Author Topic: The Thing (1982) discussion.  (Read 6498 times)

Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #60 on: January 10, 2020, 06:34:08 PM »
Physical effects will always be better and more impressive than CGI, sorry claude.

Nah, that's bollocks. Now we are sort of through the teething problems of CG where the technology wasn't quite up to speed with people's intentions it really is just a tool now, like anything else in film making. It is all down to the talents of the people using the tools. It allows you to tell stories and create things that just aren't possible with practical effects. Just because it is misused by people doesn't make it bad. There's plenty of shit practical effects out there as well.

kalowski

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2020, 06:45:26 PM »
CGI gave us


Rick Baker gave us


You be the judge...

oy vey

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #62 on: January 10, 2020, 06:50:52 PM »
Thanks for setting up the thread.

Thoughts on The Thing... It's a perfect storm of writing, directing, acting, music, cinematography, shlock horror, deep thematic philosophies... whatever the fuck you want, it's there. Except women. But that's fine. I enjoy this movie sharing that niche "no women" category with 12 Angry Men. It's definitely in my top ten anyway...

But like every movie it's not without it's flaws. The helicopter issue - Jim Bob's right. Why build a spaceship, and how the fuck does that work? Other than that I only see tiny issues:

* The cell assimilation computer simulation thing that Blair is studying - well it's science fiction but poetic license for a quiet tense scene as the penny drops for Blair.
* The sound effects for dog alien as it busts through the ceiling takes me out a little. It sounds like someone noodling on a synth, which it probably is. Otherwise the alien sound work is superb. The Bennings/fucked-up-hand scene roar is tasty.
* The visual effects are for the most part stunning. Fuck you CGI. Once or twice some faces look like punctured dolls, and the Bennings assimilation looks like snakes on a blow-up doll. Otherwise fucking amazing. I echo the appreciation for the stop motion.

I recall reading the music is a mash-up of John Carpenter and Ennio by JC post-production (which Ennio wasn't happy about). Both styles fit perfectly. Ennio's steely orchestral violins during autospy scenes works and so does JC's synth heart beat during the dog run opening.

One thing always freaked me out - Blair waving the pen/pointer thing up to his mouth during the "We got to it before it had time to finish" scene... did he touch the thingy-dog with it? Keep that fucking thing away from your face dude. On the CGI argument - it has it's place.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2020, 06:51:46 PM »
CGI


Puppet


I mean I could go on.

Also, I'm fairly sure that the yellow slug alien (offensively named Claude) was a puppet.

bgmnts

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2020, 07:05:52 PM »
Yeah but its just not real. CGI just looks synthetic and slightly off to me, no matter how well its done.

Not slagging off computer work, I love animation and all that just want my live action stuff to have practical effects, personal choice.

Kryton

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #65 on: January 10, 2020, 07:08:11 PM »
Blair tapped his lip with a pen he'd used to poke the Thing during the autopsy scene. Apparently an error during acting and wasn't scripted, which has spawned a lot of discussion.

Which kinda creates more theories regarding the infection. Cool little accident I like to think makes it all more interesting.

NoSleep

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #66 on: January 10, 2020, 07:08:29 PM »
Can we at least agree that the opening is total balls?  We don't need to see a flying saucer falling to Earth, it would be much better if we didn't.

It saves a lot of time establishing that the craft under the ice is extraterrestrial (no time if any is taken up explaining this point elsewhere) and therefore no exposure to whatever is aboard has occurred beyond the vicinity of the landing site. It's wobbly trajectory also precurses the helicopter/dog scene (they're landing on Earth because they're already fucked).

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2020, 07:10:06 PM »
Yeah but its just not real. CGI just looks synthetic and slightly off to me, no matter how well its done.

Not slagging off computer work, I love animation and all that just want my live action stuff to have practical effects, personal choice.
Each to their own, I suppose.
Now get in the corner with madhair60!

