We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.
‘The Thing’ (2011 prequel)
Why it’s Great
While most people would agree that ‘The Thing’ doesn’t reach the level of it’s legendary predecessor (a bar that would be all but impossible to reach), the movie does have one scene that, in my opinion, matches the original in terms of emotional whiplash : the end where Kate realizes that her final companion, Carter, is actually a Thing.
What’s great about this scene is that there are many things going on that aren’t apparent until it’s watched a second time. Among them are:
*Kate realizing that Carter doesn’t have his earring, showing how observant and quick-thinking she is.
*The horror of realizing that if Kate had gotten into the snowcat with ‘Carter’, she would have suffered a horrific end.
*Seeing ‘Carter’ attempting to get the snowcat going, showing that the Thing is attempting to learn how to drive a vehicle… which leads to the amusing image of it thinking, ‘Crap, crap, crap, how do I drive this thing?!’
*This is the only time, in either film, where a Thing continues to talk normally after being exposed. Sure, it’s trying to stop Kate from turning it into a crispy corpse, but it’s fascinating to imagine being able to actually talk with one and find out exactly what it wants… from a distance and with a flamethrower, of course.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this scene is that it subverts the all-too-common ‘The bad guy wins at the very last second’ trope that’s present in so many horror movies. Here, ‘The Thing’ manages to avert what would have been a very downer ending, and leave us instead with a bittersweet ending: We know that Lars and everyone at Outpost 31 are doomed, and there’s a strong chance that Kate will just freeze to death, alone in the Antarctic snow, taking with her any chance of informing the outside world of the horrors she and the others found. But there’s also a chance that Kate may live, and even inform the world about what happened, leading to an expedition to bomb the hell out of the area and stop the Thing for good.