The Thing (1982 film)

A 1982 science fiction-horror film directed by John Carpenter.

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Makes for a good Double-Feature with Alien

  • Feb 9, 2009
  • by
One of my favorite sci-fi, and horror films has always been Ridley Scott's 1979 classic Alien, and for a while now I've been looking for a film that would make for a good late-night double feature (excluding the sequel, Aliens). Of course, when I searched I mostly found rip-offs that couldn't hold a candle to the levels intrigue, and suspense set by Scott's film; in fact, most of them were simple rip-offs of Alien.

I finally found this version of The Thing after having liked the original 1952 version for over a year. I'd always been hesitant to try Carpenter's remake, because I am always hesitant when confronted with remakes; especially ones of beloved classics, such as The Thing from Another World. When I finally watched this remake I was pleased to discover that Carpenter did a remake right! This film features plenty of homage, honoring the legacy of the original film, while also recreating the plot almost 100%, except for the setting, and some character names. The opening title is the same way it was done in the 1951 film, and any fan of the original will be sure to notice the similarities (I believe Carpenter's Thing makes a very similar sound to the original's; just edited a bit to make it more menacing for a modern audience).

Everyone should know the basic premise of The Thing movies (based on the sci-fi classic short story `Who Goes There?') where scientists in a remote Arctic base find themselves under siege from an alien invader, who's been frozen in the ice for thousands of years. As members are picked off one-by one individual's personalities begin to clash, leading to internal conflict.

To keep his film fresh and original Carpenter returns to the short story, making his alien capable of shape shifting: this increases the tension between the members of the cast. Most of the movie they have no way of discovering who is, or not one of them, and they are never capable of fully trusting one another. The stand out is of course the way Carpenter depicts this creature's abilities to change, causing some of the most disturbing images you will ever see in the movies. Between the puppets, and stop-animation this is some of the best shot monster effects of the 1980s (not to mention nauseating).

The film is lead by one of my favorite action stars Kurt Russell, who has teamed up with John Carpenter on several occasions (most notably Escape from New York). Russell's character is essentially a cliché drunken-slob-turned-hero, but Russell does do a good job with it, and makes you root for his character, even when evidences points towards him not being human.

Most of the characters in the scriptare cardboard, made up of stereotypes, and clichés, but Carpenter still manages to get the audience to care for the central characters, even though you only learn very little regarding these characters past, or present lives. He creates a wonderful sense of paranoia as the characters try to locate the imposter among them, and the audience is pulled into this conflict by the evidence provided by the crafty Carpenter, either by visual signs, or subtle dialogue.

I wouldn't call The Thing one of the best movies of all time, but I can say it is one of the most well crafted horror films of the last thirty years. The visuals are as disturbing as they are frightening, and the direction is perfect, and this is all topped by a subtle, yet disturbing Carpenter-inspired score by Ennio Moriccone. This movie will shock and disturb audiences of all ages, and at the same time provides terrific entertainment for moviegoers, and horror buffs.

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More The Thing (1982 film) reviews
review by . September 27, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: .     Cons: ..     I can accept space ships crashing into the Arctic. I can accept strange, weird creatures that invade your body. I can accept the fact that once these creatures invade you, no one can tell you aren't the you that you were but now you are a them. I can accept exploding bodies that split in half and expel some multi-legged slime ball thing that invades your camp.      I can accept the fact that once your body splits …
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Director John Carpenter and special makeup effects master Rob Bottin teamed up for this 1982 remake of the 1951 science fiction classicThe Thing from Another World, and the result is a mixed blessing. It's got moments of highly effective terror and spine-tingling suspense, but it's mostly a showcase for some of the goriest and most horrifically grotesque makeup effects ever created for a movie. With such highlights as a dog that splits open and blossoms into something indescribably gruesome, this is the kind of movie for die-hard horror fans and anyone who slows down to stare at fatal traffic accidents. On those terms, however, it's hard not to be impressed by the movie's wild and wacky freak show. It all begins when scientists at an arctic research station discover an alien spacecraft under the thick ice, and thaw out the alien body found aboard. What they don't know is that the alien can assume any human form, and before long the scientists can't tell who's real and who's a deadly alien threat. Kurt Russell leads the battle against the terrifying intruder, and the supporting cast includes Richard Masur, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat, and Wilford Brimley. They're all playing standard characters who are neglected by the mechanistic screenplay (based on the classic sci-fi story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell), but Carpenter's emphasis is clearly on the gross-out effects and escalating tension. If you've got the ...
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Director: John Carpenter
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 1982
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: September 9, 1998 ; October 26, 2004
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios, Universal Pictures
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