The Thing from Another World - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Thing from Another World Reviews

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Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2012
The legendary director Howard Hawks was both an uncredited co-writer and co-director for this above average B-movie (which has subsequently spawned two re-makes). At the frozen north pole, scientists and the US airforce have found a genuine flying saucer. When the alien is accidentally thawed out, it turns on the people of the camp. Isolated up at the tiny base, and against a creature that can't be harmed or die by traditional means, the humans must figure out a way to survive the invasion of a plant-based creature that requires their blood to reproduce. Really, it's all a metaphor for the "red scare" brewing at the dawn of the cold war. The scientists and the air force officers are seen as being at odds, while the soldiers want to destroy the harmful creature that might doom the entire human race, the "intellectuals" want to study it, preserve it, and even welcome it as a superior life form. Of course, when the menacing creature gets ahold of them, it recognizes neither friend nor foe, but lashes out with impunity. But metaphor or not, there is a creepy vibe that runs throughout the movie. Maybe it's that theremin-heavy soundtrack or maybe it's the feature-less creature itself (played by Gunsmoke's James Arness), an indistinct frankenstein's-monster-from-space that has razor blades for fingertips and grows back limbs as quick as you can lop them off. Or maybe it's the claustrophobic atmosphere that keeps you on your toes, where on a tiny base surrounded by miles of frozen wasteland where no human could survive for very long, the victims are given no chance of escape. From a personal standpoint, John Carpenter's re-make from 1982 is still tops for one of the most frightening movies I'd ever seen as a kid, but for classic 50s sci-fi, The Thing From Another World is a lot of fun. Now, who wants some coffee?
Super Reviewer
October 15, 2011
As a group of scientists travel into the arctic regions on a normal investigation, which turns into one of the greatest discoveries in the history of mankind. They find that a UFO has crash landed on their planet and as they find another life form, they intend to bring it back for testing, unaware of what this "thing" truly is. They are now on the run, trying to corner and kill this "thing" and the suspense, even for 1951, is phenomenal. It really makes you believe that they are being chased by something that has never been seen by the naked eye. It's performances are believable, it's score is threatening, it's story is new, and most importantly, "it" is terrifying. "The Thing From Another World" is an absolute triumph for classic horror cinema. Brilliant!
Super Reviewer
July 27, 2011
An alien monster is thawed and attacks a group of military officers and scientists in the arctic.
What I like about this classic horror film is the logical process through which the main character solves the problem. There are few "why is she going down the stairs" moments (although the lights are turned out for horrific effect every now and then and the thaw moment is somewhat predicable.
I don't like the way science in portrayed. The scientist character actually says, "The best thing we can do is die and allow future generations to study this thing." Few well-adjusted scientists would actually make this argument, and with the exception of the "thing," the scientist is the villain. Balancing this character is a hawkish hero, which implies that the military response is the best - a highly disagreeable claim.
Overall, The Thing from Another World is a good suspense film, not hokey or over-blown like many from its period.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2006
I wasn't as thrilled with The Thing From Another World the first time I saw it. I still like John Carpenter's version better but they're two completely different animals. The snappy banter and the chemistry between the cast keep things from getting too tense and the scene where the alien gets torched was amazing. The Thing From Another World is one of the highlights of 50s sci-fi and despite its meager low budget sensibilities is incredibly influential.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
Maybe the "Thing" looks like a guy wearing a silly costume, maybe there aren't any stars in this movie, and maybe it's not about anything really, but I challenge you to look beyond your first impressions of this movie, and beyond the 80s remake, and see what this movie is really about by watching it. It's not as bad as some other 50s movies I could name, it's actually pretty good.
Super Reviewer
½ July 12, 2010
A classic and a gem among 50s Sci-Fi. Howard Hawks took the idea of a creature feature and gave it a glamorous treatment. The script is brilliant, completely logical and serious as opposed to some other movies of the time. The acting is wonderful and best of all, the effects still work because they weren't over-ambitious. Howard Hawks knows how to give you the best of everything, whether he makes a comedy, a western or an action movie. This has stood the test of time because it was made with care and respect.
Super Reviewer
December 18, 2009
Camp at times, subtely politcal at others. A classic.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2008
Along with Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this is probably my favourite of the 50s Sci-Fi horror movies I've seen to date. Watching it again, what impresses me most is the sheer volume of dialogue crammed into these 90 minutes. Produced by Howard Hawks, with uncredited screenplay contributions from Ben Hecht, The Thing from Another World is like the His Girl Friday of the sci-fi era. Not only does the sophisticated, overlapping, bantering dialogue keep the movie fresh, it also ensures that there is insufficient time for us to snicker at the usual cod-scientific technobabble without being left behind. It is a measure of how well made the film is that it can dispense with the strongest idea in John W Campbell's original story, namely that The Thing is able to mimic other life forms, and still manage to be a masterpiece!
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2008
Unfortunately for this film the remake completely overshadows it in every imaginable way. Though the plot and events are rather similar John Carpenter's version is truly terrifying. He made the most of the isolated setting, here however it is never fully capitalized on. The monster is also not very effective. In some shot it is laughable. The explanation of it being a vegetable is no better and we also have the most unrealistic and annoying scientist character I've ever seen. When the monster and scientist are not on screen there are great character moments thanks to the realistic and endearing dialogue. People talk as though they know each other and there is also an abundance of funny quips. For fans of 50's Sci-Fi, but if you want real terror, watch the remake.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2007
Good buildup, but then a hokey veggie-man runs around the camp, trying to scare us. I recommend the John Carpenter 1982 version only.
