The Thing

thethingtruth-1

One of the greatest genre movies ever made is John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing. Though technically a remake of Howard Hawks’ 1951 The Thing From Another World, it is a much more faithful adaptation of John W. Campbell’s 1938 novella “Who Goes There?”. The story follows a group of men in an Antarctic outpost who stumble across a bizarre alien that has the ability to imitate other life forms. During the course of the film, the characters are plagued with paranoia and terror as they discover that those around them may be the Thing in disguise. Soon, it becomes apparent that they have to do whatever is possible to stop the Thing from getting to civilization. Armed with flame-throwers, shotguns, and a hot copper needle, the team at U.S. Outpost 31 try to keep the thing contained, lest it mean the end of the world. Because we are significantly paranoid, this got us thinking: What would have happened if the Thing really escaped?

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IntroTransformations

There’s really no such thing as pleasant renewal when it comes to metamorphosis in a horror movie – only flesh falling off to expose whatever nightmare lurks beneath. It’s not unlike puberty, actually. Since we’re almost hitting the dark lord’s birthday, I thought we could celebrate by remembering some of the most nauseating horror movie transformations ever mashed onto the screen…

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harbinger down creature art

As I’ve stated in previous Fund This Film posts, one of the main benefits of crowdfunding is that it offers opportunity for projects that Hollywood literally rejects. Filmmakers like Alex Cox, Ralph Bakshi and even Zach Braff have hit Kickstarter because their visions and methods don’t fit the industry standards and preferences these days and no mainstream production and financial outlets are interested in their works as they’re intended. Similarly, with computer effects being the go-to norm in moviemaking now, people wishing to work with practical effects need to go to fans of such tactile techniques in order to pay for it. We’ve already seen a few campaigns highlighting old school movie magic, including Cox’s effort, and now there’s one from animatronic and makeup wizards Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. If you’re not familiar with those guys by name, you know the creatures and other stuff they’ve done for such films as Aliens, The Terminator, Tremors, Spider-Man, X-Men: First Class, Evolution, Cocoon, Jumanji, Superman Returns, The Incredible Hulk and The Monster Squad. Gillis was nominated for an Oscar for both Alien 3 and Starship Troopers, and Woodruff was also nominated for Alien 3 and won an Academy Award for Death Becomes Her. Through their company, Amalgamated Dynamics, they also collaborated on the recent prequel/remake of The Thing, but they were disappointed to see most of their work on the movie replaced or augmented with CGI, and that’s part of why they’re doing this (similar-sounding) feature film called Harbinger Down themselves.

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The Scariest Movie Ever

And then there were four. After the tournament’s closest battle came to an end with a come-from-behind winner, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre eked its way into The Final Four alongside The Thing, Alien and The Exorcist. Essentially we’re down to the impossible choices, but while a horror movie tournament is one thing, figuring out with of these baddies would best each other in real life is a bit easier. Today’s match-up sees Ridley Scott‘s hallway of terror go up against the devil in Ms. Blair, but if the mutli-mouthed E.T.s actually had to fight off a demon, it seems obvious that evil would prevail (unless The Queen had the courage to jump out of an airlock after getting possessed). On the same front, a family of cannibals with their own meat locker is terrifying, but they’d be quick work for the body-stealing Thing, especially since Grandpa’s offspring don’t seem all that bright. How long would it take for one of them to hit themselves with a hammer in order to stop the invasion? Over/Under is twenty minutes. Speaking of which, someone should make a movie where horror icons fight each other. Especially if it involves Alien. How could that miss? And since both Freddy and Jason have been knocked out of the tournament, they’ll have plenty of time to collaborate on a project like that. VOTING FOR THE FINAL FOUR IS NOW OPEN

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The Scariest Movie Ever

After laughing about the completely unplanned, totally-done-by-your-votes match-up between The Ring and The Thing in the Axe-Wielding Eight Round, I’d like to talk about two types of movies that didn’t make the cut. There are. of course, the 24 movies so far that have been chopped off the block by you clicking a Facebook button, but there are also a bunch of movies that didn’t get placed on the original bracket to begin with. There are two reasons that your favorite scary movie didn’t make it. One, it’s a finite list (and a small one at that). Two, we aren’t mind readers. For the most part, our bracket was conventional in honoring the classics, but we also tried to spice things up by including newer films and even a few that maybe weren’t seen by wide audiences (Session 9, you will be missed…). Today’s post will seek to celebrate some of those movies you suggested we were morons for leaving out. We’ll also run down the numbers, laugh some more about the rhyming Ring/Thing battle, and get serious about the predictions. We’re down to 8 insanely strong horror flicks, so it’s even more important to get out the vote because the margins are going to be razor blade thin. Or you can vote first and then read all this

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It has to be the simplest motivation out there – it’s even excusable at times. You can’t fight hunger, right? And if your meal of choice happens to be the earth’s self-proclaimed dominant species then well, you’re going to have to get a bit creative. Like all predators, the secret is to surprise your prey. As the following list will show, this can be done many ways – some much more creative than others.

