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‘The Thing’ Prequel Writer Bares All on Twitter

The 2011 prequel The Thing was not exactly well received by fans of John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi/horror classic. While it did its best to recreate many of the things we’d seen in Carpenter’s vision, it eschewed practical FX for CGI that just looked…bad. Furthermore, the reviews for the film weren’t exactly kind. Many felt that it was too much of an imitation (no pun intended) of Carpenter’s remake, ultimately unwilling to take its own risks.

Writer Eric Heisserer took to Twitter to clear the air on several topics that came up as well as talking about his view of where things went wrong, how he was constrained by the events that took place in Carpenter’s script, and how he wanted to set the mood from the very beginning. It’s a fascinating dive into how a writer envisions a movie and how that vision gets distorted and altered the moment the scriptwriter is done and turns in the final draft.

The Thing held such deep promise. As I haven’t seen it since it came out, I’m not going to try and say that it failed miserably. However, as the film is only a few years old and I’ve already forgotten pretty much everything about it, that doesn’t speak too well to its impact.


29 Comments
  • Mehliens

    It did fail miserably as a film. And the monster design and cgi… jeeez

    • James

      I really liked the initial design of basically a huge bug but the cg killed all of the other iterations.

  • Härra Pärnits

    It was a great prequel.

  • Andrew Lyall

    The alternative to the blood test was one of the things I actually really liked about the movie. It was smart, but also allowed for the uncertainty of a “false positive” because someone might just have really healthy teeth. The rest of the film… not so much.

    • J Jett

      Andrew same here! the tooth test was very interesting and a cool idea!

  • Matt Graupman

    It’s fascinating to see how a writer/director/cast/whatever can start off with good intentions and see their vision focus-grouped to trash… Of course, they really had no business making a “The Thing” prequel/reboot in the first place, because it still holds up all these years later. Hollywood is always gonna be a tug-of-war between artists/film-lovers and greedy studios.

  • J Jett

    this movie is not bad. it’s not. MEW did an excellent job in the role which must have been very stressful (since THE THING is so beloved). it absolutely saddens and angers me at the fact (from watching test vids) the PRACTICAL fx work looked amazing and that some fucking idiots (studios suits?) decided to put lousy CGI on top of that amazing practical fx work. the script/story was actually good IMO and the entire cast was solid. the movie did a good job at building up paranoia of who was or wasn’t infected. i actually very much liked how instead of the blood test they used the tooth fillings method.

  • SVSLee

    I must be one of the few fans of the 2011 one. Thought it did a great job of telling the tale of the ‘crazy Swedes’. I’d love to see more Thing films.

    • disqus_uPh3WDxbQy

      Count me in too. I highly enjoyed The Thing (2011).

  • Khy

    The Thing ’11 is just one of those movies that is bound to be hated regardless of its quality because it’s in the original’s shadow and that’s the risk you take when you do a Prequel/Reboot/Sequel of an iconic film- especially in the horror genre. People will have their bright red pens ready to scribble FAIL all over it. That being said, I enjoyed it. My only issue was that it went the route of Blair Witch ’16 and Carrie ’13- too simelar to the original to truly have it stand out on its own merits and by making it practically a more modern and ‘flashier” version of the original you’re inviting even more comparisons, many not of the good variety. Though I think the reason The Thing truly failed was because they literally kept bouncing that movie around and then tossed it in an October slot at the last minute which would’ve been fine but the movie barely got any decent promotion- so no wonder it came and went without anyone except hardcore horror fans noticing. Eric Heisserer is a awesome dude- he had to fight his way through so many controversial projects(Nightmare ’10, Thing ’11) and get called a hack and finally he’s getting the recognition he deserves as a writer thanks to Light’s Out and I’ve always loved what he did with FD5. The man’s a great writer, just got stuck with a few stinkers.

  • Geno1987

    Everything about the prequel was a monumental failure on all levels. It provided nothing new to the mythology, the characters were not interesting or memorable, the monster effects were terrible, and the creature did nothing we hadn’t seen done already.
    Also, for a norwegian camp its kind of funny that everyone but one all speak perfect english to each other for the whole movie.

    • Muscle Struts

      They’ve taught English as a second language in Europe for decades, so it’s not a stretch of the imagination that highly educated scientists would be fluent in a language not too dissimilar from their native tongue. Also, they spoke in Norwegian among themselves, it’s just that since the film is so focused on Kate, they would tend to speak English around her (to not make her and the other Americans so paranoid), except Lars who couldn’t speak it at all.

      The prequel isn’t a bad movie, just mediocre, and it looks like it was because the studios screwed over the crew pretty hard. Just because it added nothing new and forgettable characters doesn’t mean it’s bad because it didn’t ruin The Thing ’82. Prometheus is much worse because it shits on the lore of Alien even more, but at least Prometheus is aesthetically pleasing and still a good movie in terms of technique.

      • Geno1987

        “Just because it added nothing new and forgettable characters doesn’t mean it’s bad”
        Um, yes I think that does apply for a movie turning out bad.

