The more I think about John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic The Thing, the more I realize that the success of that movie is something that can never be replicated. Since its release nearly four decades ago, The Thing has endured as one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen in terms of the tension it creates, the practical effects, the performances, and the overwhelming foreboding atmosphere generated from being isolated in Antarctica. Universal tried to recreate that magic with a 2011 remake to disastrous results, wasting any and all potential for a by the numbers horror flick. There was even a time where the Sci-Fi Channel, before being rebranded as Syfy, once tried to get an original series based on the movie off the ground to no avail. Not everything needs a remake. Sometimes a classic should stay a classic and leave it at that.
Someone should really tell that to Blumhouse, as it looks like they’re trying to fast track a remake of the beloved horror classic for release in the near future. Blumhouse has made a name for themselves for quick and cheap, but highly profitable modern horror features. A general rule of thumb that I stand by is that most of their original movies, like Get Outor the Happy Death Daymovies are pretty good, while their remakes are usually god awful, like last year’s Black Christmasor 2015’s Jem and the Holograms. Yeah, that was Blumhouse.
Now fans of the original film may be quick to hate this idea, with memories of the 2011 version still seared into our brains, and I was the same way. Hell, I’m still not sold on remaking The Thing. The Thing, originally based on John W. Campbell. Jr.’s 1938 novella Who Goes There? is beloved by horror fans both young and old. The twist is that accoding to several sources, this remake of The Thing isn’t going to be based on Who Goes There?. Instead, it’s going to be based on the original full novel, which was only recently discovered. In actuality, Who Goes There? was a shortened version of a full story that Campbell had created but never released, making the story lost to time for nearly 80 years. The full manuscript was only recently discovered in a box of other manuscripts that were collecting dust at Harvard University. The full novel, now titled Frozen Hell, only was recently released to the public after a Kickstarter to fund for a new publication and features new additions like an entirely different opening.
Now what exactly does this mean for Blumhouse? If the rumors are true, their remake of The Thing will partially draw from the main adaptations of the original novella, but will primarily be based on the recently discovered novel, hence the fast tracked nature of this production. I’m of two minds about this. On one hand, seeing Campbell’s original story rediscovered is a fascinating piece of history and I would love to see just what changes could possibly be made in a new movie based on that new material. The problem is that while the material in Frozen Hell may be great, it will still have to contend with one of the best horror films ever made. No easy feat, but if Blumhouse is able to assemble a strong cast and crew, then maybe they could pull it off. Maybe.