"The Thing" Versus "The Thing"
Oooh, I hate it when they make crappy remakes of my favorite movies! "Dawn Of The Dead", "The Manchurian Candidate", "Beer Makes Me Wee Wee" - I hate it! You just know that they're going to do a terrible remake of "The Dirty Dozen" - You just know it! Can I play the Robert Ryan character? I can do "prissy" real good!
But it's John Carpenter's 1982 remake of Howard Hawk's 1949 "The Thing From Another World" that really makes me run up and down the street flinging handfulls of my own feces at people. Fortunately writing for Acid Logic allows me to vent my frustrations in a more acceptable way. Now I keep my feces flinging to when they put on "Futurama" or "Reno 911". Hey, John Carpenter! Rob Zombie only made that mess out of "Halloween" to punish you for what you did to "The Thing"! It was either that or a video of Sid Haig going down on your Wife.
Both of these movies are based on a story by John W Campbell called "Who Goes There?". This story is set on the North Pole so I call it "Why Go There?". No wonder people hate me.
Howard Hawks was one of the Top Directors in Halloween when he made "The Thing" on 1949. And in those days you had to be really good to be one of the Top Directors. Nowadays you only have to . . . I don't know, why is Kevin Smith a famous Movie Director? He must suck a lot of dick. A whole lot of dick. A truly mind staggering amount of very important Hollywood dick. What other explanation could there possibly be? Howard Hawks was so good that any dick sucking he may have done was purely recreational. (Saleeby's prized statue of Notorious Hollywood Bimbo Bai Ling rises up into the air, sails across the room, and crashes on top of Saleeby's head. Could the vengeful Spirit Of Howard Hawks have been involved? Let's move on until this turns into "The Ghost And Mister Chicken". . .)
I'll say this much for John Carpenter - He's better than Kevin Smith. Why, this warm, glowing sensation - Is this how it feels when you send a big check to Save The Children? Charity Rules! Next time Jerry Lewis has a telethon I'll say sometthing nice about Ben Stiller.
Even though Christian Nyby is credited with directing the original everybody knows that Howard Hawks really directed it. Why does a nobody like Nyby get the credit? I think Hawks was embarrassed to have his name on a goofy B Movie about a Spaceman, same way I felt after I finished "Titanic" and let that Cameron dork put his name on it. That's the last time you'll see me huff gasoline for two straight years!
The original is over before you know it but the remake takes forever to get started and even longer to go away. In the original they spend a lot of time trying to kill a Monster, the remake is so dull it begins with some guys trying to kill a dog. But it's complicated - Not because the dog is so special, but because the guys are Norwegians. If there there is a nationality that should never be in a movie it's Norwegians. As seen in "The Thing" Norwegians can't shoot, Norwegians can't throw hand grenades, Norwegians can't fly a helicopter - Norwegians can't even kill a DOG, for cryin' out loud! Let's try a movie where they have to kill a herring. Later in the movie we see a Norwegian who has slit his wrists and throat with a razor blade. Why? Cause he's a fuckin' Norwegian! We're lucky he didn't slice off his nuts and move to Minnesota. Did Howard Hawks ever make a movie with any Norwegians in it? Hell, no! But John Carpenter? "Hey! You know what would have really livened up Howard Hawks' 'The Thing'? NORWEGIANS!" Are there any Norwegians in "Who Goes There"? "Who goes there?" "Sven!" "Sven who?" "Sventy Six Trombones Lead The Big Parade!" "Oh, Sven - You so crazy!"
And the characters in the remake - I don't know about you, but if I see two guys in a helicopter die while trying to killa dog I owe it to them to go after that dog and kill it it in their Honor, even if they are a couple of lame ass Norwegians. I sure as Hell wouldn't allow it to hang around in the Rec Room where everybody's playing cards and drinking booze. No wonder we've got so many Mexicans running all over the place!