Kryton

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #68 on: January 10, 2020, 07:33:45 PM »
Each to their own, I suppose.
Now get in the corner with madhair60!

Check for teeth fillings.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #69 on: January 10, 2020, 07:41:20 PM »
They've all had their gobs filled when I'm finished with them.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #70 on: January 10, 2020, 07:41:57 PM »
... with humble pie.

oy vey

  • [sic]
Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #71 on: January 10, 2020, 08:17:57 PM »
Blair tapped his lip with a pen he'd used to poke the Thing during the autopsy scene. Apparently an error during acting and wasn't scripted, which has spawned a lot of discussion.

Which kinda creates more theories regarding the infection. Cool little accident I like to think makes it all more interesting.

Ah yeah I hadn't thought about that. I assumed Blair changed /was nabbed post-solitary.

Something else I find funny is Blair's reaction during the Norwegian-man-mess autopsy. "Well what we have here is a normal set of internal organs..." Almost chipper. During the dog autopsy scene it's "ooooooaaaahhh oooohhh" disgust. Blair was funny. I'll kill yeeeeww!

Kryton

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #72 on: January 10, 2020, 08:49:20 PM »
I think Blair was still human when he went fucking mental and smashed everything up. I think a Thing trying to do that would draw too much attention to itself. Maybe he was slowly infected by the incident with the pen, or as you say was later fucked over by being isolated. The noose in his cabin seems to suggest the latter.

I always felt sorry for Clark too. Poor bastard was just upset about his dogs.


** Does a 'new' Thing know it's infected or does the parasite organism just burst out suddenly? I think that every cell gets hijacked after even a small amount of contamination and slowly the consciousness of the host becomes the alien? Only revealing itself when cornered or susses out. Self preservation and such. I.e depending on the severity of infection, some might fully well know but others don't? I think that's the scary part.


oy vey

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #73 on: January 10, 2020, 08:59:31 PM »
^
I think the slow shift of consciousness is a good (and chilling) idea. Either in the behind the scenes documentary or the JC/KR commentary (I can't remember) there's a mention of the idea that Norris sub-consciously realises something is wrong with him when he refuses to become leader - "Sorry guys I'm just not up to it".

Kryton

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #74 on: January 10, 2020, 09:13:20 PM »
^
I think the slow shift of consciousness is a good (and chilling) idea. Either in the behind the scenes documentary or the JC/KR commentary (I can't remember) there's a mention of the idea that Norris sub-consciously realises something is wrong with him when he refuses to become leader - "Sorry guys I'm just not up to it".

Yeah it's a far more chilling idea than it just being a burst of body horror. The idea that there's inner conflict too.
This is what makes it my favourite horror movie. It's not about the gore or the alien, it's the philosophy of the self that gets dragged into question. At what point does a human lose itself to the Thing? At what level? Cellular obviously, but how long does it take to lose control of all senses, to be replaced completely by the mimic?

Kryton

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #75 on: January 10, 2020, 09:33:46 PM »
I'm also divided on the Macready being the Thing.

Points for:
He's the first (only?) to drink alcohol from the same bottle from Bennings just after Bennings gets licked by the dog.
Mac ultimately takes charge and leadership.
Mac shoots a human.
The ripped clothing.
Although he kills a few of the Things, it might be an act of self preservation, as he has witnesses.
Goes missing for a bit.
Threatens to blow everything up with dynamite. Bluff.
Administers his own blood test. Blood bags have previously gone missing.
Destroys the facility.
At the end he shares a bottle with Childs. Who is holding a flame thrower. Mirroring the first encounter. 'Let's just stay a while and see what happens'.


Points against:
Early scene shows Mac playing chess and losing against a computer. When he loses he pours whiskey into the computer destroying it. This is mirrored at the end by offering his seeming rival a whiskey.
Mac kills a human (who was pretty dodgy). He shot him because he pulled a knife. Self defence but it ruled one out potentially.
First to suggest a blood test.
Kills more Things than anyone else.
Threatens to blow everyone up with dynamite. Human desperation and survival and preventation of spreading.
At the end says to wait. Gets drunk.

