The Thing reboot is underway over at Universal and Blumhouse, and now it’s been confirmed that John Carpenter will be involved in the production. Carpenter directed the 1982 version which was widely disliked by critics and rejected by audiences, but has now grown to be recognized as a classic in the sci-fi and horror genres. It is based on both the 1938 novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr. and the first film adaptation, The Thing From Another World from 1951.
Blumhouse had announced The Thing reboot back in January, but Carpenter’s involvement wasn’t a sure thing. At the time, the only new development was that this version would take some inspiration from the recently discovered expanded version of Campbell Jr.’s story, Frozen Hell. Exactly how much of this rebooted take will draw upon Carpenter’s film remains to be seen.
The Thing reboot makes a lot of sense considering that Universal and Blumhouse handled rebooting/sequelizing Carpenter’s seminal slasher Halloween back in 2018. That movie did excellent business and has received plenty of critical praise. Looks like the powers-that-be want to try their hand at another Carpenter classic with The Thing.
Now, it should be stated that Carpenter’s role in The Thing reboot hasn’t been specified just yet. Variety reported that Carpenter mentioned being “involved” in the project while discussing the upcoming Halloween sequel, Halloween Kills, during a panel at the Fantasia International Film Festival. It’s not known if he’s an integral part of writing the script, developing the story, or any other role. Considering his main role with Halloween was as a composer, it may even be possible that he’ll be providing the score for The Thing reboot. Maestro Ennio Morricone was the credited composer on Carpenter’s film, but Carpenter and his collaborator Alan Howarth provided a number of tracks for the 1982 version as well. Carpenter’s Halloween (2018) score is phenomenal, so we’d welcome his music in The Thing reboot.
Universal did make a prequel to The Thing back in 2011 without Carpenter involved in any way, but it was met with a mediocre response and a weak box office. Plus, the practical effects were all replaced with heavily rushed CG effects and just look at what that turned out:
Yeah, no thanks.
Hopefully, The Thing reboot could usher in a display of practical creature effects that equals or even rivals the 1982 version. With Carpenter’s involvement, it’s possible that a mandate for more practical monster work could be in effect. Fingers crossed! Only mega-budget productions like Star Wars movies have been able to really push practical creature work in recent years. It’d be great to see Universal put some serious cash into this project and make some memorable monsters for a new generation of horror fans.
Will The Thing reboot be able to live up to the lofty expectations placed on it? The 1982 film is often called Carpenter’s greatest motion picture. Having Carpenter’s name among the credits will definitely help legitimize this new version. We’ll be keeping an eye on this project and seeing exactly what it mutates into.