It's just shy of 30 years since John Carpenter released his paranoia-laced horror film The Thing. A woolly-looking Kurt Russell as American R.J. MacReady is stationed with his team in a remote Antarctic outpost, and they discover a shape-shifting alien that starts to pick them off one by one.
At the time, The Thing wasn't considered a commercial and critical success for Carpenter, but it has since become a cult darling replete with its own comic-book miniseries and video game. Next year The Thing even gets a prequel (although strangely with the same name) that reveals the horrors of the Norwegian scientific team that operated across the tundra from the American team and was the first to unleash the long-frozen alien organism.
Over the weekend at New York Comic Con, director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and some of his cast, including Eric Christian Olsen, Joel Edgerton and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, debuted the first trailer for The Thing, explained to many of the young faces at the panel that there WAS an original, and explained to those who adore Carpenter's film that there's more to be had in this prequel than a cynical, derivative raid of the Universal catalog.
Blastr talked to the Thing contingent afterward and got from them four reasons why their Thing won't suck:
1: It's practical, baby.
Director Matthijs van Heijningen explained that he decided to go with a majority of practical visual and special effects rather than CGI to achieve more realism. Unlike the original, which was shot on soundstages, the new production also shot some locations in Alaska.
2: It's not just another torture-porn horror film.
Actor Eric Christian Olsen, who plays scientist Adam Goodman, said about the film, "This is storytelling. It's not a slasher film. It's a film about characters that we identify with and make this journey with and what happens to them when rules fall apart and society no longer dictates how we treat each other; it's just about self-preservation. It's not like someone runs out of a cabin and gets stabbed."
3: The film has a distinctly European vibe to it.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje said van Heijningen infuses the film with a very European aesthetic, which adds a strong air of realism. "For instance, there's really only one gunshot in the movie, and he really wanted that one gunshot to matter. It also comes across with the actors he chose, because there is a large Norwegian cast, and quite a bit of Norwegian is spoken ... and for the audience that adds realism, and the use of subtitles really makes them focus on the screen."
4: Old-school Thing fans will get rewarded for their devotion.
Joel Edgerton, who plays helicopter pilot Sam Carter, said fans who love the original will finally get to discover how some of the biggest mysteries at the Norwegian camp came to be in the prequel. "A few of the things you do know about the original film, like the man who committed suicide, the ax in the door and the first morphed alien/human figure, you'll see how it all happens and who those people are. It's a great story about the mixture of grunt workers and scientists that get stuck in this terrible mess. It crosses a lot of t's and dots a lot of i's from that first half an hour of Carpenter's movie."