Original Vs. Remake: The Thing

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

The consensus was perfectly clear with the outcome of our last Original Vs. Remake. I don’t think a single soul felt that the remake of The Hitcher came close to touching the masterful original. Well done, lads!

For today’s O vs R, we are possibly stepping into some controversial territory. John Carpenter’s THE THING is heralded as one of the greatest horror films ever made. A masterpiece. I’m sure you all know that Carpenter’s classic was itself a remake of 1951’s THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. However, instead of letting those two battle it out, we decided to go with the flick that was more in line with what Carpenter created. And even though 2011’s THE THING is technically a prequel/remake, we still feel it featured enough similarities to go forth to battle in this column.

An American research station in the Antarctic take on way more they can chew when an Alaskan Malamute is chased into their camp. And this dog’s bite is way worse than its bark. Actually, it isn’t a dog at all, but an alien host that kills and then replicates any life form it wants. Soon the members of the research station end up dying and disappearing. They don’t know who to trust.
Much like the 1982 version, the 2011 Thing features a group of people working at a research station in the Antarctic that becomes overrun by an alien parasite with the ability to replicate its victims. Only this time, a female paleontologist is on board to discover and relay a bit more info on the creature attacking them. There is also some extra insight onto the alien’s spacecraft.
When you have the indomitable Kurt Russell as your lead, you’re already a big step ahead in the acting department. Dude oozes cool. He’s also backed up by a fine group of thespians from the likes of Wilford Brimley, Keith David, and Donald Moffat. The reason this film is so terrifying is because of the top notch performances.
One very good aspect about the prequel/remake, is that it put together a tight cast. Mary Elizabeth Winstead once again proves she is way more than just a pretty face as our lead heroine. She too is backed up mightily by Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Eric Christian Olsen. These are all fine actors who really elevate the proceedings.
Special Effects
Glorious practical movie magic is what you’re getting with this classic! There’s gooey gore all around here. The ridiculously grotesque creations that the F/X crew came up with truly showcase how f*cked up The Thing is. From creepy tentacles to large, sharp-toothed jaws, every mutated iteration is the stuff nightmares are made of. And it looks so damn real!
Updated! The 2011 version mostly opted to use CGI F/X for most of the creature shots! Although not as good as the practical found in the original, we see much more of the actual creature in this one and damn, is it icky. The tentacles really fly here and the attacks are gloriously gory. I was still impressed by the amount of sick realism that was conveyed.
“There’s nothing else we can do… just wait.” With Kurt Russell delivering a line like that, you can’t help but stay gripped to the edge of your seat from there on out. The feelings of paranoia and uncertainty grasp at the viewer and makes for one intense ride. Ennio Morricone’s brilliant score also helps add heaping doses of dread.
There is one pretty intense scene that takes place in the rec room towards the end that somewhat mirrors the rec room scene in Carpenter’s film. With the help of some nice acting and some nifty effects, this part offers some intense jolts. Other than that, the scares that come are pretty standard for today’s type of horror flick: the kind of shit we’re all desensitized to.
Hot Chicks
Sorry, but the Carpenter classic is going to have to forfeit this one. No chicas in the entire flick!
Although the 2011 version wins this section by default, I still say it would have won regardless on account of the absolutely gorgeous Mary Elizabeth Winstead. A genre favorite, she is beyond easy on the eyes with a face that could launch a thousand ships and a body to match. She. Is. Perfection!
Many consider The Thing to be John Carpenter’s masterpiece and they may be right. Regardless, it falls right within the time span of his early 80’s brilliance. The scares he drew forth from this film were unlike any ever seen at the time. The desolate setting and claustrophobic feelings of isolation completely sweep over the viewer. The use of lighting and darkness is a work of art as well.
I will give Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. credit for taking on a prequel/remake to a horror classic and not f*cking it up. He doesn’t dumb it down or water it down to please the pathetic PG-13 horror crowd. He delivered an admirable genre piece that stayed true to the source material and didn’t f*ck around when it came to pushing the envelope. It’s not a perfect flick, but it certainly doesn’t suck.
The Thing (1982)
Alright, I’m guessing there wasn’t a single soul that thought the 2011 Thing could ever take down the stalwart 1982 Carpenter gem. However, I also bet you didn’t see the prequel/remake hanging in there as well as it did. If you haven’t checked out Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s version yet, do yourself a favor and give it a whirl. And then be sure to watch Carpenter’s again because it still holds up and is the big winner today. Are you cool with this outcome? Are you pissed that we did a remake versus a prequel/remake? That’s why we give you them bullets to spit below! And if you have any flicks you’d like to see in this column, give me a shout at [email protected].

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