The Thing

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i just read anne billson's little bfi book abt this utterly terrific movie

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

john carpenter's i mean, not howard hawkses: new "you've got to be fucking kidding!!" answers

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

haha the biologist who goes crazy and builds a spaceship in a cave in the ice = called BLAIR do you SEE?

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"it's clobberin' time!"

jel --, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I wasn't entirely convinced by it.

i) how many Antartic research bases have flamethrowers and automatic weapons lying around?

ii) how come their base seems to have normal 24 hour days, despite being below the Antartic circle?

DV, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Sometime in 82 I went to the NFT to attend a John Carpenter/Guardian lecture. For some reason Carpenter had to drop out at the very last second, so instead he sent over a print of his just-completed new movie, 'the Thing'. It was an amazing experience to watch this film without any kind of prior knowledge - the incredible escalation of paranoia and isolation, plus Rob Bottin's mindblowing gore effects, which to my mind have never really been surpassed (so sad that CGI has now totally replaced the kind of mechanical effects that can be staged in front of a camera, in real time...)

The blood test scene is one of the greatest movie moments ever; terrific Morricone score (mostly electronic, IIRC, something of a rarity and an obv. trib to Carpenter); even Kurt Russell doing his Clint schtick was OK (I love the moment when he pours whiskey into his computer!) Plus a really sharp script by Burt Lancaster's son!

I used to really like Anne Bilson's film reviews in Time Out, although sadly her vampire nov was a bit rub. Still I think I'd like to read this too. What a great, great flick.

Andrew L, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

DV, Mac at the start of the film says "First week of winter" = presumably the seasons are just changing, hence the day is poised between 24 hours of light (midsummer) and 24 hours of dark (midwinter) => plausible

they need pistols and flamethrowers in case the norwegians invade (when amundsen landed in "scott"s sphere of operations" in 1911, there was serious if brief discussion of the possibility of invading the norwegian camp and disabling the amundsen exhibition = they had guns available, for stray polar bears?) (haha very stray: polar bears = arctic not anarctic) (and yeah, no flamethrowers) (but anyway don't the Carpenter lot soup up the flamethrower from some more ordinary oxy-acetylene torch gizmo?)

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

haha sorry DV i just realised how yr joke works

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

DVD commentary on the Thing is hilarious. Just get Russell and Carpenter together with some bouze and they will talk for hours.

The Thing is a masterful horror movie, which improves upon Hawks original by having a better monster (after all that giant carrot...) This body horror has never been bettered - the actual melting of people.....

Want to read this book. I want to read Quirke's Jaws book. I want to see more of these films with themed canapes and bouze afterwards.

Pete, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

haha sorry DV i just realised how yr joke works

ho ho, I didn't realise I was making a joke... I just can't stop being funny.

I agree with the points about mechanical rather than cgi effects. and there is a lot to like about the film.

it was slightly ruined for me by seeing it in a room with a load of sweaty horror fans, preceded by a documentary on Carpenter that had all the best bits in it. Which was annoying... I'd already heard about the "you gotta be fucking kidding" bit but had been at great pains not to spoil it for special friend Irene, and then the cockfarming documentary did it for me.

The Thing is still not as good as Assault On Precinct 13.

DV, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

DV's joke (version): "I found Night of the Living Dead unconvincing: no one wore shoes like that in 1968 in that part of America"

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

if you include when norris's thingified torso bites cooper's arms off *and* the blood tests, how many autopsies are there?

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Its this Thing.

Pete, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

the more i think abt it the bettah it is: among other things (hah!) it is an allegory of thread-life viz "us" vs the TROLL!! (who can mimic us by posting as us yet who if hangs round long enough just becomes one of us)

(the secret nagging question is: SO WHAT IF THE THING IMITATES US EXACTLY? If we are all turned into exact copies of ourselves, what has changed? "Go with the flow maan, resistance is futile... gooey tentacloid palps? bring em on!!")

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

i have to get this on DVD like NOW!! and watch it TONIGHT!!

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Hawkses original is great too though and a brilliant comparison text (as is the original short story Who Goes There). It treats the scientist trying to communicate with the big carrot as a madman - it is fantastically hawkish to use the current definition of that word.

Arctic circle is a grebt place to set a vampire film btw.

Pete, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

haha he IS a madman he has a polo-neck sweater

i read the story when i was like 12 and it *really really* spooked me (the monster is described, apparently dead, in the first para, oh no!! it has THREE EYES!! OH NO!!): in the bit where they do the blood test, mcready is testing 35 ppl!! carpenter cuts it down to a slightly less pedantic four, i think

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

See also: Doctor Who and the Seeds of Doom

Alan Trewartha, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

mark s that film is an absolute FUCKING BELTER - the only bit I find a bit naff is the fx where the Dr's arms are supposed to have been bitten off, it looks really cheap and destroys the mood totally for a second - though what follows right away certainly re-establishes it.
I've been meaning to watch it again to check whether the end really does have that clue in it about the black guy having been taken over by thingness -I've got the DVD but no sodding DVD player yet arrrrgh. Also, do you think there's a clue as to where Blair gets infected ? I thought I spotted it the 1st time I watched the film. And are there any feministy crits of the film - is it regarded as quite odd in that there are no women in it atall? (though it's all the more 'realistic' for that)

Ray M, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

anne billson talks abt all those things in her little book!! the stuntman whose arms are "bitten off" has no arms in real life!! (or anyway stumps)

the gender thing she says was probably the last possible moment they could cast the way they did: actually not strictly speaking "realistic" (antarctic stations had been mixed sex since the 50s), it was for emotional-narrative focus as much as anything

the question of blair's infection is interesting, because so deliberately left ambiguous i. on hand he jumps to the "it's a shapeshifting alien much too quickly", ii. on the other, he destroys the helicopters/radio etc, iii. on the third hand he misdirects mac towards clark (who ends up being shot and then turning out NOT to have been thinged) => billson points out that the unspoken question is, if you become a thing and it becomes you, how much of YOUR behaviour wd be a mask and how much wd be real...

i suspect childs's thing-dom is kept exactly as ambiguous (and remember someone finds a bit of mac's torn clothing: so he's not out of the picture, just cz he's the hero => yes he's behaving mac-like, but then the thing-that-became-mac WOULD, to fool the others or fool us!!)

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

on the THIRD HAND do you SEE?!

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

creepy (if poorly rendered) picture by gustav doré which possibly inspired the most famous scene in the movie:

http://www.arahne.si/Arachne06.jpg

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Definately Carpenter's best movie. And the gore effects were definitive; I still can't get some of those images out of my head.

Sean, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"i'd rather not spend the rest of the winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!"

g-kit, Monday, 19 August 2002 08:45 (nineteen years ago) link

i have never seen this but i think i must. dvd 13 quid through amazon = i am v v tempted.

toby (tsg20), Monday, 19 August 2002 09:16 (nineteen years ago) link

I believe the dog is a bitch though.

Any other films with absolutely no women in at all. Actually - nu thread...

Pete, Monday, 19 August 2002 09:20 (nineteen years ago) link

mark s I have just ordered that book from Amazon - but have just realised that since you recommended it I probably won't understand it.
Damn.

Ray M (rdmanston), Thursday, 22 August 2002 17:22 (nineteen years ago) link

it is very readable ray

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 22 August 2002 22:29 (nineteen years ago) link

I recently read the book in this series on Kon Ichikawa's An Actor's Revenge, and it was very good. Too short by a long way, and it rather skimmed some aspects of the film, but not at all difficult.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Friday, 23 August 2002 10:53 (nineteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
the faculty!! when i saw this first (i cannot believe that) i did not twig it was an industrial-strength thing-hommage: it even has a "you gotta be fkn kidding" joke (sadly not a very good one) (the "fit in at school: become a hive-mind alien" joke is better sustained, including a even bleaker and more sardonic ending than "the thing" itself = the alien is defeated and all the interesting ppl who battled it have become squeaky-clean conformist pod ppl...)

(also it stars frodo)

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:11 (nineteen years ago) link

Yummy cute goth girl put that eyeliner back on!

Graham (graham), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:22 (nineteen years ago) link

I thought this was going to be a thread about DA THANG

vic (vicc13), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:23 (nineteen years ago) link

and then they DON'T lez up = it is intended to be read a tragedy!!

