On Location: Cast and Crew Screening of THE THING (2011)

On Friday, September 30th, Matthew and Ali attended a Toronto screening of the upcoming movie: THE THING, scheduled to hit theatres on October 14th. The Blood Theatre is happy to present an inside glimpse as they report back on what they saw.

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Let us start by saying this: the trailer does not do this film justice.

Ali: When I first saw the trailer, I thought that it was way too reminiscent of John Carpenter’s THE THING. I really hoped they weren’t trying to make a modernized replica and just pass it off as a prequel. I also thought that Mary Elizabeth Winstead was not a good fit for the lead because the shots used of her in the trailer depicted her as dull and lifeless. This was disappointing to me as I work for one of the casting directors and had already read the script. I knew it was unique but the trailer really didn’t reflect that. So while my friends and colleagues eagerly awaited its release, I felt my enthusiasm waning. Boy was I in for a treat! As it turns out, this film really impressed me. I walked out of the theatre feeling completely satisfied. I was so glad that my first impressions were wrong and I couldn’t wait to write about how great the experience was!

Matthew: I agree with everything that Ali said… the trailer is incredibly deceptive, which is either going to work for the film, or against it. The trailer left it very ambiguous as to whether the film was seeking to be a “remake”, a “prequel”, a “re-envisioning”, or some sort of fusion of all three. The fear that members of the horror and film community seem to have based on watching the trailer is that it is going to be almost shot-for-shot just a complete rehashing of John Carpenter’s classic. I think the most important thing for people to gain from our review of the film is this: it is very clear that the movie was made by true fans of John Carpenter’s THE THING, and they handled his material very tastefully without ever blatantly ripping it off. There were many, many subtle homages to the 1982 version, but the film was in every sense of the word, a well-crafted PREQUEL which ties into the Carpenter film perfectly.

Shot at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, with additional exterior shots filmed at a gravel pit that had been converted into an Antarctic landscape, the crew really had their work cut out for them and you best believe they delivered. It looks incredible.

While this film may contain some of the same elements – isolation, bad weather, people dying one by one, stress levels rising causing people to turn against each other and of course brutal, graphic and disgusting aliens bursting from the confines of human flesh — it is still, in fact, a different movie.

The acting is very good on all accounts. Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. really did an excellent job of allowing the characters to develop before the horror takes over.

Ali: The Norwegian actors stole the show. Lars and Jonas really stood out for me. I was delighted by their on-screen presence. Since Ames and I did our list of romantic horror and I rambled about my attraction to Kurt Russell and pretty much any full bearded man with kind features and intense eyes, I should probably point out that they make them in ginger too http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1970465/ *drools*

Matthew: I think it’s important to look at a film like this, which takes a remote, isolated setting, and packs in a pretty large cast. There you’ve got around a dozen characters which vary in terms of on-screen importance, and yet throughout the film the character development was handled so well, you not only knew who each character was, but you also cared and cheered them on — hoping they get out of each perilous situation. If you contrast that with, for example, a later Friday the 13th sequel in which the majority of the cast become easily forgettable victims, you really appreciate the time it took to flesh out each character. It’s only horrifying and tense if, for whatever reason, you want the person in danger to survive.

Now to the good stuff – the gore. It is full of perfectly balanced practical effects and CGI. And, as any fan of John Carpenter’s THE THING could guess: there is fire. Lots and lots of fire. Blood everywhere. Impalments, melting flesh, oozing liquids, and a whole plethora of grotesque delights for the eyes. Alien parts all fluttering about waiting to rip the skin from your face. Viewers beware!

Matthew: Another fear that seems to be surrounding this film is the use of CGI effects — namely, is computer animation overused, thus making the creature effects look fake and taking away the “realism” that dominated the 1982 film. The answer is a very astounding “no”. Hats off to the creative team behind the visual effects, in particular the concept artists who came up with the various disturbing, mutated versions of the creature. There are some really memorable effects, and overall, this horror fan certainly wasn’t disappointed!

Ali: There are times when the CGI is so obvious and in your face. Normally I would hate that, but honestly, this is the first time that my brain noted it and then accepted it and moved on how freakin’ cool it was.

But the thing that really stood out, the thing that really left you feeling irked and uneasy, the thing that really made us cringe when we fancy ourselves the un-cringe-able, is the sound The Thing makes. The petrifying screeching screams of epic proportions that flood your eardrums with every glance of this slimy disgusting mid-mutating creature.

Ali: I can hear it in my head right now. I can feel the sounds reverberating up my spine…I feel cold…

Matthew: It’s okay, Ali… it’ll all be over soon…

All in all this was a win, and we really hope it does well during its theatrical run. We encourage all horror/sci-fi/thriller/action fans to go and check it out, especially if you are already a fan of the previous films. As fans ourselves, we found the end of this one to be a real treat…so don’t get up from your seat until the lights come back on.

#The Thing