Sunday, October 9, 2011

John Carpenter's The Thing

As Halloween comes around, I tend to watch more horror movies. So far this month I've knocked out Trick 'R Treat, the original Wolf Man with Lon Chaney, and today, John Carpenter's The Thing. I watched this one because of a few reasons.

One, it's a classic. It's almost thirty years old. There are some good things still going on here.

Two, there is a remake that is also a prequel coming out.

Three, there is a Dark Horse digital free comic; http://www.darkhorse.com/Blog/629/thing-returns-dark-horse-comics-free-digitally-now Some good stuff there, especially since it's in a dark ages setting.

The Thing relies on several common elements of horror.

The first of these, is isolation. By placing it in a far flung location that is physically isolated from the rest of the world, the director forces the characters to rely on only the possessions and knowledge that they have and can expand in a limited direction.

The second, is man against the elements. This isn't some tropical island where if they didn't have issues with an alien capable of assimiliating them all that they could just go play some golf. Survival itself is at stake here.

The third, is fear of the unknown. Like a good Call of Cthulhu adventure, the characters go about learning more and more about the nature of the enemy they face until its time for the final showdown.

John Carpenter's The Thing is definately worth a second look and could easily be a campaign in and of itself. Imagine that instead of the Far Realm sending out specific entities to the prime material plane, the 'Thing' arrives as a disease. Can players either stop it from escaping the planar workshop they are in or must they destroy the gates on the other side to insure that no one escapes?