Anyone who’s seen John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi paranoia thriller, The Thing, has long wondered exactly what happened to the Norwegian research team that encountered the titular creature, prior to the events of the film.
Okay, most people probably assumed they were all killed – save for the survivors who were chasing down the monster (in dog form), during the beginning of Carpenter’s movie. Nonetheless, a prequel that is (confusingly) also titled The Thing will be released soon, and promises to reveal the truth about that doomed scientific expedition.
The Thing teaser trailer was released a while ago, but it mostly indicated that director Matthijs van Heijningen had crafted a film almost identical to Carpenter’s. An actual clip has been released from the prequel, suggesting that the film will at least try attempt to be as scary as its predecessor.
Here is the official synopsis for the Thing prequel:
In the prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name, paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to Antarctica for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up. When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish.
Get an early (and very brief) look at the parasitic extraterrestrial in The Thing by watching the clip (via MTV) below:
Nightmare on Elm Street remake scriber Eric Heisserer also penned The Thing; assuming the above scene is anything to go by, that fact could show in the movie. The Elm Street remake was way too reliant on using cheap jump scares to give moviegoers a jolt, rather than building up tense atmosphere. It’s an approach that can quickly become predictable and tedious when overused.
Case in point: when you watched the Thing clip above, you probably jumped as a natural response to when Stig Henrik Hoff’s character spooked Derek (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – a.k.a. Mr. Eko from Lost), but didn’t budge when the actual monster showed up. If much of the film plays that way, then people probably won’t be walking away very impressed.
Carpenter’s original Thing (itself, a re-interpretation of a previous film adaptation of a novella) ended up being quite effectively creepy, thanks to the use of some fantastic practical effects that brought the film’s mysterious alien to life – and a story that kept you guessing which human character would be revealed as an imposter. The Thing prequel, by comparison, is said to be using a combination of CGI and practical tools to effectively realize its namesake, but will ultimately suffer from the same issue that plagues all prequels: everyone watching pretty much knows exactly where the plot is eventually going to go.
We won’t know for certain if The Thing is be a dud or as scary as Carpenter’s film until it finally arrives in theaters on October 14th, 2011.