The Thing: Proving I’m Still a Big Wuss

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It’s Halloween. Yay! I love Halloween. Pumpkins, ghoulies, little goblins coming to my door for candy (though I only got 4, bummer!). I got to dress up in some cute witchy couture for work. I love it. So of course what’s a better day to watch a scary movie like John Carpenter’s The Thing?

Any day. I hated watching this movie.

I didn’t hate the movie. Actually now that I have seen it, I will say that it is extremely effective at what it does, and it is very well done, especially for the time that it came out. But…I knew I would hate watching this. I knew that I would get scared. I didn’t expect to feel like I was going to get sick, but maybe that was my own damn fault for eating dinner during the first ten minutes. Before the bloody chunks started to fly.

While Ash in Alien may have complemented the alien for being the perfect organism, that android probably never ran into the Thing. The Thing is actually the perfect organism. It can assimilate you and become a perfect replica. It’s genius. You never know who its going to be, or what. It just can’t be something inanimate. It can sneak among your group, laugh to itself as you accuse each other of being monsters, then pick you off one by one. And if you don’t burn the entire thing…well let’s just say don’t let the body parts run away.

I’m getting nauseous just thinking about this.

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One image sticks out to me, and it’s a mirror of the image that made me cry when I saw the remake/prequel when it came out in 2011. In John Carpenter’s version it’s even more haunting, because it’s dead. We think. Maybe. But it’s this grotesque shape, too many arms, too many fingers, drenched in goo. The face is two faces, like cojoined twins joined at the cheek, sharing one tongue that snakes between them.

God that’s a horrible way to live. Can you imagine if you still had conscious thought while that was happening to you? Well I think that’s what’s implied when we see the same mashed-together faces in the new version. They’re moving and screaming and you can just tell that they’re in agony.

Wow. This is the hardest blog post I’ve ever had to write. I am usually not this big a weenie, and can handle an okay amount of gore. But, while I didn’t cry watching this (like I did with the other one), recalling my revulsion is just making my  stomach really hurt. And I’m regretting those Swedish Fish I snuck out of the Halloween bucket.

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I am a big wuss and I cannot lie.

 

So, okay, in short, excellent movie. Kurt Russell is epic as always. I wanted him to get all Jack Burton on the Thing’s ass. Wilford Brimley minus his mustache took me a minute. But he was also epic. The monster is gory, gross, sneaky, and kind of wins in a way at the end of the movie. But you don’t really know. Because its very ambiguous. I’d like to think Kurt Russell fried the bastard. That’s what I’m going to tell myself when I go to bed after taking some Tums and hugging my teddy bear.

Those of you in my Monsters class may remember when we were asked the question “what is the scariest monster to you?” The Thing is that for me. And it still is.

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10 Comments

  1. The Thing is one of the most horrifying examples of “body horror” I can think of. I’m just amazed it didn’t give me more nightmares. xD I knew going into it that I was going to cringe through several scenes.

  2. My friend Greg and I have scrutinized and pondered and theorized over the ending of that movie, with if either Childs or MacReady, or both or neither were the Thing, for LITERALLY years. We have sound theories for all four scenarios, lol.

    • It was both of them. At least one survived and hitched a ride out when a crew showed up to investigate what happened at the station. The Thing could now be anywhere or everywhere and anyone or everyone. Just how well do you know your friend Greg? It could be him, you know…..

  3. I saw the 1951 version when I was in second grade or so (my mom talked it up big) and it scared the hell out of me. Post-college I read a comic version–very true to Campbell’s original story–and Campbell’s story itself. So even though Carpenter’s version was truer to the original than the ’51 version, there weren’t any surprises for me except for the FX and the 2011 version was completely unnecessary, IMO. I think there’s still room in the market for a version true to Campbell’s story but focused on the horror of the situation rather than the science and gross-out FX.

  4. I agree with you. The Thing is probably the scariest monster I’ve seen so far. Its ability to assimilate and appear like a normal person or a friendly dog, waiting for an attack? Terrifying.

  5. This film definitely had a lot more gore than Alien did. They both have excellent monsters, though. It was nice to see both extremes on how much to show the monster directly.

  6. It’s a good thing the Thing is vulnerable while it transforms, or else it might be the perfect monster. Without that one vulnerability, it would be unstoppable.

  7. My answer to the scariest monster was giant spiders, but now it’s the Thing…. Spider head *shivers*

  8. The grossness is not what scares me, it’s the paranoia. Because you are clearly the Thing. That’s why it scares you so much. 😉


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