Monday, May 6, 2013

Ask Me a Question: The Thing

Back again for night three of EW's Cape Town Film Festival at The Egyptian Theater.  Tonight's main dish?  1982's The Thing with introduction and discussion with director John Carpenter!

To get us warm in the pants, a bevy of 35mm trailers played to much fanfare.  Christine, Starman, Prince of Darkness, They Live and more but no Big Trouble In Little China!

Mr. Carpenter watched the mini-career retrospective from the wings and came out to warm applause. 

The hits included:

- It was cold!  The Thing was filmed on set at Universal and on location in British Columbia.
- The all male cast worked hard, had fun and did their best to hit on the few women in BC to much chagrin of the locals.  A gun or two may have been pulled on the cast.
- One effect they couldn't figure out was having the monster attacking from beneath the ice.
- Universal wanted the movie to end after Mac Ready blows up the structure instead of finding Childs and leaving the audience to ponder if either one is now The Thing.
- Carpenter fought for his ending as as both versions tested badly.
- Upon release, an audience member asked who was The Thing?  When told to use her imagination, she said, "I hate doing that!".
- The movie tanked, the studio didn't know what to do with it.
- No comment on the 2011 version.  They worked hard, don't need his two cents.
- There's two types of remakes, 1) He gets a lunch and 2) He gets a check.  Likes # 2 better!
- Working on a comic book and an adaptation of Darkchylde.

With that, he left us with his usual excuse for needing to meet his drug dealer and catch the basketball playoffs.

The movie played and is still a prime example of character based horror at it's best.  The themes of paranoia and fear mixed with Rob Bottin's incredibly unnerving creature effects had the audience jumping out of their seats.  All of the elements come together for this flick, the arctic setting, the gallery of characters, freaky aliens, freakier effects and a sense of humor so you don't feel bad when it all ends.

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