John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is the first important film about industrial American life in the Antarctic. It is based on a short story called “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell. (The short story has a fictionalized setting based on Richard Byrd’s Antarctic expeditions, which occurred from 1929 onward.) The movie is enjoyed at the stations as a rich Antarctic document, interwoven with classic Antarctic myths and probably accidental accuracies, but it is scarcely recognized off-continent beyond old-school horror fans. (In his otherwise comprehensive book “The Ice”, Antarctic academic Stephen Pyne remarks only that the movie is “clumsily filmed”.) Made in the ’80s, with analog, plaster, and an ocean of fake blood and bile, with decapitated heads that grow spiderlegs, with flamethrowers used safely indoors, the horror movie’s lurching technicalities and gruesome thrills have long shielded the picture from the stingy praise of Antarctic stamp-collectors and other tuck-shirted buffs.
To alleviate this stifling gridlock of cinematic injustice, Big Dead Place offers this All-John-Carpenter’s-”The Thing”-Review Section. We encourage you to watch the movie and send us your review. The movie was shot in Vancouver B.C. If this timeless Antarctic film does not quibble about location, why should you? There are no geographic prerequisites. Reviews from tropical islands are encouraged, provided they are even barely coherent and somehow treat the film’s Antarctic-ness.
The First Goddamn Week of Winter (Lazarus Danzig)
“The Thing” vs “Virus” (NSF Representative David M. Bresnahan)
Man is the Warmest Place to Hide (Jonny Lieberman)
A Valentine’s Day Review of The Thing (Wendy Wolfson)
The Thing Boardgame (Outpost #31 fansite)
Who goes there? Science, fiction, and belonging in Antarctica (Elena Glasberg)
“The extirpation of ‘Things’ who are indistinguishable from the men reestablishes the order of species as well as the authority of science over questions of the human even as it points up the instability and paradox of humanism.”