The Thing (1982) Review
Written by: azathoth
John Carpenter's best film and also the best remake ever made, in my opinion. After my stint with bad 1970s movies, I needed to review some great movies. Hence, I first did "Alien", and now "The Thing". "The Thing" is a remake of the 1951 film "The Thing from Another World", which was based on an earlier short story. "Another World" took some liberties with the story (a vegetable in the Arctic), but "The Thing" gets back to the original story (an assimilating alien in the Antarctic).
While loved by science fiction and horror fans, "The Thing" was also widely panned as being super violent and gory (true and true). What these critics missed was the complete atmosphere of paranoia and fear prevalent in the movie. It was such an important part of the movie that when a game was made based on the film, the game had 'Trust' and 'Fear' meters. Throughout the movie one of the top 5 soundtrack themes plays in the background. Once you hear "The Thing"'s heartbeat theme, it is as memorable as "Jaws" and "Halloween".
Of course the film had a great cast, led by Kurt Russell as the Antarctic base's chopper pilot MacReady.
The movie is set in an American Antarctic base. One day some Norwegians come flying by in a helicopter chasing a dog, shooting at it and throwing grenades at it. Those crazy Norwegians, always out for a good time! The dog runs into the US compound, the chopper lands, and the Norwegians accidentally shoot one of the Americans. Then they blow up their own helicopter. Heck of a day on the ice. Should have stayed home and grilled some salmon. The American dog handler takes custody of the wayward pooch. The pooch immediately requests "Snausages" and pickled herring.
Of course, now the radio cannot connect to anybody in the outside world due to "atmospheric conditions", so a group heads over to the Norwegian camp to see what is going on. What is going on is that everyone is dead with blood and burned stuff all over. A video tape is found which reveals that the Norwegians discovered an alien craft and pilot buried in the ice. They then accidentally thawed the alien, causing the aforementioned mayhem.
Back at the US camp a storm descends that will isolate the base for at least a few days. The new doggie freaks out a bit in the dog pen by growing tentacles and having its face split open in one of horror film's most iconic scenes. Part of the new mass of crawling horror escapes being toasted by a flamethrower. I have always wondered, and I have yet to hear a credible explanation for, why the base has not one but two full bore military grade flamethrowers.
The base's doc figures out that the creature can assimilate other life forms without detection. He also determines that if the creature reaches a population center, the earth would be overtaken in a few weeks. Since there is no way to tell if someone is infected, he decides that no one can leave. He subsequently destroys the radio and the helicopter's controls, effectively isolating the base until someone decides to come check on them. Not being very pleased with the doc, the rest of the crew throw him into isolation after listening to his ranting.
Everyone is now on guard against everyone else. At this point things go from creepy to flat out insane. The creature starts tearing up people and office furniture alike, eventually leading to a great final confrontation. I left out about 3/4ths of the movie on purpose. It would be a disservice to you, dear reader, for me to spoil all of the fun parts.
There is a remake of "The Thing" in the works, and as of July 2009, there is little known about this new movie. A true remake, a remake with changes, a semi-sequel? It is due out in 2010, so we will get to see soon.
This is a great science fiction and horror movie, much like "Alien". The creature FX are outstanding and over the top. The audio soundtrack provides a disturbing background. While the gore is plentiful, the atmosphere is what really grips the viewer while watching this movie. You can see that some of the characters are ready to explode due to their fear and paranoia. The slow parts do not feel slow because you are always waiting for something to happen. The film sucks you into the fear.
If this is not part of your collection, shame on you!