As with many of the stories I have read, The Thing is one of my all-time favorites. It is in my top five list alongside Jaws, Alien, Reanimator, and Sssssss.
Throughout this course, I have learned many things about myself and my writing as well as where my writing ideas come from. And one of the recent assignments we learned about incorporating our personal stories and emotions into our writing. One of my lifelong fears from childhood is when I was walking in the woods during the winter, and I got lost as the sun was setting. Obviously, the situation turned out fine, but it has had a lifelong effect on me.
The setting for the thing is one of the scariest elements that I’ve encountered in a story. They set the story in a desolate, harsh environment in the Arctic region. It cuts the characters off from society with no option of escape. Even the harsh elements of nature keep them contained within the environment where the story takes place. To me, this is a horrifying concept.
I enjoy all versions of the movies the thing. I even enjoyed the original black-and-white version called the thing from another world which was filmed in 1951. The way the story is told differs from the modern-day version that was assigned us to watch for this assignment which was entitled the thing in films in 1982.
The 1982 version starring Kurt Russell, is definitely my favorite. I grew up watching this version, and it was horrifying for me to see a movie that depicts an enemy monster that absorbs, mutates, and imitates its prey. When you combine this with the up-and-coming special effects of the 80s with the animatronics, the imagery of this movie in its day was pretty horrifying.
Many of the story ideas that I have to involve a setting similar to that of the thing. I envision a harsh winter landscape where my characters are isolated and forced to face their enemy with no option to escape. I have started a few stories that begin in this wintry type of setting, usually a group researching or exploring the area.
One challenge I have is that I always feel like I’m too closely imitating the thing or that the readers will draw those parallels. I do not want to be a copycat, but I will craft a scary story that takes place in this type of environment.
In doing some research for this assignment I explored the backgrounds of these movies. I came across information about an author John W. Campbell Jr, who wrote the original Thing story called “Who Goes There?” It was a novella about a shape-shifting monster from outer space. This novella was the basis for the movie.