Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thing from another world

The stuff you notice when you're watching a classic sci-fi thriller alone after doing taxes all day and having a beer to cheer yourself up (and you happen to have a degree in all sort of costume/set/design things) include:

(CAUTION. Spoilers for the 1951 movie 'Thing from another world' follow. Not that it would probably change the movie for you much. I'm just saying)

* Costume notes on the main scientist character. He was wearing a horrid outfit. Grey hair, all-too-knowing-smart-ass-better-than-you look on his face. Turtleneck. Captains style coat. Grey tweed pants at least three sizes too big and too long for him (did they have a budget for his pants? He did have at least three distinct costumes!)

* Scientists deduce that something has melted ice and then refrozen just recently. And yet they walk out onto a lake of newly frozen ice without even vaguely checking to see if it's solid. Common sense anyone?

* Slang is strange in 1951. I'm smitten by the following lines. "Holy Cat!" (said several times) and "He's having kittens." (someone was scared)

the best one, about 'the monster'

"An intellectual carrot, the mind boggles!"

* I ask all other intelligent people out there. When you find a flying saucer, do you immediately use bombs on it? Really?

* I learned that shaking the camera makes things MUCH more thrilling. At least, the DOP on this movie clearly thought so. (I'm thinking Star Trek TNG learned some stuff from these old school RKO guys).

* Do you rope your sled dogs outside in the snow during a blizzard that "Could last weeks?" I feel as though that's ill advised.

* Scientists in this movie have the coolest outfits ever. See screen shot of one of their shirts. You can tell it's a tight t-shirt over a collared button up. Why? Who knows? He was wearing short pants and tall white socks too! And he smoked a pipe the whole movie.



* Great random quotes from movie,
"There are no enemies in Science Professor. Only phenomena to study. We are studying one."

(In regards to failing to kill the monster) "What if he can read our minds?" (answer) "He'll be real mad when he gets to me."

(I'd heard this one before. Never knew where it was from. I'm thinking the cold war inspired this theme in sci-fi for years.)
"Watch the skies everywhere. Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!"

Here's one of my two pages of doodles:



You can see the short pants sketch. There on the bottom right.

I read the original short story 'Who Goes There?' by John W. Campbell Jr. at this website. Not that great I have to say.

And there's always the 1982 John Carpenter The Thing.

When all is said and done if you like horror and/or sci-fi and you haven't had the pleasure of watching the Carpenter version, get it. Don't you dare watch it alone, but get it. (Oh and make sure you have a unicorn chaser afterwards or you'll have deranged nightmares).

And the rest, you can leave to nerds like me.

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