Day 158: My Tongue’s Scarier Than Yours 2: The Thing

“You have got to be f**king kidding!” Sole Of Sci-Fi gets a tongue lashing…

June 7 main

When I was at University, I did a course called Fantastic Films. This was basically an excuse to watch lots of horror movies. It also meant I could write a thesis on John Carpenter’s The Thing, in which I “proved”, with typical youthful arrogance, that as a piece of pure cinema The Thing is clearly the greatest horror film ever made. I got a First for that one. Honestly, you just have to mention a bit of Freud and throw in a phrase like “mise en scène” or “alternating syntagma” every now and then to get a First in Film Studies. (Pretending you like The Bicycle Thief helps.)  Ah, humanities degrees – honing students in the art of bullshit. Were we secretly being prepped for careers in ad sales or politics?

Seriously, though, The Thing is a great horror film, and remains one of my favourite cinematic experiences of all time. Monster FX genius Rob Bottin’s work on the shapeshifting alien still looks jawdropping today, and unlike the early CG that would dominate monster movies in the next few years, it hasn’t dated at all. In fact, the alien looks creepier and more realistic than many CG monsters even today, because it actually, genuinely looks like it’ there on the set with the actors.

And CG has never, ever bettered this moment…


I’m a bit of a hypocrite, though, since I spent far too long digitally Photoshopping today’s Sole Of Sci-Fi image. I’m still not particularly happy with it, but I’ve got a busy today ahead so it’ll have to do. It’s the big Sole Of The Century car boot sale tomorrow (so long as the weather’s okay) and there’s a lot of prep to do.

thing macreadyBut before I make a start on that, I thought I’d indulge in a bit of namedropping. I interviewed John Carpenter a few years back for SFX and asked him to settle a debate about The Thing. The last scene involves MacReady and Child – the last two survivors (maybe?) of the alien attack – having a conversation outside in the Antarctic, next to the burning wreckage of the base. But could one of them  actually be alien? Many viewers have pointed out that you can MacReady’s breath but not Childs’s breath – hence Childs must be the alien.

Carpenter’s response? “That was just a trick of the lighting. It was never meant to mean anything.”

So now you know.

Today’s trainers are a pair of New Balance from the Future Sports Division collection.

And Happy Birthday Helen. Sorry for not having a Watership Down theme today.

Usual Sign-Off

• Current total: £825 (Let’s make it to £1,ooo by the end of June! Come on, that’s just £5 from 15 of you!)

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

• If you have any trainers you could donate (either on loan or old pairs you’re getting rid of) which are size 9 (ish – I can do anything from 8 to 10) contact me at so I can arrange collection.

• Please, please, please leave comments below! I’m after ideas for mini-challenges, future photoshoots and how I can find enough pairs of trainers!


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