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John Carpenter

A true master of horror, it’s no surprise that John Carpenter‘s work has shown up in our series where horror filmmakers discuss their favorite scary movies (and, spoiler alert, he’ll show up again next week). His figure looms large inside and beyond the genre, gifting classics like Halloween, Escape From New York , The Thing, Assault on Precinct 13 and Big Trouble in Little China to the world. He’s a quiet-spoken man, which is perhaps not too rare in the world of horror. Although it’s fairly strange to think that this unassuming man made people terrified of being inside their own homes (and, you know, taking trips to Antarctica). So here’s a bit of free filmmaking (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man who makes our nightmares.

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All the cool kids who are too cool for Comic-Con and all about trying to be cool by saying how not cool Comic-Con has become try to be cool by going to the cool comic area and buying cool things. Cool, right? But seriously, I always like to put the “comic” in Comic-Con and take a walk around the all the different comic vendors, big and small, and find cool stuff to buy. This year is no different and I found a few things that piqued my interest and raped my wallet. Have a peek into my barely literate world!

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s like a nightly version of American Top 40, but with movies and no Casey Kasem. Actually, it’s nothing like American Top 40. It’s just about movies. We begin tonight with a piece of Drew Struzan’s The Thing poster for Mondo, all part of the Alamo Drafthouse’s Summer of 1982 series. Even though it’s reminiscent of the original poster for the film, it’s still quite cool. Movies.com also has a pretty solid interview with the postering legend, which you should read. And now, the news…

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Boiling Point

Here’s a question: when we did we stop being fans of movies and become defenders of them? Follow up: when did it become a punishable offense not to enjoy things the same way others do? Sub question: since when is not liking a film as much as someone else the same as hating it? I’m assuming that since movies have existed, people have enjoyed talking about them. Shortly after the awe and wonder faded, they probably also enjoyed (or at least engaged in) debating over their particular merits. You know, once there started being more than one released every few months. Here’s a troubling trend I’m noticing: movie critics now consider themselves defenders of films, rather than critics or writers. With the rapid spread of information (and random words) through things like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, it has become increasingly difficult to even properly identify someone as a critic. What makes a critic? If you publicly reveal your opinion to the masses on the internet, is it not a topic for conversation? Is it not then welcomed for people to engage in debate? Doesn’t that make you a critic? If you didn’t want people to comment on your comment, shouldn’t you have kept it to yourself?

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Alamo Drafthouse Summer of 1982

Blade Runner. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The Road Warrior. The list of incredible films released during the summer of 1982 goes on and on. From E.T. to Tron, it could very well be the greatest summer of movies in the history of nerds, geeks, lovers of cinema and eaters of popcorn. It was one of those summers that defined the term “Summer Movie.” The only sad thing about it is that 1982 came before many of us were born. An entire generation of movie geeks who grew up with these movies, but never quite got to experience them all together as they did in that one magical summer. The Alamo Drafthouse is looking to change that. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “greatest summer of movies ever,” our friends at the Alamo have designed a screening series unlike any other. Mirroring the release schedule — to the best of their ability — of the Summer of 1982, the Drafthouse will present 1982′s best blockbusters in 35mm, with plenty of Mondo posters, special guests and a few other surprises that — and I say this with only limited knowledge beyond what we’re telling you here — will absolutely blow your minds. They’ve asked a special group of websites — Film School Rejects included — to co-host each screening. We drew The Road Warrior. It’s basically the greatest thing to happen to us since, well, we first saw The Road Warrior. So if you’re in the area of an Alamo Drafthouse, we’ve […]

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Boiling Point

The 84th Academy Awards have come and gone: let the bitching begin! As someone who is more of a genre fan than anything, I’ve never really cared too much about the Oscars, but that sure as hell doesn’t prevent me from complaining about them. Granted, over the years, some great films have won. I’m a big fan of Unforgiven and I dug Shakespeare In Love. I just think far too many good films are ignored in favor of “Oscar movies.” I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with any of the films nominated this year, but there were a few categories were I feel like the little golden man statue when to the wrong film. Luckily, the internet exists and I can complain about it!

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Jump Scare

If you’re anything like me you probably would take a good psychological scarring over some dick in a mask jumping out at you any day of the week – at least when it comes to horror films. Nowadays it seems like the best is behind us when it comes to the genre, and what’s left is less a collection of disturbing concepts and more so the movie equivalent of a carnival spook house. That being said – I do like carnival spook houses – a fleeting scare is good when it’s done right. Sure, in the end these scares don’t hold a candle to say, the end of Rosemary’s Baby, but we can’t deny them either. So that’s what this list is: me sucking it up and admitting that the dick in the mask totally got me. I should tell you that I don’t wish to demerit these films for having jump scares in them; most of them have plenty of psychological scarring as well… take number ten, for example.

