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The Thing from Another World thoughts.


The Thing from Another World is the 1951 precursor to John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). Both are based on a novella: “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell. I watched The Thing (1982) with my roommate last week, and this week, we watched The Thing From Another World. Here are a couple of my notes that I took today while watching the movie for the first time.

As a movie, The Thing from Another World is less suspenseful than The Thing—the stakes are not introduced as suddenly and intensely.

Interestingly, the thing in this one is “vegetable” or plant-based. the creature comes from a planet where instead of animals evolving to gain sentience, plants do. They set up an opposition: animals vs plants. Following that, humans are defined by their “emotions” and “sex,” with these elements limiting humanity’s “intelligence.” This is a direct foil to the characters of the captain Pat Hendry’s sexual relationship with Nikki Nicholson.

The characters feel less defined, only the scientist and the captain feel like they have unique characteristics.

Army interference—they’re told not to harm it even though the not-scientist-types want to destroy it.

I’m trying to think through the secrecy of the “scientists” vs. the “airmen.” Maybe it mirrors the idea of intelligence vs. emotion. Carrington is positioned as being motivated by scientific discovery for the sake of scientific discovery to the detriment of even other people’s lives.

The last line frames it. In the words of my roommate Solitaire, the movie “is about what being an American is” because it defines our hero(es), the airmen, as the good guys who persevere.

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