[Remake vs. Remake] ‘The Thing (1982)’ or ‘The Fly 1986′?

The_Thing_The_Fly

In last month’s Remake vs. Remake segment I pitted Zack Snyder’s 2004 Dawn of the Dead against Chuck Russell’s 1988 remake of The Blob and came out in favor of the latter, which is hands down one of my favorite 80′s movies.

But this week I figured I’d get interesting. I figured I’d pose a neck and neck challenge to myself and to you horror fans. How about John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece remake of The Thing pitted against David Cronenberg’s 1986 masterpiece remake of The Fly? Not so easy, is it? Not for me at least.

On one hand, The Thing is a filmmaker at the top of his game (while I love Halloween, The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York and They Live, Carpenter’s mastery reached its height here). On the other hand, you could say the same thing about Cronenberg and The Fly, which saw his body horror leanings reach delirious new highs and includes an almost career defining performance by Jeff Goldblum (and Geena Davis for that matter).

Both movies have excellent, top notch and incredibly inventive practical gore effects. Both are anchored by an unrelenting sense of escalation and doom, you don’t get the sense that things are going to end well either way. Both films have tight scripts that define character through action and cut all the fat. The Fly perhaps pulls at the heartstrings more (you’re more likely to cry at the sight of Seth Brundle guiding a shotgun to his mutated head than you are at the prospect of Macready freezing to death offscreen). But isn’t it the point of The Thing‘s chilly disposition that you’re slightly numb to the outcome?

Here’s the thing, I can’t categorically say that one film is better than the other. I don’t have an objective statement to make about one’s quality over the other. So I can only go with my personal, subjective preference. The litmus test of “which one do I actually watch more?” The answer there is The Thing, hands down. It’s in my Blu-ray player several times a year, perhaps only because The Fly is an overall more grueling experience.

What about you guys?

  • ChildoftheKoRn

    The thing, hands down. I’m a fan of both but it exceeded the criteria I hold for a horror movie (Terrifying) where as The Fly, although having some really awesome horror scenes, interested me with its concept than it was horrifying.

  • http://moviepilot.com/desolateearth K. Lee Adams

    Well, I’ve never seen The Fly so… The Thing wins for me, haha. The acting, the setting, the tension and of course the fucking amazing monstrosities. I’m still fucking irritated about the CGI wash done on the creatures in the prequel. What a waste.

  • J Jett

    i never really liked THE FLY remake. it’s not a bad movie and the cast/acting is very good. for some reason i just didn’t like it.

    THE THING is 100% awesome. it’s one of the best remakes AND it’s one of the best movies (in it’s own right) ever.

  • James

    While I absolutely love both, I have to go with the thing. It’s simply perfect in every way and was the first horror film I saw growing up. It has a very special place in my heart.

  • Tim Nuttall

    The Fly for me without question. I love The Thing too though.

  • Darren Rouse

    Man, this is some ‘Sophie’s Choice’ sh*t right here. I could never decide between these two.

  • http://www.simplefilmreviews.com/ Matthew

    It’s not even a question….’The Thing’ By a Mile. Its called Atmosphere and ‘The Thing’ has that in Spades!
    My Review of ‘The Thing’:

    http://www.simplefilmreviews.com/2014/05/the-thing-1982.html

  • boaaa82 .

    Both are badass movies but for me The Thing ever thing about that movie i love

  • WarThrash

    Why would you make me choose?

  • Nick M.

    Easily The Thing

  • rocker_15-c

    While i watched The Fly as a kid and have fond memories of the film, The Thing managed something that I found hard to accomplish and is the fact that The Thing scared me as a kid a teenager and an adult and that’s freaking awesome, I can watch it right now and get scared again and again and that’s really amazing at least for my point of view.

    • Kori Batchelor

      I agree wholeheartedly. Both are really well done movies, but I gotta go with the one that can still give me the heebie-jeebies after all these years. The Thing. Even after watching this flick dozens of times in my life, the blood test scene STILL gets me.

  • shane_c

    Ill choose The Thing because I don’t like the ending of The Fly. [SPOILER] I don’t like that he “asked” to be shot at the end. He’s an insect at that point, he wouldn’t have been capable of asking for mercy. She just should have shot him while he was coming at her. Its sort of a wimp out imo.

    • john

      Well… 1) His body had been fused with metal and machinery at that point. He wasn’t an insect at the top of his game. He was forced into being pathetic. 2) Who says he was flat-out all insect at that point? Sure, he had completely shed his human skin but just as his brain was mostly Seth (with a little insect) for some time after the experiment, he’d likely have a little Seth inside the insect at the end. This was that little bit of Seth shining through for a moment.

      You say “wimpy,” I say completely logical in the confines of the story and moving.

      • shane_c

        Youre too emotional.

        • Andrew Middleton

          Hero turns into a monster. Asks girlfriend to blow his brains out. Girlfriend obliges and sobs inconsolably. fade to black. It’s just like watching A Michael Bay Picture!

          • shane_c

            Sounds like every werewolf movie Ive ever seen, except they dont wimp out at the end.

            Bay wouldn’t have either. He’d know not to do something dumb like have an insect hold a gun to its head. lol Its even funny just saying it.

          • john

            Okay. You found it funny. You found it “Hollywood.” Many others found it sad, dark and daring. I’d love to know the last big-budget, studio summer movie you saw with the main character putting a shotgun to their head begging for our sobbing co-lead and romantic interest to pull the trigger.

        • john

          Also.. are you saying only Hollywood movies have “satisfying emotional endings”?

