When John Carpenter’s The Thing was released in 1982, it didn’t exactly soar at the box office (Spielberg’s E.T. happened to be released at the same time and its alien was maybe a touch more people-pleasing). But the film has since gone on to be hugely influential, at least judging by the spate of remakes and homages the story of shape-shifting aliens has inspired.
But the film has also inspired a mini-catalog of condensed remakes which perhaps most faithfully honor the original. Here are three of the best.
Animator Lee Hardcastle delighted fans everywhere this week with his claymation rethink of Carpenter’s film, with Swiss children’s TV character Pingu standing in for the doomed Antarctic researchers.
Hardcastle’s version manages to be head-meltingly horrific and super adorable at the same time.
Here’s Hardcastle’s Making-of video
An October 2011 short-film remake from Legolambs tells The Thing’s story with a song. Legolambs, aka, Jon and Al Kaplan have done several musical reinterpretations of popular entertainments, including an opera based on Super Mario Brothers. But their swinging, Frank Sinatra’d version of The Thing is especially enjoyable (due to lyrics like "You’ll either end up dead or tied to this fucking couch!" rendered in that Rat Pack ring-a-ding).
But perhaps the pinnacle of Thing digesting comes with this 2008 stop-motion film by directors Simon Gesrel and Xavier Ehretsmann. The duo’s entry is in the form of a music video for Zombie Zombie’s "Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free." The six-minute video features GI Joe characters in place of Russell et al and the hypnotic electronic track helps create a surprisingly tense, must-see homage. Highlight: the awesome ice core samples.
And here’s the original trailer for reference purposes.