Welcome to the latest edition of the Haiku Review’s Remake Spotlight, which focuses on the recently-released 2011 version of The Thing and John Carpenter’s 1982 installment (which was itself a remake of the 1951 horror film The Thing from Another World). Technically, the newest Thing is a prequel, since it’s set prior to events of Carpenter’s, but considering it follows the exact same formula as its predecessor and doesn’t even have a different name or a titular qualifier, we’ll just call it a “premake.” So read on to find which film is the real Thing and which deserves the flamethrower?

The Thing (1982)

Starring: Kurt Russell, A. Wilford Brimley, Keith David & Richard Dysart
Screenplay by Bill Lancaster
Directed by John Carpenter

In the winter of 1982, twelve men at a remote research station in Antarctica are besieged by a recently-unearthed alien that has the terrifying ability to mimic its prey.

Paranoia plus
Russell with a flamethrower
equals perfection.

Grade: A


The Thing (2011)

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje & Eric Christian Olsen
Written by Eric Heisserer
Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen

A paleontologist travels to a Swedish research station in Antarctica to analyze an extraterrestrial being that has been frozen in the ice for over 100,00 years, but when it escapes, the entire team finds itself under attack by a creature that can mimic its prey.

No petri dish blood
test needed to see this Thing
is just a freak clone.

Grade: B-


The winner: Without question, John Carpenter’s 1982 version is the one to watch. While the “premake” is far from terrible and tries its best to put a fresh twist on the story, it still feels too much like a needless rehash of what is easily one of the greatest sci-fi/horror films of all time.

By Daniel J. Hoag
Both versions of The Thing are available now on Blu-ray and DVD.