Compare the heroes of the original with the heroes of the remake and ask yourself which ones you would want representing The Human Race against the advance wave of an invasion from Outer Space. The original is all about "Somebody is making trouble and we're gonna put a stop to it right now!", an attitude that has about as much to do with people today as "I want a girl just like the girl that married Dear Old Dad!" The remake is all about "Oh, shit! Oh, shit! What are we gonna do!?! What are we gonna do!?!" What a bunch of pussies! All they do is sulk around drinking, playing pool, and feeling sorry for themselves. It's like Saturday night at the Teke house (A little Late Seventies LSU Frat House Humor for you). When we first see Kurt Russell he's playing a game of chess against a computer - And getting his ass kicked! So he pitches a fit and dumps a glass of scotch inside the computer. I pour scotch into my computer and it orders Dean Martin CDs from Amazon. Hell, if the guys in the original were as fortunate as to have a high tech miracle like a computer chess game they'd break out the tool kit and convert it into a Super Duper Space Man Killing Death Ray Device! "Good work, boys!" Both films feature a Radio Operator and the one in the original spends most of the film all alone while everybody else is out Thing hunting. If the Screaming Meemie who handles Radio duties in the remake had to be all alone in the middle of that Bitch Fest all we'd hear is "No way, man! You're not leavin' me all alone with that Thing out there, man! Fuck that, man! Not me, man! No way, man!" But the guy in the original? "I'll be allright!" They probably didn't even have to pay him to be in the movie, he was just glad to help Howard Hawks get this picture done on time "You need help cleaning up? You want me to go out for sandwiches?" I hate that Radio Guy in the remake. Him and his stupid sunglasses. Kiss my ass, remake Radio Guy! Get a hair cut - You look like shit! Stupid Remake guys! This movie has less testosterone than a Kajagoogoo video. I'm not saying these guys are light in the loafers, but they're pretty slight in the show shoes. I haven't seen such hysteria since Forbis lost his "Caberet" DVD. Man, I am riffing like Peter Buck on "Losing My Religon"!
And quit putton' down James Arness as the original Thing! Who needs special effects? He's big and he wants to kill you - That's enough to scare me! If that doesn't do it for you no wonder people are dumb enough to go walking around in the shitty part of town late at night. Good Luck! I bet if you opened your front door and James Arness as The Thing From Another World was standing there you'd drop dead of a heart attack. But The Thing in the remake? Boring! If you opened your front door and saw it it would be in the form of, I dunno, your Sister and you'd say "Hi, Sis! What's going on?" and she'd say "Not much." Ten minutes later there would be a scene where tentacles shot out your eyeballs and people in the audience would go "Oh! See? His Sister was the Thing and now he is The Thing . . . I don't know . . . Hhhmm . . . " That is a Monster movie? Like "The Blob" - The Blob eats the old man and it gets bigger, it eats the Nurse and it gets bigger, it eats the Doctor and it gets bigger until finally it's bigger than a son of a bitch! Now, that's a Monster! If John Carpenter had remade "The Blob" it would have just turned into the old man, then it would have turned into the Nurse, then it would have turned into the Doctor, and then the whole movie would have turned into "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" without as much as a pod or two. Yeah! You thought "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" was crap, just imagine "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" without the pods. It would be "Invasion Of The Pod Snatchers"! Oh, man! Okay, okay, so I'm the only one hear that hates "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers". What are you gonna do? Make a duplcate of me that likes it much as everyone else? If I'm such an asshole why would you want a duplicate of me? So you can have two articles like this in every issue of Acid Logic instead of one? Go ahead! Do your worst!
Okay, now everybody agrees that the original "The Thing" is better than the remake and I can take take it easy for the first time in a quarter century. Whew! What did you say? The guy who produced "Battlestar Gallactica" is making another version of "The Thing" RIGHT NOW!?! I give up. I'll never have any peace, I'll never have a moment's rest, my Life will be one long struggle . . . Hey! "The Suite Life With Zach And Cody" is on!
One last thing before Brenda Song shows up - The original has nothing as silly as the scene in the remake in which it is discovered that The Thing is building a space ship out of helicopter parts. Did they even have helicopters in 1949? Maybe James Arness could have built a helicopter out of an egg timer and a saxophone? He was a smart guy! There's no telling what he could have come up with!
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
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