(the caffeine (= coke obv) scene = brilliant loving parody of the scalpel/test-tubes scene)

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:25 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh you are talking baout that movie with Jordana Brewster?! I like it, even though it has Josh Hartnett on it

vic (vicc13), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:32 (nineteen years ago) link

the gothgirl is cute but the end-result monster is lame

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:35 (nineteen years ago) link

Who is the goth gurl. I know its not Jordana OH i remembered is the gurl that ALWAYS plays goths. Jordana kiks her ass

vic (vicc13), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:41 (nineteen years ago) link

clea duvall:

http://www.hbo.com/films/laramie/img/photo_cast_clea.jpg

jordana = cookiecutter brunette "looker" zzzzz

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:46 (nineteen years ago) link

YOU WANNA DO A TAKING SIDES WITH THEM BOTH?!

Hott brasilian-american with wonderful hair
http://www.tiramillas.net/cine/atodo/jordana.jpg

and goth poseur(real goths have black hair)
http://www.hbo.com/films/laramie/img/photo_cast_clea.jpg

Chupa-Cabras (vicc13), Sunday, 8 September 2002 22:02 (nineteen years ago) link

clea was good in but im a cheerleader

boxcubed (boxcubed), Sunday, 8 September 2002 22:03 (nineteen years ago) link

R-R-R-ROWR:
http://ilx.wh3rd.net/images/cleaduvall.jpg

(Actually I only like her cos she reminds me of dreamy skate-punk princess Lois, who has way better hair)

Graham (graham), Sunday, 8 September 2002 22:49 (nineteen years ago) link

five months pass...
Getting back to The Thing, there's an Antarctic blog called Big Dead Place that has a fun Antarctic-biased review of it

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Monday, 24 February 2003 23:53 (eighteen years ago) link

ten months pass...
is this another of those "i watched the movie having read a long-ago thread on it then went back and looked at the thread and all these k-brill concepts i imagined were in the thread as i watched the move really were my own... OR WERE THEY?" moments? (I had a massive one with the Pullman series)

coz ok i just watched the movie and then "remembered" this whole mark s bit where he's totally sympathizing with the "thing" and spins this great hypothesis about how mcready is clearly "thing" but has decided by the strength of his will to be human that it doesn't matter. and also about how the "thing" is always in us, and in fact is our mutual fear and at the end, reduced to panic, everyone is reduced to "fire cleans all" which is as unscientific as you can get (and clearly the surface-opposition is science v. grotesque).

also about how blair ceases to panic and becomes "okay" when he reaches the same conclusion w/r/t the "thing" -- i.e. that it doesn't matter.

all of which i guess is part of the "so what if the thing imitates us exactly" except it's also all the BAD things the thing does are entirely human. except the thing gets to make k-cool spaceships too!

i may also have read all this elsewhere.

okay I need to read the book and see "the faculty" now.

also the initial scene with the thing and the dogs is totally horrifying as is the arms-getting-chomped scene, and the way the narrative closure with the two burned stations kicks this whole "statement of human nature" thing into high-gear.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 06:21 (seventeen years ago) link

all my best work = completely in other people's hedz

(if true, this is the coolest thing evah btw) (best aspect: it can be totally real and totally unproveable simultaneously)

mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 14:51 (seventeen years ago) link

You can make this help you vis a vis If...the book: find a head, open it up and scoop out contents, put CPU of your computah in the hole and you will bne
DOING YOU BEST WORK IN SOMEONE ELSES HEAD.

Pete (Pete), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 16:34 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm sad because Jel stole by joke.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:44 (seventeen years ago) link

Its this thing.

Pete (Pete), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:45 (seventeen years ago) link

(I hab a code.)

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:46 (seventeen years ago) link

okay check this too -- thing only strikes between individuals, not in a group, so v. v. obv that which lurks behind the veneer of social convention and perfect candidate for Lacanian reading w/r/t "there is no big Other" i.e. that the rules of interaction of the crew are a necessary fiction, reinforced when everyone thinks mcready is the thing but follow him anyway. hence the basis of their downfall is their exile of blair -- safer to stay close to the thing than let it lurk.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:53 (seventeen years ago) link

"also about how blair ceases to panic and becomes "okay" when he reaches the same conclusion w/r/t the "thing" -- i.e. that it doesn't matter"

I thought that Blair WAS a "thing" by that point, that it had assimilated him just before he could hang himself (a noose in the background, isn't there?). But according to this, realising a lack of difference between the thing and the not-thing = becoming the thing-in-itself?

