John Carpenter’s The Thing. 1982 saw a plethora of great genre films, and this one got lost in the mix. How exactly do you compete with Blade Runner; E.T.: The Extraterrestrial; Tron; and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? It did not do well at the box office. It had some poor reviews, most notably from Roger Ebert, who said, “…this material has been done before, and better…”
There have been a few films that took audiences and critics years, if not decades, to warm to, and this is one of them. It is now considered a classic of the genre, and often appears in top ten lists. It is favorably mentioned alongside Blade Runner and Alien. Its makeup effects, which at first was off-putting to some audiences and critics, were ahead of their time, and still stand up today.
This is Part 1 of a 2-Part episode.
Troy Harkin and David Clink, the Two Old Farts of this podcast, will look at the 1982 film in detail, but will also look at the 1951 film, and the 2011 prequel. There may be some discussion on the story, Who Goes There, by John W. Campbell (who has recently been cancelled), which the movies are based on. In the case of the Howard Hawks film, a much looser adaptation, whereas the John Carpenter film, starring Kurt Russell, was a much closer version.
About John W. Campbell being cancelled, here is an excerpt from an article titled: John W. Campbell Award Is Renamed After Winner Criticizes Him, published in The New York Times, August 28, 2019, and updated on Sept 1, 2019, written by Peter Libbey:
The decision to remove Campbell’s name from the award came after this year’s winner, Jeannette Ng, criticized him in her acceptance speech. “He is responsible for setting a tone for science fiction that haunts this genre to this very day,” she said. “Stale, sterile, male, white, exalting in the ambitions of imperialists, colonialists, settlers and industrialists.”
Click on this image to take you to the full article:
This episode is being broadcast on Saturday, May 27, 2023.
Troy and David are joined by two guests. Please see their bios and author photos below.
Carolyn Clink is David’s sister, and this is her first time being a guest on the TOF podcast. She lists the 1982 film, The Thing, as her favourite all-time genre movie. Being a first-time guest, Troy and David ask her about her early genre memories, and what her all-time genre faves are.
Sandra Kasturi makes her third appearance as a guest. Sandra first appeared on the Season 1 episode 13 and 14 on Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (September 2021). She next guested on Season 3 episode 2 and 3 on Folk Horror (July 2022?), which took a careful look at The Wicker Man and MidSommar. Sandra joins Bev Vincent and Ira Nayman as guests who have appeared on three different topics.
Carolyn Clink is a poet living in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
She won the Aurora Award for Best Poem/Song in 2022 for “Cat People Café” and in 2011 for “The ABCs of the End of the World.”
Her genre poetry publications include: Weird Tales, Analog, Imaginarium 2012: the Best Canadian Speculative Writing, Polar Starlight, Polar Borealis, On-Spec, Tesseracts, Frost Zone Zine, Eye to the Telescope, Tales of the Unanticipated, Room, and all 5 volumes of Northern Frights.
Sandra Kasturi is an award-winning poet, writer, and editor, with work appearing in many places including ON SPEC, several Tesseracts anthologies, and 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin.
Her two poetry collections are: The Animal Bridegroom (with an introduction by Neil Gaiman) and Come Late to the Love of Birds (both from Tightrope Books).
Sandra recently won second prize in The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. She is also the winner of the Sunburst Award for her story “The Beautiful Gears of Dying” and ARC Magazine‘s Poem of the Year Award for “Old Men, Smoking.”