Super Reviewer
½ March 27, 2007
An alien lifeform is accidentally revived on a research station in the antarctic, and as a result, it's inhabitants are stalked by what can only be described as Frankencabbage. It is actually rather more based in scientific logic than many of these old sci-fi horrors, but it has the rare privilege of being considerably inferior to it's remake, the classic chiller "The Thing" by John Carpenter, and obviously suffers greatly in comparison.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2014
Howard Hawks' The Thing From Another World is a fairly typical '50s sci-fi adventure film. Based on a short story, an Air Force team at an Artic research station is sent to investigate a possible UFO craft hidden beneath the ice, and end up discovering an alien creature. The writing is very broad and relies mostly on character stereotypes. Additionally, the directing does a rather poor job at bringing suspense or intensity to the UFO discovery and the ensuing standoff with the alien. Still, there's enough action and excitement in The Thing From Another World to be mildly entertaining.
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2010
The original scary sci-fi classic and one of the most influential films of its genre, brilliantly directed by Christian Nyby and produced by the great Howard Hawks, which is why it has his signature touches all over it. The tension in this claustrophobic thriller develops effectively as small group of U.S. airmen and scientists from a remote research station at the North Pole investigate and discover a crashed UFO buried in the ice. While trying to recover the spacecraft by using thermite bombs to melt the ice they accidentally blow it up, its 8 foot tall extraterrestrial occupant is frozen fast in the ice. Its body is then removed and taken back to base in a block of ice, where it inadvertently gets thawed out and begins a murderous rampage for blood. "The Thing" which looks humanoid but is really an intelligent plant-like being which lives on blood and must also have it in order to reproduce itself from the seed pods located under the soft tissue of the palm of its lethal multi-throned fingered hands, this deadly alien is memorably played by the late James Arness (1923-2011), a towering 6'7" physically imposing character actor that delivers a effectively creepy performance as the thing from another world. The cinematography by Russell Harlan is fabulous with extensive use of light and darkness to heighten the suspense by keeping the menacing thing mostly in the shadows. The rest of the cast all deliver uniformly fine performances beginning with Kennth Tobey's solid and authoritative turn as the leader of the U.S. airmen, Capt. Henndry, Robert Cornblaithe's superb perfomance as the foolish Dr. Carrington who believes that it is possible to communicate with the murderous alien, Dewey Martin's nice turn as Bob, the brave crew chief, and Douglas Spencer's wonderfully amusing performance as Ned "Scotty" Scott the newspaper reporter, he add a welcome comic relief to the film. The film ends with a great wrap up line from Scotty the reporter, when he tells the world press over the radio about their horrific encounter with alien thing, and them warns all of us to "watch the skies, keep watching the skies!" A masterfully crafted sci-fi gem. Highly Recommended.
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2009
It's more about the characters than the "Thing", but it's a perfect example of throwing a group of characters who all want something different into a situation and seeing what happens. My only complaint is there isn't that much monster. I never thought I could listen to a scientist talk about a "carrot man" and actually buy it.
Super Reviewer
August 30, 2008
It can't touch the 80's version, but it's still worth watching.
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2008
People shouldn't hold this up against Carpenters The Thing, hold it up against the other science fiction films from around the same time. For my money this is among the best 1950's Science Fiction films that I've ever seen. The dialouge and pacing are all class, and this is a damn good time. Carpenters The Thing was great but inferior to Alien, Invasion of the body Snatchers remake etc. I actually prefer this one anyday.
Super Reviewer
½ November 5, 2007
An astonishing A-Movie disguised as a B-Movie. When I read the back of the DVD I did not expect a such a well-executed sci-fi film. A focussed storyline, great locations, a solid ensemble cast and first and foremost a very powerful script with fast, witty and naturally flowing dialogue (as you would expect from a Capra movie) giving this "B-Movie" the air of a big Hollywood production. Some things could have been done better, no cabin fever, the creature (due to lack of actual killings) is not as menacing as one could have hoped it to be. The location - an isolated - polar station is the perfect backdrop for a monster movie and I can understands how this film is often mentioned when it comes to the inspirations of modern horror movies. Mystery, Isolation, ensemble casts etc., The Thing is a survival Horror film at its core. Like I said, the dialogues are incredible well done and I am not sure the rumorus that Orson Welles was invovled in the script are untrue, maybe Howard Hawks did direct after all ? Some very talented men must have had their hands involved in the project and probably refused to be associated with it due to the "silly" subject matter. An amazing ride, definitely on of the best sci-fi b-movies out there. HX
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2010
Far better than most 1950s monster/alien movies, but still hampered by the style of the day to be truly chilling. In an era when men had to look like MEN, the heroes are never fazed by anything, whether it's the deaths of three colleagues or the regeneration of the alien's limbs. Lead man Kenneth Tobey even has time to pursue a romance with the Arctic outpost secretary in-between alien encounters. Compare that to the paranoia and panic shown by everyone in John Carpenter's remake and tell me which is more effective (and realistic under the circumstances.) Still, it is well-written with copious amounts of rapid-fire dialogue and generates some sustained tension. Interesting how attitudes have changed as the military is portrayed as the incontrovertible problem-solving force, whereas the men of science are ridiculed for their ideas of wanting to attempt communication with the creature. In one unintentionally hilarious sequence, the team under military guidance discovers the very first alien spacecraft, and then manages to accidentally blow it up within 5 minutes! I'd like to see an oversight committee's reaction to THAT one.
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2008
Classic 50's sci-fi..what sets it apart is the snappy dialogue between the cast of characters and the unique north pole locale...uneven pacing detracts from the overall enjoyment, but still worth watching for every fan of this genre.
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