Neil Willett (Neil Willett), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 20:13 (seventeen years ago) link

I saw "The Thing" again recently. Popular art-rockers ESTEL were using it as visuals to a concert of theirs. I was sitting beside a guy who had never seen it before, and his "HOLY FUCK" reaction to the "You've got to be fucking kidding" bit was a joy to behold.

so maybe I do like this film after all.

DV (dirtyvicar), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 23:21 (seventeen years ago) link

John Carpenter? Eh. Phil Harris had the original version.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2H6qC23RPY

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 1 February 2020 19:31 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

pic.twitter.com/NyVrgAlKBW

— Mike (@mcgee_gorgo) March 12, 2020

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 12 March 2020 23:44 (one year ago) link

Lol surely he knew he was setting that up

Psychedics with Rosie Swash (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 12 March 2020 23:50 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

They needed a poster for #JohnCarpenter’s #TheThing in a hurry. So I conceived it, painted it, and my art was delivered to the studio all within 24 hrs. In fact, when they put it under the glass to photograph it, the paint stuck to the glass because the thing was still wet! pic.twitter.com/Nfi73qq8Ad

— Drew Struzan (@DrewStruzan) May 27, 2020

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 28 May 2020 02:46 (one year ago) link

six months pass...

I ended up buying a small signed print of that!

I'm at the stage of my life/brain where I've heard and forgotten so many things so many times that I can't remember if I'm hearing a certain observation for the first time, but I was listening to a podcast about The Thing and someone pointed out how the first section of the film is in some ways like going in a funhouse with the lights on. The very first thing you see is the ship crashing, so you know there's an alien. Then they take a tour of the Norwegian base, which is basically a frozen-in-ice preview of the bloody, tragic ending on the American base. Then they find the ship, which further confirms an alien. And yet, when it all goes down, you're still absolutely riveted and constantly surprised.

Another good observation made was that all of the characters in this movie are smart, or at least don't do anything horror-movie stupid. At a certain point they all know exactly what is going on and can only try their best to stop it, which even when it's the right thing can only help them so much against this enemy.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 19:52 (nine months ago) link

The very first thing you see is the ship crashing, so you know there's an alien

...I have no memory of this at all. I thought it started with the Norwegian helicopter chasing the dog-thing?!!? Maybe it's my brain that's gone wrong.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 22:56 (nine months ago) link

The very first part of the film is like 20,000 years ago and with cheesy animations shows the original crash of the spaceship.

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 23:35 (nine months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWidoMhF9Qw

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 23:38 (nine months ago) link

I thought it started with the Norwegian helicopter chasing the dog-thing?!!?

I would have put money on this, even after watching the YouTube embed above.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 23:46 (nine months ago) link

At first I thought I was wrong, and that I was thinking of Predator (which starts the same way). I can't remember which of them had the studio insist on the depiction of the crash, iirc. I think Predator?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 23:48 (nine months ago) link

Haha, I rewatched this last month and despite having seen it 10 times I was shocked all over again that this is how it starts. When I watch it again, I'm sure I will have completely forgotten all over again.

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Thursday, 3 December 2020 00:13 (nine months ago) link

Jeez, I thought for sure it started with an extended sequence featuring the Berenstein Bears.

