Sci-Fi Classic, ‘The Thing’ (1951)

The Thing (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

Welcome to Nooze-free Sunday! It’s also on the verge of being reader-free: where did everybody go?

So yesterday we watched The Thing (from Another World), the original film classic from 1951. The date’s important: by 1951, “flying saucers” could still be called “flying discs” and hadn’t yet morphed into a whole cultural industry. Astoundingly enough, this movie does a superb job of conveying the menace of the unknown. It has stood up very well indeed to the passage of 70 years, outlasting and outperforming scores of modern UFO-themed movies.

You do have to laugh off some evolutionary palaver, and accept the premise that intelligent vegetable life on a planet far, far away can produce a being that looks like James Arness.

But never mind all that! There are the guys standing around, trying to figure out how to get the flying saucer out of the ice at the North Pole, and skipping blithely ahead into horrible danger. This is suspenseful. I admit it creeped me out. Someone should’ve been there to cry, “Wait, wait, please wait! Are we sure this is a good idea?” Not that anyone would listen.

Well, it turns out not to be a good idea. Meanwhile, the general back in Anchorage keeps transmitting orders that are always two steps behind the ongoing disaster. Typical!

The Thing (not to be confused with Joe Biden’s description of the Declaration of Independence) is an unpretentious, solid, classic science fiction/horror movie–just the ticket for a dreary grey day in the middle of the winter.