Oh, I love a good comfy horror / sci-fi movie. Nothing gruesome or truly frightening, just something really enjoyable and this movie definitely fits that bill. It’s nothing like the 1982 Kurt Russell remake of The Thing, which was bleak and gruesome, it’s a delight from start to finish.
From it’s swashbuckling army hero (Kenneth Tobey) and his flirtation with the smart and sassy Margaret Sheridan, to the realistic arctic setting (at least I thought it was realistic), and the fabulous Frankenstein-esque slow moving monster which is described at one point as ‘some kind of giant intelligent carrot’. It’s fabulous. This movie could easily have been ridiculous, but it isn’t at all: it’s entertaining, funny, smart and action-packed all in equal measure.
The story centers around a group of U.S. airmen and a scientific team who find a flying saucer and a frozen body underneath the ice of the Arctic.
The body is that of a plant-based alien who drinks blood to survive and who (of course) escapes and wreaks havoc on the isolated band of people. I love the fact that the alien escapes from it’s block of ice because one of the guards covers it with an electric blanket so he doesn’t have to look at it!
The movie is partly about an invading alien from another world, and partly one of science versus common sense. In the movie the head scientist is determined to cultivate seeds from the alien and insists that they must try to communicate with it, even once it has started killing people on the base. This seems to have been a common theme in movies in the early 1950s when there was a general public distrust of science after the effects of the atom bomb had been seen at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
There’s a lot to be said for this Hammer-style type of horror movie. As one of the execs at Hammer once said (I forget who): people saw enough real horror during the war, and wanted to see horror movies for escapism and a thrill. That’s my kind of horror movie too.
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