Oh, don’t worry, Richard Masur. That’s just the throng of seething, groaning horror fans responding to news about Universal’s prequel (named like a remake) to John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi/horror classic, The Thing.
Screen Rant has been covering what story and casting details we could as they surfaced, but this week brings some interesting insight into the shape and style of the movie, which has just started shooting.
The LA Times reports that producers Marc Abraham and Eric Newman (Children of Men, Slither, Dawn of the Dead) think of the project as “a companion piece to the original,” and decided on the movie when Universal prompted them to sift through the Universal catalog for a property ripe for a remake. In a climate where studios are terrified of pursuing an original idea, Newman at least felt optimistic given that Universal, once upon a time, was the trailblazing master of monster movies and therefore had a great selection to revisit.
Abraham describes The Thing prequel as “a crime scene…and the audience gets to be the detective, trying to piece together what horrible things have occurred.” Newman sees it as “a new story to tell, with the same characters and the same world, but from a very different point of view.“
The reverence in which the filmmakers hold The Thing and the fact that they cite Alien as the model for this prequel – frightening, sophisticated and character-driven – are both promising on paper and ambitious. Personally, I expect my genre movies to have some ambition in them, otherwise what’s the point?
It seems as though the story takes place before the original Thing. The film is set in the Norwegian research settlement where Kurt Russel discovered the first signs of something amiss (see pic above). The cast of the prequel will of course be ‘international’ as well as coed – marked differences from Carpenter’s film. Norwegian will be spoken – and yes, subtitles will have to be read (small victories, but I’ll take ’em where I can get ’em). The leads will of course be American.
Incidentally, the Norwegian cast members of The Thing prequel were announced today at Dagbladet: Dennis Storhøi, Trond Espen Seim, Jørgen Langhelle, Stig Henrik Hoff, Jan Gunnar Røise, Kristopher Hivju and Jo Adrian Haavind. Gloriously, the English translation for the article title reads as “These Norwegians to be Killed in the Hollywood Sequel”, which is sheer prophetic genius.
Patrick Goldstein describes his feelings towards the project as cautious optimism, and I guess that sounds about right. I’ll be interested to see what they do with it, and of course I want it to be good. Right now, the greatest detractor from the possibility that it could be a quality prequel are the leads – the young, fresh faced, great-looking, American leads. With them, I am already bored.
Universal, trust me. I’m a 24-year-old female, and at the end of the day I will still probably relate better and be more interested in Keith David’s character, Childs, from the original Thing than I will be in Kate Lloyd. If the characters are no good, The Thing prequel will be another failed attempt to revisit a stand-alone classic. Fingers crossed that won’t be the case.