No. 188 – Who Goes There?

Judge Dredd: The Megazine Vol. 2 No. 37 (2001) cover by Mark WilkinsonJohn Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), featuring award-winning special effects by Rob Bottin

Carpenter’s film was a remake of The Thing from Another World (RKO Radio Pictures, 1951), itself based on the novella Who Goes There? (Astounding Stories, 1938) by American science fiction writer John W. Campbell Jr. (1910–1971), whose story was voted one of the finest science fiction novellas ever written by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1973.

Although praised for it special effects, Carpenter’s The Thing received extremely negative reviews upon its release, coupled with an icy reception from cinema goers who were more enamoured at the time of friendlier aliens as portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Universal Pictures, 1982), released in the same year; the competition from which effectively burying Carpenter’s film at the box office. Needless to say, since then Carpenter’s film has been reappraised as one of the finest science fiction or horror films ever made.

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