For Halloween, Mek and I watched John Carpenter’s classic The Thing and the slightly less classic Sorority Row. Both were pretty fun.
Let’s start with . . .
1.) According to the beginning credits, the only person in this movie is Kurt Russell. So, screw you, Keith David, Wilford “Di-uh-bet-is” Brimley, and all the other guys trying not to get eaten by an alien in Antarctica. You don’t count.
2.) Of course, Kurt Russell is awesome. He looks so young here with his gigantic beard, his sunglasses, and his super stylish hat. Now that Halloween’s over, I need to start thinking about what I’ll dress up as for next year. I could always be MacReady. Bonus points for a frost beard and the ability to shake like mad.
3.) As usual, most of the nonsense in this story could have been avoided if people would stop acting like assholes. If you’re in a group of, say, ten or so guys, and one person could possibly be infected (i.e, a shape-changing alien) the best probable course of action is to gather everyone together in the same room and have the doctors work on figuring out a blood test there. No one goes off on their own. No one goes off at all. Need to pee? Suck it up; you’re men. Pee in front of each other as men, and keep everyone together until you can find out who is human and who is real ugly.
4.) On a similar note, if you’re going to work with grenades, you should know how to use them. I don’t care how cold you are or how hard it is to feel through your gloves. If you can’t properly throw a grenade without dropping it behind you, then you have no business picking one up at all.
Thanks, Butterfingers. You’ve killed us. You’ve killed us all.
5.) Of course, this is yet another reason on why you shouldn’t work in Antarctica. Nothing good happens there, people. Stop isolating yourselves. Isolation leads to being eaten!
6.) At one point, there is an argument on who should be in charge. Childs (a young and really quite handsome Keith David) volunteers, but MacReady thinks that the leader should be someone of a more even temperament, namely him. Yes, MacReady. The guy who threw his whiskey into the hard drive of the computer after it beat him at chess is definitely the even-tempered guy who should be in charge.
7.) Although, I did laugh pretty hard at the scene. I hate playing chess on the computer, too.
8.) Yet another rule of survival: if you find a hideous, gooey thing that looks like a compilation of two bodies, and you’re not exactly sure what it is, don’t bring it home with you. I mean, does that really need to be said? Apparently, it does. Assholes.
9.) The Thing‘s a lot of fun, but I’m a little torn on exactly how much I like it. I enjoy that a lot of the tension comes from not seeing everything that happens. The audience is in the dark as much as the characters, and people go from not being infected to being infected with really no explanation on when that happened or who exactly infected them. I do like some of that; it’s a clever way of telling the story, but I think a lot of it could have been done a little better. There’s a way of cutting away at certain moments, being careful with your transitions . . . I think I wanted just a touch more order to the chaos. Just a little.
10.) This is an all-male cast. I think I said something similar in my review of First Blood, but I’m glad for it. All male plus one or two females can work in a story (The Abyss is a pretty good example) but a lot of times, it doesn’t work at all, and the woman ends up becoming a useless love interest with no personality and a heart of shining, do-gooder gold. And, thanks but no thanks. I’ll manage with just the men.
11.) This movie has gore. There is definite gore. I highly approve of the gore.
12.) Best line of the film: “I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!”
13.) Finally, I can’t say much about the ending without giving away spoilers, but I will say that’s it open-ended and that I liked it. A lot. They’re going to be doing one of those remakes of The Thing which is less like a remake than a very late sequel, and it’s rumored that they might resolve what happened at the end of this movie in that one. I hope they don’t. I’m not always satisfied with ambiguous ends, but I’m usually kind of bummed when the sequel nullifies the entire resolution (or lack of resolution, as the case may be) that the first film purposefully ended on. The story ends here. It’s meant to end here. I don’t want to see any more.
All in all, tentative grade? Probably a B+.
Sorority Row review will hopefully be up in a few days.
9 thoughts on ““I Know I’m Human””
All in all, I think the guys in the film handled everything pretty rationally, doing things like burning assimilated corpses and conducting tests to find out which one of them was the thing. A lot of the times, if there’s a woman in the cast, the romantic relationship gets used as a cheap excuse for the guy or the girl to do something dumb that dooms everyone. So at least this movie had to work around that and use funner stuff like paranoia and the guys being macho assholes to make some interesting plot points.
I think the guys are pretty rational except for how they separate towards the beginning. Once you know an alien is there and likes to attack people when they’re on their own . . . don’t be on your own. I think everyone should be in the same room while they work on those tests. But I do like that they aren’t all sentimental about the bodies, that they burn them, like you said, and their paranoia is definitely fun to watch.
My favorite line of the movie was: “Yeah, well, fuck you, too!” LOL. I loved this movie. Gross, nice pacing, bleak ending. One of Carpenter’s better films.
LOL. Yeah, that was a good line. I haven’t seen enough John Carpenter movies to really judge, but I did actually enjoy watching The Thing more than Halloween.
“less like a remake than a very late sequel”
Nooo, prequel. It’s all about what happens at the Norwegian camp. (Apparently there are some Americans randomly there, so presumably the survivors are the only Norwegians there who couldn’t speak English….)
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
The ending isn’t too ambiguous. They both inevitably freeze to death. Unless one of them’s the alien, in which case they freeze in the hope that someone else might find them. I suppose a sequel would mean that one of them was the alien or that somewhere there was enough of the alien intact to get found and thawed out.
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Oh, it’s a prequel? I hadn’t realized . . . see, that conflicts with things that I’ve read about it so far. Although, I think I’m actually even less interested now, you know, since I’ve seen what happened to the last Norwegian. Kind of like The Scorpion King prequel. I mean, you know what happens to him.
As for SPOILERS:
If the movie purposefully doesn’t show you the end, I think you can call it open-ended, but actually, I agree: I figure they froze to death. But they don’t show you, so everyone gets to make up their own mind for themselves. Besides, I’ve read some quotes from John Carpenter where he’s talked about doing his own sequel, and in that sequel the guys are still alive, so sure, it can be ambiguous.
It would be very VERY unlikely that anyone would happen to turn up and save them that late on. They hadn’t asked for anyone to come and they’d been having trouble with communications.
For me the ambiguity is solely in whether one of them is the alien, because the alien CAN survive being frozen. (Though it would have to wait for someone to come along and thaw it out.)
I enjoy the idea that John Carpenter’s sequel would just them sitting there freezing to death and discussing inane things, which is pretty much the only way to have a sequel where they’re believably alive, IMO. It’d be sort of like Open Water, except at the end, one of them Things out and eats the other guy’s face.
One giant conversation plus death and gore? Quentin Tarantino needs to direct that sequel.