Quote
Keith David, the actor who played Childs, is a regular participant and has consistently and emphatically stated that, as far as he is concerned, Childs was not a Thing at the end of the movie. The links in this paragraph are from Sci-Fi/Horror Q&A panels with either Keith David alone, or most of the cast together, and in all of them, David repeats the same basic account:

The scene was shot a couple of times, with different direction from Carpenter each time. In one shoot, Russell and David were told to play the scene as though they knew that one of them was the Thing (actually, in one Q&A panel, he says there was one shoot in which Childs was supposed to know he was the Thing, and one in which Mac was supposed to know he was the Thing). In the shoot that ended up in the film we see today, both men were told to play the scene as though they were not the Thing. And in every interview, David insists "It wasn't me", but this is clearly his opinion, not necessarily the truth.

https://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/73gulr/i_know_who_the_thing_is_in_the_1982_classic_the/

I like to think neither of them were infected at the end. But if I was to choose one it would be Mac.



« Last Edit: January 10, 2020, 09:45:05 PM by Kryton »

Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #76 on: January 10, 2020, 09:54:45 PM »
I always thought that neither were infected but could never be sure so would have to die out there together to be sure that it didn't spread

Kryton

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #77 on: January 10, 2020, 10:17:00 PM »
I always thought that neither were infected but could never be sure so would have to die out there together to be sure that it didn't spread

Which is probably the best ending. But the ambiguity rocks.

Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #78 on: January 10, 2020, 10:35:28 PM »
isnt the point a twilight zone esque "is the alien as bad as man"?

god if you think body horror is cool and you've never seen this. why not. A HEAD WITH LEGS

Rev+

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #79 on: January 10, 2020, 11:01:59 PM »
It's the results that matter isn't it? CGI can be great, or it can be shite. And so can in camera practical effects. Some good, some bad, The Thing is to be praised because they did it well.

You lose a bit of the 'fucking hell' factor with CGI, because with practical effects you're essentially being shown a magic trick.  I used to obsessively rewind VHS tapes of The Thing and assorted ropey old horror flicks in an attempt to figure out how they'd pulled off a particular effect.  That has nothing to do with putting a story on the screen, but I really miss the jolt that proper inexplicable grunginess could give you.

bgmnts

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #80 on: January 10, 2020, 11:04:00 PM »
Macready definitely isn't a Thing. I think Child's becomes a Thing at the end.

I can't remember what the video game, which takes place after (and is actually decent check it out), weighs in with.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #81 on: January 10, 2020, 11:51:25 PM »
Mac-ready found out that his firewire wasn't Windows compatible.

You lose a bit of the 'fucking hell' factor with CGI, because with practical effects you're essentially being shown a magic trick.  I used to obsessively rewind VHS tapes of The Thing and assorted ropey old horror flicks in an attempt to figure out how they'd pulled off a particular effect. That has nothing to do with putting a story on the screen, but I really miss the jolt that proper inexplicable grunginess could give you.
I think there are a few factors involved:It might not be the main thing, but I do think nostalgia is part of it, to some extent. Remember when The Hobbit was released in that high frame rate? Some people said,"Wow! This looks amazing!" while others said, "This is hideous. Films just don't look like that."
The latter group were correct in that instance (and sexy, too) but that was really just because we're so used to films being shot at 24fps, just as we're used to practical effects. I am certain that kids who've grown up with CGI will view it as completely normal.

Experience is another. We've all tried to paint a picture before. Most of us were probably terrible at it, but we understand the process well enough to know how skilled you need to be to paint something even halfway good. I expect most people probably haven't tried their hand at making CGI, hence the common misapprehension that the computer does all the work. As an occasional (and pretty crummy) CGI making person, I get plenty of 'fucking hell' factor from even middling efforts.

