"The Thing" returns to movie theaters

Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:33am EDT
 
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It's been 60 years since alien thriller movie "The Thing From Another World" hit theaters at the height of Cold War paranoia and half that long since horror director John Carpenter revisited its themes in "The Thing."

On Friday, a new "The Thing" is back in movie theaters, hungrier than ever, in a version being billed as a prequel to Carpenter's examination of fear that is centered on an alien from another world who is discovered by scientists on Antarctica.

Dutch director Matthijs van Heijningen makes his feature film debut with the new movie that has 27 year-old Mary Elizabeth Winstead ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World") playing paleontologist Kate Lloyd, who is hired as part of a mysterious scientific expedition and ends up battling the alien.

Australian actor Joel Edgerton ("Animal Kingdom") co-stars as a veteran helicopter pilot who services the remote Antarctica base where a Norwegian team of scientists has stumbled across the alien and its spaceship buried in the ice.

Van Heijningen said he is a fan of both earlier "Thing" films, but he sees his version as "very logically tied-in to the events of...the Carpenter movie." Yet, the new version exhibits a 2011 sensibility with its international cast and female character leading the charge to kill the alien.

"Surrounded by all these older men and isolated on this base, maybe she already feels uncomfortable -- a bit of an outcast. My reference for envisioning her was actually Jane Goodall. For me, she's the ultimate female scientist," van Heijningen said.

BUTT-KICKING PALEONTOLOGIST

Van Heijningen cites the famed British anthropologist as an inspiration, but his character Kate Lloyd seems more akin to the "Alien's" Ripley, the woman portrayed by Sigourney Weaver who battles the otherworldly creature in that 1979 film.   Continued...