robochrist wrote:I don't think your devotion to Carpenters flick will provoke a lynch mob here, but I suppose you know there's a MASSIVE crowd out there who'd fight you to the end on that one.
Oh, sure. I know The Thing From Another World
has its devoted fans, just as I know Carpenter has his detractors. FWIW, I don't love (or even like) much of Carpenter's work, but I enjoyed his work with Kurt Russell (it may have helped that I was a yogurt-headed kid at the time) and I really liked They Live
as well. But I also liked Vampires
. Make of that what you will. Dark Star
(especially) and Halloween
didn't really do it for me.
The Thing remake would have held out better if Carpenter weren't ultimately such a hack. (He has a rep for coming up with good ideas but rarely knows how to do them full justice)
Both of the Escape From
... movies are examples of this. What wasted opportunities!
I mostly had trouble with the stupid-ass characters in his movie. They all act and sound like frat boys. The original holds to an intelligent tone throughout.
I dug the characters. I didn't necessarily think it believable that an Antarctic outpost could be populated by four scientists, two tightasses and six burnouts, but I liked their slovenly testosterone-fueled bullshit and how it believably turned into paranoia. Though fully half the cast seems misplaced in a scientific research facility, there was that frontier sensibility about the whole situation (neatly encapsulated in Macready's beard and Yosemite Sam flying hat) that made their laid-back no-girls-allowed treehouse vibe work for me.
While I always felt the original was a TAD overrated (I always thought THEM, for instance, to be superior as a film), it holds its status as a classic for good reason.
It's fine, no question. But I like Carpenter's better. I think the paranoia works better in it, and I definitely think it has aged better. The original feels a bit creaky to me, while the 1982 one feels almost like it could have been made last week. The small amount of stop-motion at the end, Macready's chess computer and Blair's computer-analysis of the "virus" are the only bits that date the film, IMHO. (Compare that to the barely-older Escape From New York
, which looked dated in 1986, let alone 1997 or today.)
(And I agree: THEM!
is superior to both.)
Carpenter's has MOMENTS. The ending, I feel, is by far its STRONGEST moment. But overall, it gets pretty damn trashy. It may get closer to the original story, but that doesn't mean it did the story justice.
Well, I disagree. My first encounter with "Who Goes There?" was in a paperback comic reprint collection entitled Questar
, which I gather from my half-assed internet research of two minutes ago was a 1977 collection of Starstream
comic adaptations of classic SF stories (I remember the book also contained a comic version of Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe."). One can see the cover here:http://www.milehighcomics.com/cgi-bin/b ... 840948%201
I couldn't have been more than eight years old, and the very concept of the story gave me nightmares. I didn't read the actual short story until years later... I actually have it on a piece of cardstock which was a publicity-kit item for Carpenter's movie. I do think the 1982 movie does the story justice, though as you say, there are many who disagree.
Look at the first version of I Am Legend, "Last Man On Earth". THAT movie comes closest to its source but it's the WORST!
For the record, the Carpenter movie that works best for me, other than Halloween, is THEY LIVE. It sticks to its humor best, and takes itself less seriously.
Well, that's certainly true. Carpenter does have a bad habit of coming across as self-important, and They Live
is refreshingly goofy.