The Thing from Another World (1951) - Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks

I hadn't actually known about this movie for a long time. I am a fan of the John Carpenter remake and I had thought that his version was the original. I was pretty surprised to know that it was a remake and I became excited to see this one. I was even more surprised to know that this was based on a novella, Who Goes There? by John Campbell.

A group of Air Force personnel, scientists and a reporter come across a crashed flying saucer deep in the tundras of Alaska. They excavate the pilot who is encased in a block of ice. The personnel are all trapped by a storm when the pilot thaws out and starts wreaking havoc. This blood sucking alien wont stop until everyone at the icy compound is dead. The group must survive the storm and the killer. 

There are some really neat details about this movie. It's pretty uncommon for the cast credits to appear only at the end of the picture. The introduction only features the burning letters of THE THING appearing on screen. Rare for its day. The atmosphere is great too. It's simple but very creepy. 

The dialog is strange. It's almost realistic, it could just be bad acting, but the actors tend to talk over each other pretty often. Sometimes it's kind of annoying. But the dialog isn't horrible. It's actually better than most movies from the late 40's or early 50's. We get some classic gems like, "Boy when I die, I hope I go to Akron." It also plays around a bit at the end and breaks the fourth wall in a way. It's very clever.

The Thing from Another World is a good horror/sci-fi movie. It actually outperformed the other Sci-Fi flicks that were released that year like The Day the Earth Stood Still and When World's Collide. This movie is full of thrills and chills. If you are a fan of the Kurt Russell vehicle, then I implore you to watch this one too. It's not as gory but it has it where it counts.


Christian Nyby or Howard Hawks


Edward Lasker


Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey, Douglas Spencer, Robert Cornthwaite and James Arness


Winchester Pictures Corporation and RKO Radio Pictures

Release Date: 

April 27, 1951



Did ya know: 

The scene in which The Thing is doused with kerosene and set ablaze is believed to be the first full body burn accomplished by a stunt man. 

This was the first of only two films made by Howard Hawks' own production company, Winchester Pictures Corporation. Winchester was Hawks' middle name.