  • gary41172

    Well, I really liked The Thing ’11. I have seen way worse CGI in a film. I liked the way they used the fillings as a way to determine who was human or not, and how someone who once had a piercing and then was no longer pierced, enjoyed the creatures and how they merged together to show what they found in Carpenters classic, and how it tied the ending to the beginning of Carpenters version. Yes, some things could have been better, but, that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the film.

  • hiiiiii

    I liked this movie, just wished they would’ve used practical effects more than CGI

  • enemy

    I don’t hate the movie. I would have rather seen a sequel, every classic horror has one or five or six.

  • Hamsterballs

    This is what happens whenever you have corporate design by committee of anything that requires any semblance of artistry. The problem is that the suits that run these studios are not themselves fans and consumers of the product. They don’t understand what it is that fans like about The Thing, or horror movies generally.

    They just see that movies with CGI, explosions, and sequels/prequels to popular movies do well, so they push for that. They have no sense of context, they just combine factors that appear in successful movies into a new movie, and hope to make a “safe” profit.

  • GunsOfNavarone

    The worst cgi was the guy’s face in the helicopter as it was taking off, it was a really ugly cgi effect. Whoever thought that effect should make the cut was a fool. I also thought the thing in it’s final form at the end, lifted the lid too much on the mystique of the life-form. I thought Juliette’s transformation sequence was really cool though… horrific in a sense. But everything else pretty much sucked.

  • Baron Von Marlon

    Not great but not bad either.
    And there are so few Antarctic/icy horror movies that in a way, I’m kinda happy it got made.

  • G.A. McGillivray

    I just rematched both of these movies last week.

    The worst part for me – is in the ’11 version – the CGI monsters move way too fast. They are shooting limbs out and grabbing people and racing all over the place. Sure – maybe they wish they could have done that in the 80’s.

    But – it ruined it for me – the way movies like Deep Blue See were awesome when practical sharks were used – but the CGI ones were like moving at 300% faster than normal….

  • The frozen tear ending is my favorite thing about what could have been (other than the CGI, of course). He mentioned that in my interview* with him (http://bloody-disgusting.com/interviews/3397692/eric-heisserer-interview/) and it killed me that they didn’t use it. =/

    *Sorry for the shameless plug, Barkan. 😉

  • dr.chimrichalds

    I didn’t the movie was THAT bad. Granted, it isn’t anywhere near as great as Carpenter’s classic (but then, few horror films are), but it isn’t the huge shitpile a lot of people make it out to be. I thought Mary Elizabeth Winstead was pretty good and some of the creature designs are kind of cool. My biggest problem with the film is that we already so that all of these characters are going to be dead by the end so the whole thing is kind of anti-climactic. I was also confused because, if you watch the behind the scenes, it looks as if almost all of the effects were meant to be done practically. What happened?

  • BigStanRutgers

    The only thing I remember about watching The Thing (2011) in the theater was thinking how much I’d rather be watching Carpenter’s The Thing.

  • commonsense101

    The Thing 2011 is a film that almost screams out that everybody involved with it didn’t know what made the 1982 (not ’83, as the writer kept saying in his tweets…which I find funny that the writer of the prequel/premake/precum doesn’t know when Carpenter’s flick came out) a classic.

    *Fantastic FX in one…but shitty CGI in the other.
    *Great cast that tried to do something different by having an entirely male cast in one…but forgettable cast with ‘typical pretty female lead like in 90% of horror’ in the other.
    *Creepy, atmospheric score in one…but a score no one remembers in the other (unless it was stuff they HAD to use from Carpenter’s flick).
    *Suspense and Paranoia in one…but ‘Cheap, Loud Boo Scares’ in the other.
    *A smart, cunning creature in one…but ‘a monster yelling, screaming, moaning like an ADD Asshole’ in the other.

    The Thing 2011 is a perfect example of why monster movies suck nowadays.
    The Thing 1982 is a perfect example of why monster movies rock in the 1980s.

    I remember months before the film came out, I made a video talking about how this was a ‘bad idea’. Soon after, I got a message from someone ‘claiming to be the writer’ (was it this guy? probably some loony saying he was the writer of the prequel) getting mad and angry and personal.

    But you know what? It is a shitty film, it became a shitty film, and it’s a prequel/premake that was pointless, useless, had zero characters worth a crap, wasn’t remotely scary, wasn’t creepy, had horrible FX, had an extremely boring lead in Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and all it did was further elaborate that a classic like the 1982 flick can’t (and won’t) be replicated ever again. Which is sad, but true.

    Monster movies have turned into pathetic SyFy channel flicks, overblown CGI monstrosities (films like I, Frankenstein, etc.), or empty promises (Harbinger Down).

  • The original film is one of my favorite horror movies, and I love the prequel. I tend to not care for reboots/remakes and most often find myself rolling my eyes to the point of strain when I hear about the latest one to get the green light, but this is a definite exception.
    Too bad Heisserer has so little respect for the people that paid to see his movie and enjoyed it.

  • DEIMOS

    This film put in the context of the Carpenter film but it is not exceptional. A look at once…

  • David Nagle

    i loved it and i love how it connected to the original wish they had made a sequel

  • Some Guy

    I liked it. I dunno why people hated it.

  • Halloween_Vic

    Last time I saw it to be honest was when it came out but I liked it. I thought it was pretty fun and had some good moments.

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