You will notice a small sink where your sofa once was. (Old Lunch), Thursday, 3 December 2020 00:21 (nine months ago) link

Yes! And I specifically remember it being spelled that way too!

epistantophus, Thursday, 3 December 2020 00:45 (nine months ago) link

OK, even having seen that clip I don't remember this at all, and I have watched this film frequently. I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Thursday, 3 December 2020 03:35 (nine months ago) link

Josh, I am sorry for doubting you.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Thursday, 3 December 2020 03:36 (nine months ago) link

that scene is really one of the film's only flaws, albeit it not a glaring one — it's just totally unnecessary. probably why so many people seem to have forgotten it.

budo jeru, Thursday, 3 December 2020 04:00 (nine months ago) link

putting it as a five-second graphic in the title is perfect though - it doesn't spell anything out, just barely-liminally plants the idea in your head for context.

huge rant (sic), Thursday, 3 December 2020 05:13 (nine months ago) link

thingification as the ultimate mandela effect, in this essay for cinema today and yesterday i will

mark s, Thursday, 3 December 2020 13:25 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, sic, that's what I like about it, and it's sort of what the podcast plays out. You see a spaceship, you learn who discovered the spaceship, you see what happened to them, down to the last person, and then the movie more or less repeats the process with *our* protagonists, and yet is never the weaker for it. If anything it kind of is a further downer subversion, in that we might think, ok, the Norwegians failed, but *our* guys, we'll get it right.

The same podcast (I think it was Unspooled) remarked on how at the time, none of the cast was a known quantity, which also kind of subverts hero tropes. We ascribe that quality to Kurt Russell now, but back then to most people he was just another bearded dude.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 13:43 (nine months ago) link

I too was getting confused with the Predator intro.

But I love that this appears to be a global reaction, such a subtle (and as already stated, unnecessary) short scene. Ironically they probably spent a lot of time making it.

Two Meter Peter (Ste), Thursday, 3 December 2020 13:56 (nine months ago) link

xpost Ehh, I can accept that wrt the rest of the cast but Kurt Russell was a legit Disney star in the '60s/'70s!

You will notice a small sink where your sofa once was. (Old Lunch), Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:13 (nine months ago) link

(Granted, his Carpenter-ification was a bit like Annette Funicello reinventing herself as an '80s action/horror actor but still.)

You will notice a small sink where your sofa once was. (Old Lunch), Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:14 (nine months ago) link

Eh, I recognize a whopping two of his pre-grown up films by title, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and the Barefoot Executive, but even if he was a star by any standard, people did not flock to Used Cars or Escape from New York (or The Thing) for Kurt Russell. Hell, looking at his filmography, it's actually kind of hard to pinpoint when he *does* become a bankable, marquee star! Overboard? Backdraft?

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:19 (nine months ago) link

Big Trouble.. I feel may have put him on the map.

Two Meter Peter (Ste), Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:22 (nine months ago) link

But that was a flop, too, iirc.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:27 (nine months ago) link

if that's how the podcast phrased it, the podcast is wrong: once snake plissken had rebooted the diminishing returns of his disney stardom, he was absolutely a known and enjoyed cult-level quantity, and by the thing (the following year) carpenter was unavoidably signalling "he's my guy" to all who were paying attention

however "the thing" was NOT a break-out movie in its own day -- on the whole it was critically dismissed at the time and only gradually recouped its subsequent massive cult rep via video

in conclusion you can be "known" for quantities other than "box-office bankability"

mark s, Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:32 (nine months ago) link

Well, KR has cult appeal, that much is true, mostly for his John Carpenter films. But those films (by definition) were not really hits. Yet nonetheless, Kurt Russell is afaict without a doubt a movie star/more or less household name, but imo not for those Carpenter films (which all became cult/cultural touchstones after the fact). It could just be the Goldie Hawn connection.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:36 (nine months ago) link

Mostly Captain Ron afaict

You will notice a small sink where your sofa once was. (Old Lunch), Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:39 (nine months ago) link

also wikipedia tells me he had a baseball career of sorts

i have no idea what role this played tho, i have no idea what baseball actually is and will never change this

mark s, Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:42 (nine months ago) link

Kurt Russell is afaict without a doubt a movie star/more or less household name, but imo not for those Carpenter films

top of the head I'd say Tango & Cash and Backdraft are his only blockbusters until a Marvel sequel and some Fasts & Furioi, thirty years later.

But the whole point of T&C is that it was teaming up two beloved action stars of the decade, and Backdraft is an ensemble picture. He really does seem to be a movie star on osmosis from VHS

huge rant (sic), Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:59 (nine months ago) link

Id guess he didn't break out of cult status until the 90s when he was in Backdraft, Tombstone, and then Stargate... and then Tarantino started showcasing him in the late 2000s. Although I definitely knew who he was in the 80s! But really his career doesn't seem like one where he was gunning for the big time.

thousand-yard spiral stairs (f. hazel), Thursday, 3 December 2020 14:59 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, given his p undeniable star quality, he could've been way huger than he is.