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Boiling Point

I’ve got a bit of an obsessive compulsive issue when it comes to DVDs and Blu-rays. I’m one of those suckers who will get caught every so often in a double-dip if I’m not paying attention. If I am being observant, I’m the guy who waits four extra months to get a disc with some special features attached. I really dug Transformers 3 and wanted to watch it again, but I’ll be damned if I was going to buy a disc with no extras on it! The issue that has my panties all aflame this week is all about special features and the lack thereof. Oh, most discs today come with some special features on them, but the “featurette” has become the bane of my existence. It used to just be what they called small extras on the disc, but now they’ve really emphasized the -ette, meaning mini, small, or useless.

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray is back with another big week of releases. This is the time of year when a lot of great fall releases, Oscar contenders new and old, and even a few summer blockbusters going for the double-dip get their more impressive debuts on the mother of all HD formats. This week we get to explore my personal favorite film of 2011, as well as some fantastic re-releases of classic films like To Kill a Mockingbird and Malcolm X. There will also be a discussion of The Thing (2011), albeit a brief one. Drive In recent interviews, director Nicolas Winding Refn has promised fans that a fully loaded edition of Drive would eventually make its way to Blu-ray, with plenty of extras, interviews and other special features. While I, like you, find that to be a nice idea, it’s also hard to overlook the urgency of getting 2011′s best film into my collection as soon as possible. And much to my surprise, this Blu-ray release is solid. Ryan Gosling is still Driver, he’s still driving fast and fighting for the girl, and he’s still punching out Christina Hendricks and stomping dudes flat in elevators in between driving scenes backed by the pulsing score of Cliff Martinez. There’s also some special treats. No, not a toothpick. Although I’d take it. This release comes complete with four featurettes, all worthy of your time, and a documentary-length interview with the film’s director. It’s an efficient package that, like the film to which it’s […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Another week another ton of DVDs hitting shelves both real and virtual, and while there are several worth renting and avoiding there are only two worth buying. One is visible immediately below, and the other? One of last year’s best films. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Perfect Sense (UK) A chef (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemiologist (Eva Green) meet and fall in love just as a strange new disease begins to spread worldwide. People are struck with a strong emotional response immediately followed by the loss of one of their senses. It’s like Contagion but with heart and personality. This is a beautiful film about life, love and what it means to be human. It’s a must-see about mankind’s resilience in the face of loss and devastation. Just be sure to watch it before your vision goes. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**

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Drinking Games

The rumored-about, questioned and criticized prequel to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 horror flick The Thing has come and gone. Now, it’s coming again, this week to DVD and Blu-ray. The flick tells the story behind the Norwegian outpost in Antarctica, chronicling the first people to dig the Thing out of the ice. Fans of the Carpenter classic will complain about the overuse of CGI and the pointlessness of the new film, but they may also find some likeable moments if they look hard enough. If not, they can always play this game and knock back a few glasses of Ringnes beer or whatever else they drink in Norway.

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Boiling Point

The Devil Inside is the talk of the town for two reasons: number one, it made around $35 million in its opening weekend, which is big no matter what qualifier you tack on, but when that qualifier is a reported $1 million acquisition cost, it’s gigantic. Number two (heheh), it sucks. It sucks bad. That’s nothing new, really, as everything about The Devil Inside screams shitty movie. First of all, it’s from the team that brought you Stay Alive. Second, it’s found footage. Third, it’s an exorcism movie. I’m surprised that people went to see it, because you list those three qualities and I am about as far from interested as possible. But rather than just throw another voice on the “what the fuck” bonfire, I wanted to take a few minutes and examine what we can learn from this situation.

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Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie and entertainment news column that, now that it’s a year old and feeling mature, is looking to bring you only the best links of the day. Think of it as your one-stop-shop for the best of the entertainment web. If you didn’t see it here, it probably wasn’t that good. If we missed it, just email it to neil@filmschoolrejects.com and we’ll consider it for tomorrow. We do this every night. We begin tonight with a new shot of Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man as a funeral-going Gwen Stacy. She’s looking quite sad. I wonder who died. Oh right, they are telling the origin story of Spider-Man again. I know who’s going to die.

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Hundreds of movies are released each year in theaters or straight to DVD, and a large percentage of them suck. A much smaller group though are fantastic slices of cinema that thrill, excite, invigorate and entertain, and while some of them are recognized at the box office many more are left to die a quick and undeserved death. And it’s essentially your fault. Of course I don’t mean you specifically, but instead I’m referring to the average American movie-goer who chose not to see these movies in the theater. They ignored the critical acclaim, reviews and recommendations from sites like ours and instead bought multiple tickets for the latest Twilight or Transformers movie. So while it’s too late to affect their box office returns (most of them anyway), Jack Giroux and Rob Hunter have put together a list of eleven movies that deserved far better treatment in 2011.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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