  • Alex Manresa

    It goes without saying that both movies are amazing but, for me, The Fly wins because that movie disturbed me and I felt more for the characters in that movie than in the Thing. The Thing was a more special effects extravaganza but The Fly had a much more solid story, IMO.

  • Jesse Diaz

    The Fly is really good movie. I haven’t anything negative to say about it. But THE THING is a masterpiece in a league all it’s own. From the acting, the atmosphere,
    the suspense, the music, the creature effects, Carpenters brilliant direction,… it’s
    practically flawless. The Thing is not just a great horror movie,… it’s a great film

  • Cuddlesnstinker

    This is a very difficult , both movies are exceptional and both movies cannot be compared. The thing gave me the chills, the fly gave me the sicks…so I’d say thats a 50/50 equal.

  • elpinche

    Let’s see. I’ve watched The Thing about 500 times. I’ve watched The Fly about 20 times. So The Thing wins hands down.

  • Martin Cann

    The Thing, easily. No question.

  • James Bradford

    The Thing.

  • DBZEROGRAVITY

    the thing

  • https://www.facebook.com/rnem80 Ryan N.

    the answer is always ‘The Thing’

  • Red Right Return

    The Thing, no contest.

  • ThunderDragoon

    I love them both, but I’d have to go with The Thing.

  • Eldritch Love

    Both are great remakes. I’d call this a tie. Blob remake over Dawn of the Dead remake though? Nostalgia.

  • Nick Harold Wojtowicz

    The Thing hands down. Still one of my absolute films of all time. The tension and suspense are unmatched by anything else in cinema imo. The effects, creature design, music, acting etc, are top notch.

  • CTHL

    I tend to like The Thing better, yet I think Fly is a better movie. Yeah, that makes no sense… basically I’m conflicted, and must defer to a tie. A good vs. battle for once :-P.

  • Roger Hayden

    The Thing. Absolutely.

  • Josh_B

    The Thing, no hesitation. The Fly is an excellent movie with both Cronenberg and Goldblum at the top of their game, but The Thing is a transcendent piece of horror with every person involved doing some of the best work of their career.

  • creepozoid

    Love The Fly but The Thing FTW

  • brewers_rule

    I think it depends on what criteria you’re judging this on. I like The Thing more purely because of its ingenuity on the subject matter. Carpenter took a specific aspect from the original movie (the original short story’s “Who Goes There”) and made it his own with a massive amount of creativity. The Fly, as good as it was, was more or less a remake and update of the original material.

  • Benjamin Priest

    The Thing.

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  • Brodequin

    I’ve seen both movies hundred times, but i always prefered The Thing

  • Ray Walkett Jnr

    both movies are awesome but if i had to pick one it would be the thing

  • http://soundcloud.com/daybreakerdj xXFacelessXx

    Loved The Fly a lot more compared to The Thing. You’re right about this being a neck and neck challenge, and I guess which one you choose would be based off of what you like more of in your horror movies.

  • Baby PoundCake

    The Fly is my baby!

  • undertaker78

    So far Dawn of the Dead, The Blob, The Thing and The Fly are all some of my favorite remakes and movies. Both Dawn of the Dead and The Thing are in my top 5 of all time. So it’s obvious what my two choices are. Both The Fly and The Blob however are brilliant in their own right.

  • http://www.callmejeffrey.com/ Jeffrey

    Agreed. I’d seek out watching “The Thing” multiple times—especially if someone hasn’t seen it. On the other hand, “The Fly” was excellent and super intense but just not as fun. A must see, just not a must see over-and-over.

  • Justin Bartlett

    The Thing, definitely. But, the FLY is amazing, and a better movie….technically speaking. It’s fucking grueling to watch and there’s not a lot of excitement, but to me a much more downer of a movie that evokes a bigger emotional response (from me).

    All humanity may be lost at the end of The Thing- which is pretty damn depressing, but at an intimate, personal story level type of scale – The Fly is better. The characters in The Thing are facing an insane circumstance that is out of their control that they are thrown into, or I guess, the circumstance finds them. However, in The Fly, Brundle creates his own Hell, and a Hell that was paved with good intentions in which he ultimately destroys himself.

    So, yes, I’ve seen The Thing countless times, I’ve watched The Fly probably 20. David Cronenberg is a better director all around, and I have more of an emotional connection to the characters in The Fly, at a personal level – but I’d still go with The Thing because it is more of an exciting cinematic experience, and not a big downer like The Fly.

    It’s kind of hard to compare the two. One is Man vs Nature (or Alien) and the other Man vs Himself. I’d say a better post would have been ALIEN vs THE THING btw: http://holymountainprinting.bigcartel.com/product/justin-bartlett-s-the-thing-glow-in-the-dark-shirt

  • Werewolf

    Chris Walas was good, but he’s no Rob Bottin. Oscar or not. Plus,The Fly didn’t have Kurt Russell with a flamethrower. The Thing all the way.

  • Canucklehead

    I liked the word “grueling” that you used to describe The Fly. It is a much more emotional film and that investment in the characters makes watching their disintegration that much more difficult, while you are a detached outsider watching The Thing. I believe both the films are representative of their director’s view of their art and of the world and two of their greatest achievements.

    Let’s call it a tie shall we?

  • Ryan Popham

    The Thing.

  • DeadInHell

    The Fly is great, but it doesn’t touch The Thing for my money. As you said, that was Carpenter at the top of his game. It’s one of the great sci-fi/horror films of all time. Hell, the phenomenal soundtrack alone gives it the edge. That is not to mention the setting, the excellent cast, the incredible set pieces, and so on.

  • crizero

    The Fly is one of my favorite horror movies ever and I would like to see remake in the near future.