Also, yeah, there are a lot of poorly implemented CGI effects out there, which have given people a bad impression of the technology.
Fun fact: Upon watching Mad Max Fury Road, my sister voiced the opinion that it was "Just a load of CGI shite." I think that anecdotal evidence, featuring a sample pool of one is clinching proof.

Also, the The Thing's head-spider looks comically rubbish. And no, I am not fucking kidding. You can tell it's real and you can also tell that it's trundling along on wheels.

Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #82 on: January 11, 2020, 12:05:54 AM »
the green stringy stuff when the head drops off is awesomely gruesome and i've no problem with the head monster running about before it gets flamed. I genuinely don't see any strings that spoil the illusion for me. but go nuts by all means.

madhair60

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #83 on: January 11, 2020, 12:13:33 AM »
ooh CGI isn't as good as a dummy because when I was a kid it was the dummy so its better.

Jim Bob

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #84 on: January 11, 2020, 12:54:56 AM »
As someone who occasionally works with CGI, that sort of attitude makes me want to tear my luxurious, non-mad hair out.

CGI has its place, but ideally, it ought to be utilised in a way which supplements the physical on-set elements, as opposed to outright replacing them.  If a shot can be achieved practically, within reason, then that’s preferable.  Without doubt, CGI is absolutely a tool which involves great skill to be executed well but it’s also a tool which is all too often overused within modern filmmaking.  Sadly, all too often within the landscape of today’s movies, CGI is employed out of sheer laziness.  Can’t be bothered to do it on set?  Let the computer monkeys worry about it later.

At the very least, I think that when it comes to creature features and the horror genre on the whole, as a general rule of thumb, practical effects cannot be beaten.  Fear is rooted in the tangible.  We’re frightened by that which exists, even if it only exists as a puppet.  As an example, it’s why stop-motion is inherently creepy; because the jerkiness of the animation is offset by the fact that the eye sees it as a real thing, because it’s a real object which exists within the real world; it’s the uncanny valley effect working in a manner which is to its own benefit.  One of the worst things that ever happened to the horror genre was the advent of CGI.

It’s why the rat monkey in Braindead is as creepy as fuck and why the monsters within the recent It adaptation are as laughable as fuck.  I’m not scared by a videogame cutscene in the same way that I am by something tangible; something which I can touch and therefore, something which can equally potentially touch and even subconsciously, potentially harm me.  If one can film something practically on-set, then darn well do it and if something can only be depicted via CGI, then maybe question whether it should even be depicted at all.  Just because one can put something onscreen, doesn’t necessarily mean that one should.  Creatively speaking, quite often limitations are a good thing.

A further example of the intrusion of CGI within the horror genre is that of blood splatter, which tends to be mostly computer generated nowadays; using a computer to simulate something which is intrinsically random.  The human eye picks up on that.  The mind is a complex thing and cannot be so easily fooled.  All the algorithms in the world can’t truly capture the random nature of nature itself.  You simply can’t beat a good old fashioned squib.  When I see a practical effect, even if it looks hokey, I can see that it’s something which exists within the real world.  Whereas all too often with CGI effects, all I see is ones and zeros.

Having said that, the best effect is the one which you don’t notice.  On that note, the best CGI that I’ve ever seen is within David Fincher’s Zodiac (recreating period appropriate locations) and I only ever knew that it was CGI because I watched the ‘making of’ documentary on the Blu-Ray.  However, a lot of people will tell you that the best CGI is Gollum in The Lord of the Rings or the vistas and creatures in James Cameron’s Avatar.  I look at those examples and all I see is egregious fakery.  My eye knows, upon an intrinsic level, that what I’m seeing was not on set and is instead something stored in binary data on a hard drive.  There’s a cognitive disconnect there, which makes it difficult to suspend one’s disbelief.

