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The Thing

The Thing  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. Does The Thing go in the space capsule?

    • ✅ Will we make it?
    • ❌ Maybe we shouldn't.

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Amy & Paul burst out of 1982’s Antarctic John Carpenter sci-fi feature The Thing! They learn how the incredible special effects were literally dreamt up, praise Wilford Brimley’s everyman appeal, and ask what relevance this story of paranoia and mistrust has in modern-day life. Plus: An excerpt from The Thing: The Musical.

This is the final episode of our “Unghouled” horror miniseries; next week we kick off a series on “effed up families” with Raising Arizona! Learn more about the show at unspooledpod.com follow us on Twitter @unspooled and Instagram @unspooledpod, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. You can also apply to be a guest on our upcoming game show Screen Test at unspooledpod@gmail.com! Photo credit: Kim Troxall

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Good show, The Thing is a good example of building tension slowly, slowly. Aside from a brief scare with the beginning dog chase, the next 40 minutes or so is just tension and mysterious dread slowly building. The reward for the viewer's patience is true suspense and terror. Alien has the same patience requirement.

As for Macready blowing up the chess computer, I've always thought of it as an example of how they eventually beat the thing. The chess computer is smarter and beats Macready - so Macready ups the stakes and beats the computer by destroying it.  The Thing is smarter than them, craftier and more powerful. It will eventually get them all. It's only when Macready gives the speech "we can't let that thing get away..." when they realize that, no, they aren't going to survive. But their self sacrifice and resolution -- their humanity -- can beat it. Remember, the Thing doesn't have any sense of self sacrifice, as shown in the blood test scene. They sacrifice themselves by blowing up and burning down the camp, knowing they won't survive but that will beat the thing and save the world.

And of course, let's not forget how misunderstood The Thing is -- here's a story written from The Thing's viewpoint.

As for offending aliens with alien movies. I'm reminded of the scene from the Doctor Who, where the Doctor (an alien himself) is fighting alien invaders when someone  mentions "It's like the movie Alien" The Doctor says "There's a horror movie called Alien? That's really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you."

And next week RAISING ARIZONA! These were the happy days, the salad days, as they say.

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1 minute ago, Metaluna Mutant said:

knowing they won't survive but that will beat the thing and save the world.

But then of course, at the end they still can't be sure they actually beat the Thing. That's the brilliance of the movie's paranoia.

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I'm glad that Paul briefly mentioned the 2011 prequel to The Thing titled, imaginatively enough, The Thing (and not, Who Goes There?, which would have been a great throwback to the novella which started this whole shebang). While not a great movie by any means (it was ultimately and famously ruined by endless studio tinkering), one of the main plot points that got buried in all the awful CGI is that the crash-landed alien ship buried in the snow is a prison transport and The Thing its one of the prisoners. That would have provided a great back story and explain why a gooey, shape-shifting alien arrived on Earth in an inorganic metal disc.

I also loved the shout-out in this episode to the brilliance (and sacrifice) of Rob Bottin. Besides masterminding the special FX on this movie and The Howling, Bottin is notable--in my heart, anyway--for creating RoboCop's suit. And any excuse to bring up RoboCop on this forum... well, there you go.

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I'm not convinced this movie is more deserving than Alien, even though it is quite good. And Ripley isn't the only woman onboard the Nostromo: Veronica Cartwright played Lambert.

I don't believe this movie is about A.I.D.S. I usually hear that line about Cronenberg's remake of The Fly, even though he stated explicitly that his film was inspired by seeing his parents age. Carpenter's film is a quite faithful adaptation of the source material from 1938 (prior to the Cold War, and thus less likely to be an allegory for communism). Even 1982 strikes me as a bit early for that much awareness of AIDS.

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