Every fan of movies, but most particularly those in horror, are very wary when studios fuck with film classics. The worst are remakes followed close behind by sequels, prequels and re-imaginings. For every Godfather II, Aliens or Casino Royale, there are literally hundreds of bombs that piss you off to no end especially when you know these films are what will be watched by the young to a greater extent than the originals.
This October (2011), Universal Pictures is set to release a prequel to one of John Carpenter’s greatest films The Thing. It stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen and is directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. A few months ago we first mentioned The Thing prequel here at Yell! Magazine and at the time it had a release date at the end of April. Now that April is in the history books, we thought we’d revisit the movie and write a little more in-depth about it.
For those of you who haven’t seen the original, I suggest you take the time to watch it otherwise you may become lost in the following paragraphs. But since you’re here reading about a prequel, I must assume most of you have done so already and therefore I will continue.
When Carpenter directed the original he left a few mysteries behind pertaining to what happened before the American research team arrived in the Antarctic. During the course of the movie, we began to understand that a Norwegian team had been on the frozen continent previously and some bad shit happened to them. We concluded, without much difficulty, that the cause of their misfortune was the alien presently reeking havoc on MacReady (Kurt Russell) and his team. But we never did learn the exact circumstances of what came before.
What had happened to the dead guy with the slit throat near the crash site of the alien aircraft? What about the helicopter chase after the dog, who was the pilot that blew himself up with a grenade, and who was the crazed lunatic shooting at the husky? These questions, and others always pricked at the minds of viewers. It seemed that Carpenter left the story open enough that a prequel would not be an impossibility.
And here is where the pertinent question lies. Are these unanswered questions a good enough reason to revisit the classic ’80s film? In a perfect world, Carpenter would be directing this film and the question would be moot. But since that isn’t happening, we must hope that the producers stick as close to the timeline and events created in the original as possible. Otherwise, the film will be moronic. As you have read in our previous article this seems to be the case.
Will The Thing prequel be bomb like so many other second films of an original classic? If we are to guess our answer is no. If it does nothing more than to explain what went on before, then it’s a worthy endeavor. But whether it lives to stand up next to the original is another question. If the film isn’t pushed back again to a later release date, we’ll see in October.