Did you ever find a video that you wanted to share only to see that someone else beat you to it? That's the case today with the claymation short film Pingu's The Thing. Eric Eisenberg at Cinemablend wrote about this video last week, literally the day after it was posted on YouTube. I wanted to spend a little more time developing my ideas and was beaten to the punch. The first thing to know about Pingu's The Thing is a bit of pop culture context. Pingu isn't just any penguin. He's the star of a Swiss/British animated series. This group of penguins live in a series of igloos in Antarctica where they work and play. Here's a sample short of Pingu fishing.
Pingu is just silly slapstick fun. The characters have big expressive eyes but do not talk. They go on cute little excursions and don't do anything more dangerous than the set-up of a gag in a Looney Tunes cartoon.
So the assortment of penguins and seals being torn apart and lit ablaze in Pingu's The Thing are characters in a well-loved children's series. This helps create the funny disconnect between adorable penguins and John Carpenter's grisly vision of frozen alien invasion. It works without the pop culture context, a testament to animator Lee Hardcastle. I just think the context adds a bit more subversive fun to the proceedings.
Despite being animated, I believe the following video to be not safe for work. It is filled with animated depictions of graphic violence.
Hardcastle hits all the memorable beats of John Carpenter's The Thing. From the discovery of a stray dog to the jumping wire test, the big scenes are recreated in stop motion glory. The simplistic style is an homage to Pingu. This only makes the use of lighting in the final action sequences that much more impressive. Hardcastle knows how to sell this story in a condensed two minute format.
When you have a chance, it's certainly worth watching Pingu's The Thing. It's more comedic than horror in its tone, but the startling storyline of Carpenter's film still packs a punch.
Thoughts? Love to hear them.