October is a wonderful month to be a geek: the weather is gorgeous and perfect for running (for runner geeks); the biggest game releases are typically starting to heat up (for gamer nerds); Halloween is coming (cosplay is officially OK for everyone!); and horror movies are in season. As someone who loves all of the above, you can see why this is my favorite month of the year.
Though it is unofficially horror movie month, that usually doesn’t mean much beyond the chance to make other people watch The Hunger and marathon ’80s horror classics with me. Most new releases really don’t do it for me, but this year that may be different, as the buzz surrounding The Thing prequel has me oh-so-excited.
Not only is it a prequel to one of my ultimate favorite freakfests of all time, set only days before Kurt Russell and company come upon the famed ruined Antarctic station, but this time around, we also have a tough, no-nonsense female protagonist.
Played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), who calls herself a fan of the 1982 original, Kate Loyd is a scientist tasked with unearthing a mysterious (and deadly!) creature from the ice.
The new Thing, set days before the Carpenter film, maintains the mythology and echoes some key scenes of its predecessor, but it also adds original elements. Chief among them is a female protagonist — there are no women in the 1982 cast — who is in many ways the opposite of Russell’s wisecracking hero.
“I kind of accepted the fact that she’s not funny,” Winstead said of Kate, for whom she drew inspiration from her oldest sister, a neurologist. “She’s very serious.… She’s very focused, she’s very intelligent.”
Winstead found the opportunity to play a character who wasn’t overtly sexy, funny or ditsy to be refreshing. “I just don’t feel like that’s really representative of women as a whole,” she said. “This was the kind of role that to me was the kind of thing I was looking as a filmgoer to see on screen.”
I was on-board once I heard that the film would make extensive use of practical effects (without leaning too heavily on CG) and again after I had a couple of turns through The Thing haunted house at Universal Orlando last week. Now, I’m officially excited for the film, which opens tomorrow. Get your popcorn ready!