You will notice a small sink where your sofa once was. (Old Lunch), Thursday, 3 December 2020 15:11 (nine months ago) link

i have no idea what baseball actually is

*fires up slide deck*

and will never change this

Ah! well nevertheless,

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 3 December 2020 15:37 (nine months ago) link

Was Overboard a hit?

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 15:50 (nine months ago) link

Whether KR was a cult star, action star, or mid-level star in 1982, still seems obvious that none of the cast was the specific kind of famous enough that youd assume they wouldnt get eaten by the thing. Tbh when The Thing came out Wilford Brimley might have been just as well known to audiences if not more, he had some memorable supporting roles in hit Hollywood stuff in the years just prior

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Thursday, 3 December 2020 16:02 (nine months ago) link

Wilford Brimley was 48 when The Thing was released.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 3 December 2020 16:57 (nine months ago) link

These guys were so relatively under the radar that the podcast noted Carpenter briefly considered Donald Pleasance for Brimley's role, but decided even he was too well known and people would expect him to make it to the end of the movie in one way, shape or form.

Man, one of the most remarkable things about The Thing is the way people are constantly disappearing for long stretches or getting (apparently) killed off screen. Just such a fascinating rhythm, especially for a movie whose contemporaries were tons of "And Then There Were None" slasher riffs that relished on-screen kills.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:02 (nine months ago) link

I have to admit I'm *meep* not a podcast guy, I'm probably more receptive to the vlog format (like those nerdy guys who pick apart how bad the Star Wars/every JJ Abrams movies are), tell me there exists something like that on the 'tube?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:07 (nine months ago) link

(aside to Mark S: Kurt Russell's youngest child played the lead in the Lodge 49 TV show which I'd love to hear your thoughts on if you can find it where you are!)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:08 (nine months ago) link

theres an official making-of vid on youtube thats like 90 minutes long thats pretty interesting. lots of war stories from the effects guys about dealing with different kinds of prop slime and whatnot, as youd expect

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:11 (nine months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSFXYKl_rf0

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:12 (nine months ago) link

I generally don't have time for podcasts, either, it's just kind of happenstance that I listened to the Unspooled on The Thing.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:13 (nine months ago) link

Overboard was a flop by Garry Marshall standards - made 26 million on a 22 mil budget, vs 57 million on 20 for Beaches, his next project, and $467 million on a $14 million budget for the one after that.

huge rant (sic), Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:15 (nine months ago) link

Oh, another observation made in that podcast was how when the movie starts it's more or less from the POV of the (excellent) dog actor, who, as a shapeshifting monster in disguise, knows to run to a human and lick his face for sympathy/protection from the Norwegians, who know better.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:23 (nine months ago) link

Thanks Josh! I bookmarked that and will view during my next bout of insomnia.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 3 December 2020 17:26 (nine months ago) link

The flying saucer opening is good partly because it leads you to believe that you're about to watch something relatively routine, whereas the body of the film turns out to be rather more WTF

Harthill Services (Neil Willett), Thursday, 3 December 2020 19:19 (nine months ago) link

you could take it as Carpenter signaling the stakes, saying "REMINDER: treat this as seriously as you would any movie that begins with a flying saucer crash landing on earth". Which could be good or too bad, depending on your take. (I forget the exact quote but I once read a critic describe Carpenter as something like "hes good, but he settles for too little".)

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Thursday, 3 December 2020 20:02 (nine months ago) link

some historical links that need to be posted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhgJ82sDDuU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jURaHXAPbPQ

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 3 December 2020 20:08 (nine months ago) link

you can hear carpenter light his first cig before the 2 minute mark on that commentary, ha

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Thursday, 3 December 2020 20:13 (nine months ago) link

Another favorite detail comes during the infamous blood test sequence. After they slice the finger open, they have a shot of the small wound being disinfected and pressure being put on it to stop the bleeding, just like when donating blood.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 4 December 2020 16:55 (nine months ago) link


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