The Thing about THE THING
October 14, 2011
John W. Campbell’s 1938 science fiction novella “Who Goes There?” has certainly spawned, or sprouted, a lot of sequels, spinoffs, and re-imaginings, usually called one THE THING or another. As well as imitators; there were episodes of DOCTOR WHO and X-FILES that were very THE THING-influenced.
The original story appeared in ASTOUNDING STORIES in 1938. It was made into a comic book in 1976, and a BBC radio play in 2002. You can read it here.
Then came 3 movie versions. The various versions all have the same basic story: People at an Arctic or Antarctic scientific research base find an alien frozen in the ice, and thaw it, to everyone’s misfortune.
First came the 1951 movie THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (Trailer on YouTube), produced by Howard Hawks, directed by Christian Nyby (Although Howard Hawks apparently had a big hand in the directing as well).
There’s a 2010 book THE THINGS by Dan Brereton (Amazon) (who I think is the same Dan Brereton who’s been a comic artist and writer for 20+ years, but I may be wrong) which is a sequel to this movie.
Then came the 1982 John Carpenter movie THE THING (Trailer on YouTube), where the setting changes to Antarctica. This was one of the first R-rated movies I saw, at a friend’s house on HBO. Which was still a novelty — R-rated movies being sent DIRECTLY TO YOUR TV SET. I remember we were eating a large meaty pizza while watching this. Urp. Way too many things sprouted stalks and started walking around in that movie. I was looking at my slice of pizza expecting it to sprout stalks.
I had a coworker who had spent a year at an Antarctic research base. When the last plane went out and the base was isolated for several months of dark and hard winter (That period where you particularly don’t want to find out you have breast cancer), that night they would have a party, drink a fair amount of alcohol, and watch THE THING on VHS.
And a 2010 Hugo-nominated short story by Peter Watts that retells the events of the film from the point of view of the monster (So “The Things” are the humans).
Now comes the 2011 prequel to THE THING (Official website), also called THE THING, just to make it confusing. Opens October 14th in the U.S.
Dark Horse comics has a free online prequel to the prequel (Real prequel — set in Viking times). Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.
As Julie Andrews would sing, these are a few of my favorite THINGS!
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