Thursday, December 29, 2011

Musing Pictures: The Thing (1982

I'm still watching "The Thing" (though I'm welcoming the distraction of writing about it at the same time -- I find horror films fascinating, but I hate feeling scared or anxious when I watch them!)

So, out of curiosity, I'm pondering the history of movie monster autopsies. In John Carpenter's film, they're pretty gruesome, but (so far), they don't seem to involve any major scares.

Perhaps I'm reminded of the autopsy on the alien creature in "Independence Day" (1994) which doesn't go so well, as I recall.

There's also, of course, the famous postmortem on a shark in "Jaws" (1975). Not the right shark, but still pretty gross.

Thinking back a bit earlier (to a film that is undoubtedly part of the ancestry of "The Thing"), "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956) includes the slicing open not of an alien creature, but of the "pod" in which it gestates.

All of these scenes, in addition to the obvious "ick" factor, serve to underline the alien's "otherness", as if the strange exterior weren't enough to freak us out. In some cases, they serve to help us identify important weaknesses in the aliens, for when we finally do get a chance to beat 'em.

Are there other such scenes? I can't think of any directly, but there might be a few in films like "Men in Black", "Starship Troopers", etc. Know of any others, leave a comment!


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