Review: The Thing from Another World

thing from another worldThis week’s Schlocky Sci-Fi Friday Movie is one of our favorites; a timeless classic of alien monster invasion.

Arctic researchers witness the crash of a flying object and call in the Air Force.  When they investigate the crash site they find what they believe to be a flying saucer embedded in the ice and retrieve a large humanoid alien who had been tossed clear but also trapped in the ice.  Assuming the creature to be dead, they return to their base with it.  But, of course, it is far from being dead.

At their base the creature revives and goes on a rampage.  The lead scientist is determined to communicate with the alien and bucks the military authority.  The situation gets out of control and several members of the party pay for it with their lives.  The thing from another world, then sets about accomplishing what was (apparently) its ghastly mission.  Some of the scientists seem determined to help.

The Thing from Another World stars a pre-Gunsmoke James Arness, Margaret Sheridan, and Kenneth Tobey.  Being a 1951 RKO Pictures production, it is filmed in black & white.  The plot is fairly predictable: the scientists assume anything smarter than we are must be benign, the military just wants to kill it, and the creature fights back.  What sets this picture apart from the crowd is not a unique plot or outstanding special effects (though they are not bad for the era) or creativity in making up the monster (a hyper-intelligent vegetable that is shaped like a man?  Come on!) but the interaction of the characters.  A lot of witty banter, a quirky love interest between the Captain of the Air Force crew and a (female) member of the research staff, and some decent acting by the main characters all weave together to produce a very entertaining film.  Toss in an intelligent carrot on the rampage for some conflict and you’ve got a great evening’s entertainment for any fan of classic sci-fi.

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