HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Thing from Another World, The Watch The Skies
Year: 1951
Director: Christian Nyby
Stars: Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornthwaite, Douglas Spencer, James Young, Dewey Martin, Robert Nichols, William Self, Eduard Franz, Sally Creighton, James Arness
Genre: Horror, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Journalist Ned Scott (Douglas Spencer), known as Scotty, has just arrived in Alaska from warmer climes, and is not shy about letting people know he prefers to be warm. When he enters the bar where the military he is meant to be reporting on are spending time, he is welcomed and finds his interest piqued by a rumour that scientists have made a discovery closer to the North Pole, and steeling himself against this cold assignment, persuades the Captain, Patrick Hendry (Kenneth Tobey), to take him along. What has actually been found there is big news all right...

In 1951, two opposing but no less groundbreaking science fiction films were released; one was The Day the Earth Stood Still, which adopted the intellectual approach to its space aliens, suggesting they were of enormous intelligence and it was our burgeoning technology which provided the main source of their interest in us. Then there was this, The Thing from Another World, which had a far less high-falutin' opinion of our interstellar neighbours: they wanted our blood. So here was essentially the birth of one of the most enduring characters in horror: the monster from outer space, though this picture offered more to the genre than that.

The idea of flying saucers had caught on across the world, but particularly in the United States, ever since 1947 when a pilot named Kenneth Arnold spotted a fleet of odd craft soaring through the skies ahead of him like saucers skipping over the surface of water, as he described them. Thus a modern legend was born, a genuine mystery which spawned all sorts of theories, some more believable than others, but it took the decade of the fifties to really pick up that notion and run with it, laying down the groundwork for both fiction and supposed fact which would inform both genre and imagination right up to the present. If you thought such things were a threat, this movie had a lot to answer for.

Some have seen the alien discovered in the ice as a stand-in for the Communist menace to the Free World, and it's true this was a notably pro-military movie, but in adapting John W. Campbell's story for the big screen the fear of the unknown, specifically the fantastical unknown, was just as plausible for the target audience of the day. This may have been low budget compared to its rival, but the team of producer Howard Hawks and director Christian Nyby (the debate continues about exactly how much input each of them had) worked wonders in their resourcefulness, making a virtue of the fact most of this took place in a claustrophobic and none too attractive Arctic base.

It made it all seem that bit more authentic somehow, so once the monster (heavily made up, future Gunsmoke TV cowboy James Arness, who was not keen on the role) is thawed out from a block of ice - accidentally - and begins to stalk the compound, draining blood where it can find it, the tension is never overplayed, but kept at just the right simmering temperature until it explodes in select scenes. In the same way the creature was never overexposed, with any closeups removed to sustain its mystery, not that this prevented the film showcasing its threat in the correct and most apt circumstances with its tendency to jump out when you least expected it and display formidable power when it did.

We are in no doubt this was a danger to our planet, but the (bearded!) scientist here (Robert Cornthwaite) wishes to study and understand the visitor, making his would-be superiority the polar (pardon the pun) opposite of the can-do attitude, good sense and camaraderie of the others, as if to say the boffins - and by extension the statesmen - created the problems (specifically the atomic bomb) leaving the rest of us to solve them. That was with the assistance here of women's intuition courtesy of assistant Margaret Sheridan as it takes her to deduce what could work against the seemingly implacable foe, with its plans to spread its spores across the planet, presumably devouring us like the cabbages alluded to here in the colloquial, naturalistic dialogue. Not anti-science, more anti-unfeeling authority, the message here was nevertheless not one of reassurance, it was one of paranoia: that famous last line was "Keep watching the skies!", appropriate well into the future. Music by Dimitri Tiomkin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4044 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)
Posted by:
Stephanie Anderson
Date:
5 Feb 2012
  I love this movie. Its eerie and tense, and the effect with the creature approaching being signalled by the gigercounter works wonders. This is based off a 1930s story called Who goes there. The 1980's remake is much more accurate, but i can see why they didn't want the shapeshifting alien- it would be too hard to do on a low budget.
       
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
Date:
6 Feb 2012
  Combines Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy and all their thematic undertones into a single extraterrestrial menace. For my two cents, this is the key SF movie for the post-war generation much as Close Encounters of the Third Kind defines the Baby Boomers. And it's scary. Those enamoured of the John Carpenter remake, which is great of course, often overlook how unnerving the black and white original is.
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: