Friday, August 2, 2013

Who Goes There?

Last night the SF discussion group screened the Howard Hawks' version of John Campbell's novella Who Goes There? Following the film we discussed the differences (there are many) between the two. Hawks' "The Thing" is definitely and adaptation and reflects the time in which the film was made, 1951.

Campbell's novella features scientists in the antarctic, the discovery of ancient alien life frozen in the ice, and the eventual discovery that the "Thing" will take over world if the few men at the station can't stop it.

Hawks' movie is set near the North Pole and features a heavy presence of military activity and Cold War paranoia that the Russians are up to something. The Thing cash lands near an outpost and a group of scientist are sent to investigate the site. After a mishap with the alien craft, an alien body is found and transported back to the station. The movie then centers around the familiar motif of scientists-versus-military, alien friend or foe conflict between the human characters. Of all the B-movies I have seen though, this one ranks high in the watch-ability category.

I don't want to spoil either movie or novella if you haven't experienced them, but the fact that the movie and story are quite unlike one another doesn't really make a difference. Campbell's writing is tight and his story is suspenseful. Hawks' film is definitely a loose take on the novella, but is good fun if not exactly...scary.

All-in-all, I thought this was a fun exercise and hope we can do it more often!

No comments:

Post a Comment