The Thing has been brought to life on the silver screen three times now over the past seventy years. In fact, two versions of them are bonafide classics of the sci-fi/horror genre. And now, it looks like a fourth version is on the way, coming from the horror masters at Blumhouse and Universal Pictures. But this time, there’s a bit of a twist to this potential new take on the classic story.
According to a report from Bloody Disgusting, this new version isn’t going to be based on the Depression-era short story all the other films were based on called Who Goes There? Instead, it’s based on a recently discovered—and much longer—version of the story.
A couple of years ago, writer John Betancourt, author of several works including four Star Trek novels, announced the discovery of a novel-length version of the classic novella that the original 1951 The Thing from Another World was based on. Who Goes There?, written by John W. Campbell Jr., was originally published in a pulp sci-fi magazine called Astounding Science Fiction in 1938. This longer version is called Frozen Hell. Upon its discovery, Bentancourt took to Kickstarter to fund the release of the full length novel.
And as soon as the full length novel come out, Universal and Blumhouse snatched up the rights. This news came from Bentancourt himself, and came following announcement that was actually first made by producer Alan Donnes over on Facebook. Donnes posted that “for the first time ever, Campbell’s full vision will be realized on the big screen. The new film will include the very best of RKO’s The Thing from Another World, John Carpenter’s classic The Thing, and both books, Frozen Hell and Who Goes There?”
It remains to be seen if this version will be the fourth movie to be called The Thing, or whether or not Blumhouse is going to call it by its cool original title, Frozen Hell. While The Thing has name recognition with horror fans, its widely associated with the 1982 Carpenter version. And many fans won’t want to see the highly revered classic messed with. Despite bombing on its original release, cable and VHS soon made the film a horror classic. And its special effects are still among the best big screen practical effects ever done.
In 2011, a prequel was made to the John Carpenter version, which was also just called The Thing, following the Norwegian research team who are discovered dead in the beginning of Carpenter’s film. The movie under performed at the box office, much like the original did. So Universal has to wonder if explicit ties to the existing material or even the title The Thing will help it at the box office or hinder it. A first Frozen Hell movie might make more sense than a fourth The Thing.
Given Blumhouses’ reputation for making movies on a small budget and then turning a large profit even if the movie underperforms, maybe they are the right people to take on this property. And really, a story about a small group of people trapped in the arctic facing a terrifying alien isn’t something that should break the bank.
A production start date hasn’t been announced. So it might be a while before this latest version of The Thing hits theaters.
Featured Image: Universal Pictures