Directed by John Carpenter
Written by Bill Lancaster
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, and Keith David
Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills.
Heh. Wilford Brimley. Here’s another classic horror film my Mom took me to see; smooth move Mom. I was lucky enough to have parents that went to the movies often. When it was my turn to pick, I weaseled into films like Halloween, The Exorcist, and even The Thing. It’s like my parents never learned. I had a visceral reaction to this film. The scene with the dog, you know the one, literally petrified me into place. It later gave me nightmares. It still makes me cringe. I’m a cat and dog guy, so these scenes always wig me out.
The Thing takes place in Antarctica, on an isolated Norwegian base. The frozen outpost is the thing of my nightmares. The darkness, the cold, isolation; it just looks like a place where horror protagonists die. An aggressive alien life-form finds its way into the base and thaws out. When it wakes up, it kills anyone unlucky enough to cross its path. Even grosser, the thing absorbs its victims, gaining full access to shape-shifting powers. The deaths count rockets and grave paranoia sets in. Trust disintegrates and tempers flare, making the deadly circumstances even worse. Security is lost and the group splinters apart; death follows.
1982 is practically the dark ages to us know. Technology has advanced in ways we never anticipated. Despite our advancements, the blood and gore is realistic and impressive. It’s got that old school feel that makes it even grosser than what CG could do. The Thing remake is wholly forgettable, but here I am 31 years later, reviewing the original. I like this as much as The Fog and Escape from New York. Carpenter had a good run in the 80s.
Kurt Russell is charismatic and hard in this film, something he slips into with ease. This movie gets under my skin, and that’s rare these days. There’s just some weird charm about the older flicks that resonate with me. Part nostalgia, and part nostalgic film making, The Thing still holds up. Fans of John Carpenter should see this. Don’t make me stop by and verify this; I’m a terrible guest.