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(Review originally written at 29 March 2006)

Let's face it, most of the science-fiction movies made in the '50's were utter trash. When you think of '50's science-fiction movies, you think of Ed Wood like movies with laughable special effects, a weak story and below average B-movie stars and persons in rubber-suits. Not really the kind of movie to take very seriously.

But yes, luckily "The Thing from Another World" is a rare exception. OK I'll admit that the story itself is still quite ridicules at times. I mean, the alien is basically explained in the movie as being a large vegetable. It does make the movie a bit too silly and certainly outdated to watch at times. But then again on the other hand, "The Thing from Another World" is still very different from other science-fiction movies from the same period, in a positive way.

The movie is unique and differers from others in multiple ways. It even in some regard was quite ahead of its time and it inspired many other horror/science-fiction movie later to come.

The characters in the movie are all portrayed as strong individual characters with their own thoughts and emotions. It does give the movie a certain sense of realism, even though the story itself is of course far from being realistic. The movie also features a typical scientific- versus military way of thinking. That concept is not unique and is also still often featured in movie made this present day but the way that it is handled in this movie is extremely well and it does provide the movie with some tense and unpredictable moments.

Also the way the 'monster', or in this case rather said the alien is handled is quite unique. The alien itself doesn't actually play such a prominent role in the movie in terms of how often and how long it appears on screen. The alien is never seen in close-up which adds to the suspense and mystery of the movie. Of course the look of the alien is by today's standards terribly outdated but that now has become part of the charm of the movie. The fact that he more often is off the screen rather than on it, provides the movie with some good and tense moments and also the moments that he does pop-up make provides the movie with some good scares (atleast for '50's standards that is.) because you don't really expect it. Kind of like the same way the tension in "Jaws" is build up.

Another thing, which I thought was absolutely great about this movie was the dialog. The dialog fits all of the characters extremely well and helps to add to their own strong individual personality. The actors which portray them are perhaps not the great but thanks to the dialog all of them are extremely believable and fitting in their roles.

The storytelling is slow yet the pace is high. The movie takes its time to build up the story and introduce the characters, which all yet again add to the 'realism' of the movie. The way the story is told makes the movie seem even more mysterious and tenser than the story really is. I also like the way everything in the movie is scientifically explained, something that most often in movies like these never was the case.

"The Thing from Another World" is an unique, influential and in many ways a movie that was ahead of its time in terms of character treatment and storytelling. Therefor this movie is a marvelous one, that will be enjoyed by all but probably especially mainly by the movie-buffs among us. Either way, a highly recommendable movie for all!

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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