In the long history of horror films, there are a few directors that stand out above the pack, showing a repeated ability to craft memorable fright flicks that endure for decades after their debut. Names on this short list include Wes Craven, George Romero, Dario Argento, and arguably the most prolific of the lot, John Carpenter. Perhaps still best known for writing and directing the 1978 slasher classic Halloween, Carpenter is also the filmmaker behind such cult hits as They Live, Escape from New York, and The Fog.
If there’s one film that usually rivals Halloween among fans for the title of greatest Carpenter film though, it’s 1982’s The Thing, a fairly simple story involving the crew of a remote Antarctic outpost being systematically consumed and assimilated by a malevolent shape-shifting alien. What truly helps The Thing stand out from other monster movies are it’s breathtakingly horrifying practical special effects, created by FX artist Rob Bottin. Even in today’s age of basically limitless CGI wizardry, many horror fans still point to the various onscreen incarnations of The Thing as the most amazing-looking creatures ever put to film.
Seeking to try and recapture the feeling of movies like Carpenter’s The Thing is Canadian indie filmmaking duo Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, who’ve earned notice in genre circles for their work as part of the collective known as Astron 6. Their new film, entitled The Void, presents a Thing-like scenario concerning a small group of people menaced by an otherworldly foe within a remote location, this time a rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew. The plot also takes cues from the cosmic horror style of H.P. Lovecraft, which served as a clear inspiration to Carpenter for both The Thing and his 1995 effort In the Mouth of Madness.
While the above is only a fairly short teaser for The Void, one can already see multiple effects shots very clearly influenced by Bottin’s work on The Thing, which are indeed all done practically. Not using CGI to create its monsters is arguably one of The Void’s biggest potential hooks, as many horror fans long for the days of old-school techniques that allowed actors to actually interact with physical representations of the threats facing them, instead of just standing in front of a green-screen and screaming in the direction of something that will be inserted in post-production.
Can The Void possibly live up to The Thing, which many horror lovers consider a masterpiece? Realistically, probably not. Still, if it can even come close, the genre community will likely not hesitate to shout about it from the rooftops. As demanding as the horror fandom can be, they can be just as devoted to promoting a film that makes an honest effort to give them what they want.
The Void arrives in U.S. theaters on April 7, 2017.
Source: Signature Entertainment