I found this Blu-Ray on sale at a Goodwill for $3 one day. I bought it completely unaware of what it was – obviously I had read the back of the case, but it was a whole new thing to me.
‘The Thing from Another World’ is a 1951 black & white film by Christian Nayby & Howard Hicks, and based off of a novella titled “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr. It is about a group of researchers in a remote arctic outpost who come across an alien organism frozen in the neighboring ice. They retract it and bring it back to their base but they disagree over what to do with it. Unaware of its origins or intentions, the being regains consciousness after thawing and begins murdering everybody.
This film is a real class act. It’s fun, ominous terror that doesn’t go too far with its content. Being resigned to a team of all men, this film is void of sexuality, hardcore violence, and suggestive content. Minus some language, this could easily be seen on TV and with the whole family. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t scary.
Arguably one of the better horror/sci-fi films from the time, it has a lot of fun and some ominous warnings for humanity as a whole, concluding with a speech where one scientist says, “And now before giving you the details of the battle, I bring you a warning: Everyone of you listening to my voice, tell the world, tell this to everybody wherever they are. Watch the skies. Everywhere. Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!”
This movie is the original version of John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’. Based off of the same material, Carpenter’s emphasized the over-the-top gore and violence. Ultimately, the main difference between the two comes down to the monster design. In the 1951 version, the alien is simply a humanoid that looks like a 7 foot tall man with a large head. Picture a Frankenstein monster, but found submerged in ice. In Carpenter’s 1982 version, the monster is a shape-shifting doppelganger, slimy creature that changes appearance every time you see it – which is about every 15 minutes. Carpenter’s is more of a paranoid tale of suspecting each other to be the creature in disguise; the Nayby/Hicks version is a more straight forward creature feature.
They both have plenty to offer, and the Carpenter version is honestly one of my favorite films, but you have to respect this version. It is the very definition of ‘classic.’
‘Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra