Sunday, 10 October 2010

Greatest movie scenes ever # 32

The Thing and Predator : two movies which begin with a scene of an alien spaceship hurtling towards earth before groups of blokes in remote locations deal with the often unseen Extraterrestrial terror which was onboard the craft, and two movies which the dvd extras revealed had godawful alternate endings. The cheesy "oh shit, it's the dog again!" alternate ending of The Thing (at 3:24) that's been used for some tv airings of it over the years is bad enough as it undoes a climax which is both depressing with MacReady and the possibly assimilated Childs facing death, and truimphant with Mac and (maybe) Childs selflessly sacrificing himself/themselves to stop the alien reaching the mainland with a cheap climax reminiscent of the possessed cat in Amityville 4, but, oh man, that alternate conclusion of Predator where the alien's distorted replication of Billy's cackle (sidenote : the only time I've ever been impressed by a stranger's ringtone is when someone on the train a few years back had that as his) is replaced by the same guffawing of a drunken french chef which popped up again over twenty years later in the terrible Adam Sandler production Strange Wildnerness for the scene with a laughing shark really, really stinks. What was John McTiernan thinking?

I'm not sure whether it was John Carpenter's Hawksian sensibility of men-grumbling-at-one-another-in-an-enclosed-environment at play, his notion that a token female a la Margaret Sheridan in The Thing From Another World would be unrealistic amongst such a motley collection of sex-starved men marooned in the Antarctic, or his trepidation that any female character would bring about unfavourable comparisons to Ripley in Alien (or it might just have been because the Antarctic research station was originally intended to have a female in the form of MacReady's blow-up doll before the scene got scrapped), but The Thing is the first Hollywood film I can think of to shun D.W Grffith's premise that "all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun" as there isn't a single chick present, and even the sled dogs in it were all male. I'm the guy who winces with disgust anytime a canine dies in a flick no matter what the human carnage may be (in theory, this would be the only Facebook group I'd ever join, until I checked the wall and realised it was just 3 girls talking about Marley And Me) but the scene in The Thing where the assimilated dog gets taken to the kennel to chill out with the other sled dogs manages to manipulate me to the point where I'm tangled in a web of contradictory emotions :

Maybe I'm just completely desensitized to loss of human life in movies, but I find that scene far more disturbing than when the alien bursts out of the infected Norris's stomach when Copper is attempting to defibrillate him and rips Copper's arms off :

Finally, one of the biggest cliches in the menswear industry the past year or so has been the seasonal lookbook featuring miserable chaps with facial hair wearing chunky knitwear and heavyweight Parkas in outdoor locations, so you'd think the cast of The Thing would be the ideal inspiration for one of these brands to have a little fun and reference a classic movie in a photoshoot, but, shucks, all these menswear labels appear to be run by humourless hacks and herbs so I've yet to see one where a bearded male model gazes into the camera authoratively as his facial hair freezes up like MacReady's did in The Thing after he was locked out of the camp during the blizzard :


Boothe said...

yeah, i should probably watch this movie at some point.

hl said...

Have you really done 32 of these?!? If so you should compile these and shop it as a book. That would be dope.

vollsticks said...

It was Jean-Luc Goddard who said that all you need to make a film is a girl and a gun, not D W Griffiths.

MF said...

Nah, Volisticks, it was Griffith's maxim which Goddard merely borrowed.

HL, these only work as blog posts with their various links and embeds. Definately not print material haha.

Boothe, you need to see it ASAP.

done said...

ha its all good this time, iv seen both these already. yeh that stupid guffaw would have ruined th vibe altogether. also, the thing >> halloween imo

i think th alternative ending of half-baked beats the original tho. once she turns into a withered old bag hes gonna regret all them times he coulda got stoned/banged other birds/banged other birds whilst stoned

MF said...

Halloween is great, but I definately prefer The Thing, Assault On Precinct 13, Escape From NY, and maybe Dark Star.

I haven't seen that alternate ending of Half Baked.

done said...

yeh escape from nys the business. im after doin a imdb search on john carpenter, didnt realise he did big trouble in little china too. it also reminded me of his later work tho, jesus he fell off hard.

whats dark star like? never even heard of it

hl said...

@MF True. I can dig it.

*searches Matorialist's archive*

*cuts and pastes*

*shops for book deal*

*cakes up*

MF said...

Yeah, his 2 Masters Of Horror tv episodes from 5 years ago are decent, but you don't need to go any further than They Live as far as his movies go.

Dark Star is an independent flick of his from 1974 about a spaceship cast adrift in space for 20 years. It's fantastic and his version of Mean Streets in that it set up the foundation for the themes he'd explore in all of his best flicks.

MF said...

Wonder if there would be much of a market for a book which include a chapter on the pissing scene in Troll 2 accompanied by Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde's Yellow Panties?

vollsticks said...

Mea culpa! But yeah , The Thing is one of my favourite films in any genre and Carpenter is a near-genius. Hadn't seen the alternate ending with the dog before, either, even though I have the DVD with all the extra scenes...maybe I just got bored and switched them off before it came on. Are you familiar with the whole Childs/Macready final scene frozen-breath argument?

MF said...

I am, though I'm not sure if I buy it.

There's 2 versions of The Thing on dvd so it's possible yours is the one without that scene. There's another unseen final scene that they shot just in case where MacReady is back in civilisation sitting in an office being tested.

James said...

Did you see that they're making a sequel?

Or is it a prequel?

MF said...


Carpenter said he wanted to do a proper sequel himself with Kurt Russell, but the studio couldn't afford their fees, so it's such Dutch dude doing it now.

Whoever does it it's a really bad idea.

vollsticks said...

So, the alternate scene with MacReady being tested back in civilization isn't on any DVD, then? It'd be interesting to see. The DVD I have has copious extras and for a comic geek like myself the best parts are the Mike Ploog storyboards and production art. Even the commentary is pretty good. And the "Terror Takes Shape" documentary is fucking ace.

Mo' Codenames said...

No, Carpenter won't let it out of his vaults.

I still haven't listened to the commentary yet. Something I sgould probably rectify this week.