New Version of 'The Thing' Is a Waste of Your Date Night

It's Friday and you have a date night planned, can I get a hallelujah. You have actual lipstick on and you're vibrating with excitement over the idea of eating dinner where someone else prepares the food, does the dishes, and never once demands that you share your dessert. Now, the final detail to iron out before the babysitter arrives: what movie should you see?

If you're thinking of buying tickets for The Thing, let me suggestion a new plan of action for you. Take the cash you were going to spend at the theater and go buy some delicious fattening snacks, then go home, kick off your heels, plant your ass on the couch—and watch the 1982 version instead. Because that is the version of The Thing that is a must-see.


The whole movie franchise is a little confusing. First there was the original The Thing from Another World, which came out in 1951. Then there was the John Carpenter remake in 1982. And now there's the 2011 version, which is actually a prequel.

Whatever on all that—the important thing is that the one you want to watch is the 1982 version. Yes, the special effects are a little crude compared to today's fancy-pants CGI splatter, but I actually think that makes a horror movie feel more authentic. It may be latex and tinted Karo syrup they were slinging around back in the day, but at least it's really there, you know? I swear there's a difference between a scene that contains physical FX, and one that relies on a green screen.

The 2011 prequel has a good story to tell, being set in the Antarctic landscape and focusing on what happened at the mysterious Norwegian base that was gruesomely destroyed in the 1982 movie. Still, it's missing a few key elements. Like Kurt Russell. I mean, come on: 1982 era Kurt effing Russell. Kurt Russell with a flamethrower, even. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Or DOES it? Because you know who else is awesome in the 1982 version? WILFORD BRIMLEY. Yes, the oatmeal dude. Don't believe me? FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE AWESOME:

(I know, right? Kinda feisty for a guy with the diabeetus.)

(Oh, and by the way, the reason The Thing is so freaking scary isn't totally because of the horrible deadly alien that's ruthlessly killing everyone—it's because the monster can assume the shape of any living creature, so you've got ratcheting paranoia of your fellow man to deal with on top of that whole "OMFG space monster" deal.)

Whether it's because it truly isn't good on its own, or because it's being unfairly compared to the brilliant original, critics are panning the new version left and right:

Where the earlier film pulsed with precisely calibrated paranoia and distinctly drawn characters, this inarticulate replay unfolds as mechanistically as a video game. — New York Times

Like The Thing itself, the film seeks to ape the form and behavior of something genuine, but you don't need a fancy test to tell that this is a shoddy replica. — NPR

Blame it on the script? Blame it on the CGI? Blame it on the director? I can't pinpoint what is blame, but 'The Thing' should've remained buried in 1982.  — BET

It's frustrating to see talent, money and time poured into a project that's just a pale, pointless imitation of something that's already perfectly great on its own. — Cinema Blend

There, I just saved your date night. You're welcome. Now pass the popcorn.

Did you see the 1982 version of The Thing? Are you going to take my advice and go rent it now? Huh? Huh? Are you?

Image via IMDB

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