The Thing (1982) Review
Written by: Decisi8ns
This movie is a remake, which might be a surprise to some. The original, which made in 1951, was titled “The Thing From Another World”. It is still a very good movie, but it just doesn’t have the type of suspense or graphic horror that the remake gives you. If you want to see a more tame, somewhat humorous version of the 82 movie, then I’d say watch the original.
This movie is one part isolation, one part suspicion, and one part terror. Mixed together, and you have a classic horror movie that today, or even twenty years from now will still entertain and shock you. Like my comments in “Day of the Dead”, this movie has the classic real special effects, and isn’t diseased with computer generated effects. I’m still shocked at what they were able to pull off back in the early 80’s. You would almost think that this attack was happening in real life, and all they did was film it…it’s that realistic looking.
The entire cast (all male, which is weird to see since almost all movies have men and women in them) did an outstanding job with their roles. There isn’t one person who I would say did a bad job, or that someone else in their place would have done better. Anita Dann (who did the casting) did excellent work on finding this great team of actors.
Stand out performances were given by Kurt Russell (R.J. MacReady) and Keith David (Childs). These two seemed to play well off of each other, and Kurt Russell’s character was the smart/strong leader-type who under pressure kept the team together as best he could. These two were also in other movies that John Carpenter created (They Live, Escape From New York).
Our movie starts off with a dog being chased by a helicopter. Why is the dog being chased is just one of the many questions that the movie will bring to you. As the plot unfolds, you get some answers, and then more questions. The main focus of the film is on our team of men who are isolated at a Science Institute Station located at the South Pole. The dog finds a new home with the men, but they will quickly wish that they didn’t take it in. A nearby Norwegian base is where the dog came from, and you’ll see what happened to them…and what might happen to the U.S. base.
Once the infection (or attack) begins, you start to see panic (as well as paranoia) set into some of the men. When one of the group turns against the team, he really makes them isolated from the rest of the world. After that is taken care of, you really start to see the suspicion begin and each character looking for an excuse to accuse the other of being infected. Even after one of the men is discovered as a “Thing”, they still cannot trust each other, since anybody could still be infected…but just hiding.
I don’t want to give too much away, but this once relaxed bunch of men who were getting along just fine will begin to question each other. It is your basic “who is the enemy” story but in a horror movie. The team of twelve men slowly drop off one by one until you are down to the final two…but you’ll ask yourself “are they human?” as the final credits roll.
If you want to see a funny B-Movie that rips off…I mean “Borrows” from The Thing, check out the movie called “Unknown Origin”. It isn’t a classic by any means, but does have a few familiar faces in it. It also borrows from the “Alien” films too. A fun party movie, or one to play MST3K with.
Here are some interesting facts about the movie that you might have known (if you watched it with the commentary track done by Kurt Russell and John Carpenter). When you see Kurt Russell (MacReady) go outside to destroy the alien version of one of the men with some dynamite, the explosion is real (of course), but a bit too strong. The reaction that Russell gives is real, and he is lucky that he wasn’t injured (or possibly killed) from the dynamite. Another little fact that deals with the original and the remake. In the original, it is based in the North Pole, while the remake is in the South Pole. Finally, you have to characters in the movie called “Mac” and “Windows”…remind you of anything?
If you haven’t watched this movie, then you are missing out on one of the best horror movies ever made! I would recommend watching both versions (original and remake) back-to-back, just to compare. Anyone who claims to be a horror fan and hasn’t seen this movie yet either doesn’t know about the movie, or isn’t as big of a horror fan as they claim to be. This is when horror movies stood for something…not like today’s horror movie that sucks so badly that they end up being comedies or MST3K material.