“When they offered me the remake of The Thing, rather than remaking the original film I thought I’d go back to the short story which I felt was never done.”
Director John Carpenter
Monster Blizzard…how long until that comes out as the title of a Hollywood film? Or maybe a sequel to Buried, Buried…in Snow. Perhaps the movie, Jim Cantore—Force of Nature.
The best thing about the snow storm that (as I type this) is hammering a chunk of the country is I’m getting a lot of writing done. I thought I’d share with you what I’ve come up with overnight while all cooped up:
Okay, maybe that’s from The Shining, but have you noticed that snow storms in movies tend to bring out the worst in people? Probably because one of the key elements of drama is conflict. Bad weather usually equals conflict. Just look what it did to poor Jack…
Over the years there have been a few films where bad weather is like a character in a film. Here are a handful of films that are either “man vs. nature” stories or stories where unusual atmospheric conditions serve as the backdrop for stories:
The Perfect Storm
Touching the Void
A quirky screenwriting sidenote to The Thing (1982) is it was written by Bill Landcaster, who just happened to be the son of Oscar-winning actor Burt Landcaster (Elmer Gantry). And if that’s not odd enough, how about the fact that Bill Landcaster not only wrote that classic sci-fi film, but his first feature was the comedy Bad New Bears starring Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal. And to top it off, The Thing was directed by John Carpenter and starred Kurt Russell who had worked together on the excellent TV movie Elvis (1979). That’s a lot of genre mixing talent. (And just for the record, I think Russell is the king of Elvis impersonators.)
While Carpenter said that he loved the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, for The Thing he decided to return to the original short story/novella Who Goes There written by John W. Campbell. (Campbell also wrote under the name Don A. Stuart.) Isaac Asimov called Campbell (1910-71) “the most powerful force in science fiction ever.”
Here’s a taste of The Thing and The Thing from Another World and some behind the scene stuff with John Carpenter.