still got 20 minutes of movie left to fill in, whaddya wanna do? I dunno. Show em inside the ship maybe?" So dumb.

I don't quite get this...? Super 8 never showed us the inside of the ship (since SPOILER! SPOILER! it literally ended with the ship being put together and flying away). The alien itself was only properly shown in the finale though, but that was necessary to establish the connection between it and the kid (since SPOILER! the big theme in the movie was forgiveness, and the connection between helped the alien to forgive the human race and move on), because in the end Super 8 wasn't a horror movie but an E.T. variation. I agree with your point in general, but I don't see how Super 8 is an example.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 07:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

the most unrealistic part of this movie is that MacReady would waste both good liquor and his only friend/source of entertainment in the opening. although maybe he has a huge stockpile of booze and back-up Chess Wizard computers in his shack, wouldn't put it past him.

have a sandwich or ice cream sandwich (Jordan), Thursday, 1 November 2012 15:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

childs is such a fascinating and singular character. definitely holding the place of the "#2" in the film and meant to be on par w/macready in strength and conviction and technically an ally in the "action film" sense but also spending much of the film diametrically opposed to macready and his theories. i recognize this stems from the crushing paranoia of the film but in probably most other hands childs would be macready's bff and would stand fast with him every step of the way, and also he'd probably die 2/3rds of the way in.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 8 January 2013 23:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

in most other movies childs would be the first guy killed why because he's black

Welcome to my world of proses (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 8 January 2013 23:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

Both black guys in this movie last until the final reel, which is kind of amazing. Not to mention that there are two black guys to begin with.

Gollum: "Hot, Ready and Smeagol!" (Phil D.), Tuesday, 8 January 2013 23:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

also two jittery dudes
two assholes
two paranoid scientists

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 8 January 2013 23:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

which is kind of amazing

it's def anamolous for the time

Welcome to my world of proses (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 8 January 2013 23:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

John Carpenter was always pretty good about giving prominent roles to women and non-white actors.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 8 January 2013 23:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

7 months pass...

did the 'stoned/ hippie-ish/ paranoid-conspiracy guy with messy hair invariably wearing denim and maybe headphones' stereotype begin with this film? seems that character is in loads of sci-fi films after; notably The Abyss, Minority Report, the Solaris remake etc. is there a word for this 'type'? there should be. they all have shades of Oddball from Kelly's Heroes i suppose.

piscesx, Wednesday, 4 September 2013 06:44 (11 months ago) Permalink

hiya

imagine Brigadoons (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 4 September 2013 08:41 (11 months ago) Permalink

Silent Running is from 1972

what's up ugly girls? (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 4 September 2013 15:45 (11 months ago) Permalink

The Crying of Lot 49 and the Illuminatus! trilogy are the literary antecedents, but I think Patient Zero for this is post-JFK assassination Lenny Bruce

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 4 September 2013 20:49 (11 months ago) Permalink

those aren't really film referents

what's up ugly girls? (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 4 September 2013 20:54 (11 months ago) Permalink

there was a solid Thing reference in the crossword i did today

festival culture (Jordan), Wednesday, 4 September 2013 21:15 (11 months ago) Permalink


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