A lot of people are still confused about just what The Thing is. No, we don't mean the shape-shifting alien monster that can take on the form of seemingly any living thing it comes into contact with. By now, people are all too familiar with the iconic creature of John Carpenter's 1982 film. In fact, the use of defibrillators has never been the same since that movie came out (neither has the old game of "bind your friends to the couch").
No, what we mean is: a lot of people are still confused about what this MOVIE, The Thing, is. Is it a prequel, a remake, a reboot? Surf the Web enough and you can find people complaining about it under all three labels.
The truth of the matter is that this 2011 version of The Thing is actually a prequel to Carpenter's 1982 version, which was itself a remake of the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, which was itself an adaptation of the 1938 novella "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr. For those paying attention: that makes this new film a prequel to a remake of an adaptation.
And who says Hollywood isn't original anymore: where else can you find the backstory of a copy of an interpretation?
But I digress.
In this prequel, we learn how a team of scientists (including some familiar Norwegians) first discovered the dreaded alien Thing in the ice of Antarctica, and were [Fake Spoiler Alert] subsequently wiped out by it - leading into the events depicted in Carpenter's film.
Check out the teaser trailer for The Thing below, courtesy of MSN:
The vibe in that trailer is a welcome return to the creepy and ominous tone of Carpenter's film (right down to the iconic music, which producers told us would still be used in this new film). That all said, this movie is still facing the massive challenge of having to overcome "prequelitis," which is defined by no official dictionary as being a condition whereby, "the predetermined ending of the story makes a film feel overly contrived and ultimately unsatisfying." Unless this prequel also has a reboot component built into it - i.e., showing us a part of the story we were unaware of before, thereby offering new opportunities for sequels - then this is really just going to be a sci-fi/horror snuff film.
Yet, there are a contingent of horror fans (myself included) who will enjoy the simple pleasure of getting to play in Carpenter's Thing universe again, if only for the span of a small body count. Facing danger this time are actors Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim), Eric Christina Olsen (Community), Joel Edgerton, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost), Ulrich Thomsen (Hitman), Jonathan Walker (Traitor) and a host of Norwegian actors (who will be speaking their native language, to boot). The movie is directed by former commercial director Matthijs van Heijningen.
The Thing will be in theaters on October 14, 2011.