The Thing from Another World is a science fiction / Horror movie directed by Christian Nyby.
The film was the the first adaptation of the short story Who Goes There which is about an alien creature who can shapeshift into different bodies, it uses this ability to murder exhibitionists in Antarctica by morphing into the bodies of the crew and killing them from behind false faces.
This adaptation was filmed in Black and White and in a sense is the most controversial due to general confusion about the films creation and artistic changes that had to be made due to the lack of technology at the time the film was made, the biggest change is the creature itself, the shapeshifting at the time was difficult to portray on film especially with such a small budget so instead a standard alien creature became the films threat, a controversial choice but at least it allows this version to stand out on its own.
The first and most well known debate is who actually directed the film, while Christian Nyby is officially posted as the films director, interviews with the cast years later revelated that Howard Hawkes directed the movie and gave Nyby the credit so that he could obtain his directors guild membership. Nyby denies Hawkes intervention and all but one cast member agreed that Hawkes did indeed direct the movie. What makes this so mysterious is that Hawkes denied directing the movie up until his death in 1977 leaving this as one of the biggest debates and mysteries in film history.
The casting in the film was great and its hard to pick out particular performances as everyone on screen were a lot of fun to watch and gave realistic performances. The Crew all have a really good connection in this and are genuinely very likable bouncing off of each others personalities, there are also disagreements though with some wanting to execute the creature while others want it studied.
Margaret Spencer who plays Nikki was memorable for her performance as the love interest of the Captain and how she uses her romantic advantages to help encourage him to make the best decisions and get what she wants.
The creature was played by James Arness and if you watch the movie you will notice that the creature is never shown close to the camera, this does make him more scary as he is hidden in the shadows but this choice was actually made due to the director being dissatisfied with the Makeup quality, famously a headpiece inspired by Frankenstein was also put onto Arness due to this.
For a low budget movie The Thing from Another World is really impressive in what it manages to pull off, the film was rated X even considering the lack of any blood or gore but the location and casting choices really helped to make this one memorable, the creature mostly communicates in grunts and moans, he generally punches and chokes his victims and due to his supernatural strength he definitely had the advantage over the captain and his crew. These choices are very 1950’s sci-fi and I love them, it reminds me very much of another classic from the 50’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon that film also had a creature who attacked and grunted in similar ways to this movie and both are very great films I highly recommend checking out this Halloween if you get the chance.
What a great find this movie was, I have always enjoyed the John Carpenter version but I never knew there was an original adaptation before that one and I was left pleasantly surprised with this, I saw this on the BBC I Player app so you may still find it there but I’m not sure if it is only available for a limited time, either way you really should check out this movie especially if you want to explore older Sci-fi and Horror classics.
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