The Thing from Another World
One might notice right about now, in my review series, that things are about to spread out a bit. That's only really because there are so many great titles out there in the horror genre, covering anything from the mainstream to the underground. So starting with 'The Thing from Another World', I'll be covering the next batch of movies for various reasons - each given in the review. We start here with the film that plays in the background of 1978's 'Halloween', and ultimately brought about 1982's 'The Thing'; one of my all-time favorites.
This version opens with journalist Ned Scott (Douglas Spencer) visiting with friend, Lieutenant Eddie Dykes (James Young), a Captain Pat Hendry (Kenneth Tobey), and a flight navigator named Ken "Mac" MacPherson (Robert Nichols). He's on the lookout for a story, which in these kinds of movies always lead to something crazy. This time around, our reporter heads with these military men to Polar Expedition Six at the North Pole upon request of its head scientist, Dr. Arthur Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite). The call-in has to do with a nearby, crashed aircraft which is eventually found to be a flying saucer, stuck in the ice.
Throughout a thawing process, using thermite, a reaction with the saucer's metal alloy ends up destroying the ship. However, nearby, their Geiger counter detects a body nearby. The group takes the body out of the ice and brings it back for research. Before they all know it, they are trapped in a bad snow storm along with this alien creature who is oddly enough determined to be more flora than fauna - but it's still a carnivorous plant being that feeds on blood, and scary nonetheless. Meanwhile, Hendry also rekindles his romance with Carrington's secretary, Nikki Nicholson (Margaret Sheridan), so there is a side romance in this version. But you'll be happy to know it's not exactly shoved down your throat.
Much like the '82 version, it's a survival movie, but unlike it, the horror isn't based on whether not not the group can trust each other. It's another monster movie, but with the change of the monster being an alien life form. I admit, it's imaginative to make this alien a carnivorous plant, but the look of the creature is bound to be a dated mess for some. It's fairly hard for me to tell if the makeup was even that good for the time, but there's still an eeriness to it, especially with that weird noise he makes.
I will say that the '82 version is something I very much prefer. But I can't say this movie isn't without its merits. It seems abundantly evident that it was a big inspiration for John Carpenter's filmmaking, considering its spot in 'Halloween', and the fact that Carpenter directed the '82 version of this. As far as myself, I can say that for its time, it's still pretty creepy. It does have an atmosphere to it, a great score that puts one on edge, likable characters, the alien's sound is very otherworldly, the list goes on. I may like Carpenter's version more, but this is still a great flick. Plus where would Carpenter's version be without it.
So, if you wanna get in on a little piece of horror history (which most of my upcoming titles do), this is a decent place to look. It shows an interesting connection to the horror of my generation, and it's neat to think of how it inspired one of my favorite horror films of all time. If you haven't seen it as a fan of the '82 version, I might suggest checking this out just to see where Carpenter's came from. To cap it off, this is where "keep watching the skies" originally comes from, as the final line of the film. Interestingly enough, I always thought that was from 'The X-Files'. It just goes to show, it's a good thing I'm educating myself on these golden and silver age horror films.
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