Ultimately, I just find there to be something a tad detached about even the best of CGI creatures; something vaguely cold and clinical.  Such CGI effects are fundamentally intangible and whilst it’s undeniably art, it’s not art which I particularly care for, as subjective as that may be.  At least not in the same way that I’ve had tingles of sheer delight sent down my spine when seeing the original stop motion skeleton for King Kong, or a full sized replica of H.R. Giger’s Alien, when visiting film museums.  What am I going to do for CGI art?  Hook up a USB stick?

I gaze at the practical effects in The Thing with awe.  I admire the craft; the hands which physically sculputured every wrinkle and detail.  I cannot say the same for creatures rendered via software and a million mouse clicks, even though I respect the talent and skill involved in creating them.  CGI has its place and is an invaluable tool, but it should never come at the cost of filming practical effects whenever possible.

...it really is just a tool now, like anything else in film making. It is all down to the talents of the people using the tools. It allows you to tell stories and create things that just aren't possible with practical effects. Just because it is misused by people doesn't make it bad. There's plenty of shit practical effects out there as well.

And just for the record, this is absolutely true.  I’m not claiming that all practical effects are automatically superior to all CGI effects.  Merely that if it can be done practically, to a reasonable standard, then it ought to be done as so.  You can’t beat reality; the interaction of light; that tangible quality.  CGI is an emulation of reality.  When and where one can, it’s preferable to make use of reality, rather than to emulate it.

CGI gave us

Uhhhhh, mate.  That’s a puppet.  Piss poor designs can be executed via either CGI or practical effects.

Blair was funny. I'll kill yeeeeww!

I adore that line reading.  Makes me laugh every time.

I like to think neither of them were infected at the end.

The Thing is a part of John Carpenter’s “Apocalyptic Trilogy” for a reason, the key word being “apocalyptic”.  At least one of them was infected and as a result, the world is doomed.  The whole film is one big chess game and MacReady responds to losing the game, both at the start and the end of the narrative, by resorting to the bottle.  There’s no happily ever after to be found here.  The world is well and truly fucked.

Also, the The Thing's head-spider looks comically rubbish. And no, I am not fucking kidding. You can tell it's real and you can also tell that it's trundling along on wheels.

Whilst this is true, the ludicrous nature of the effect only adds to a the absurdity of the “you’ve got to be fucking kidding” gag.  Palmer’s line wouldn’t be nearly as funny without the head-things little legs scuttling away in such a silly manner.  That and Gary’s “I’d rather not spend the rest of this Winter tied to this fucking couch” line provide the biggest laughs in the entire film.  Both are exemplary examples of masterfully relieving the tension of the situation with humour.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2020, 04:55:47 AM by Jim Bob »

Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #85 on: January 11, 2020, 01:54:28 AM »
SF author Peter Watts wrote a good short story from the point of view of the Thing itself.....

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/watts_01_10/

It's good to see the bad things get a say for once, isn't it?

Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #86 on: January 11, 2020, 03:32:58 AM »
Also, the The Thing's head-spider looks comically rubbish. And no, I am not fucking kidding. You can tell it's real and you can also tell that it's trundling along on wheels.

The shot of it actually growing the legs looks great though.

Jim Bob

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #87 on: January 11, 2020, 04:59:49 AM »
SF author Peter Watts wrote a good short story from the point of view of the Thing itself.....

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/watts_01_10/

It's good to see the bad things get a say for once, isn't it?

I’ve read this before and it’s very good.

The shot of it actually growing the legs looks great though.

Yep.

kalowski

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #88 on: January 11, 2020, 08:18:45 AM »
I've only seen Rise of Skywalker once, but I'm not convinced that was a puppet. If it was, they added some sort of CGI sheen.

Jim Bob

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Re: The Thing (1982) discussion.
« Reply #89 on: January 11, 2020, 01:53:31 PM »
I've only seen Rise of Skywalker once, but I'm not convinced that was a puppet. If it was, they added some sort of CGI sheen.


The sheen to which is refer is on-set lighting (i.e. cinematography).  It's an animatronic, through and through.

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