Halloween Countdown : The Thing From Another World

As we countdown to Halloween for another year, it is truly scary how much Christmas stuff has appeared in shops BEFORE HALLOWEEN HAS EVEN ARRIVED!!  Anyway, to keep the premature Christmas celebrations at bay the plan over the next couple of weeks is to watch as many horror films as possible. Let's call it the Halloween Countdown 2016. Proceed....if you dare.

The Thing From Another World (Howard Hawks, 1951) has a place in movie history as a famous and iconic sci-fi horror B-movie, so it's a bit of a let-down to find it's quite a creaky one. It has an intriguing set-up as a team of scientists and military personnel excavate a UFO from deep in the Arctic ice, only to set something loose (Spoiler: It's the Thing). Disappointingly, however, the Thing itself takes an inordinate length of time to turn up, and when it does it lurches about unconvincingly - one character even describes it as a super-carrot, which doesn't exactly strike fear into the heart. Perhaps that explains why the various scientists and military personnel react to the threat by looking mildly surprised, rather than terrified, as they discuss politely how to deal with it. Still, it has intelligent dialogue, a good last line ("Watch the skies!") and is notable for having the first full body burn stunt in the movies. You can sense the panic in that scene alright as the stuntman within The Thing costume (Tom Steele, doused in gasoline, set alight and breathing from a highly combustible oxygen canister) is moving pretty damn fast indeed! Still, all in all, you'd be better off with the excellent John Carpenter remake The Thing (1982).

A full list of films in the Halloween Countdown 2016 is here

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