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The Thing (1982 film)

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

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Cult "Thing"

  • Dec 14, 2003
Rating:
+5
An alien theme plays as a helicopter flies across the South Pole landscape. Below it is a wolf dog, running through the snow. Apparently, the helicopter is chasing the dog. The pilot emerges with a gun and begins firing at the creature as it runs towards a base of American scientists.

Soon, this doesn't sound as strange as it seems. Kurt Russell stars as the American scientist who learns the secret of the creature: it's over 100,000 years old, frozen beneath the ice, and pissed off. We also learn that if it reaches civilization, within 27,000 hours the entire planet would be taken over by this creature - an alien lifeform that can imitate whatever it kills. Dogs, spiders, grandma - this thing can do it. It's up to old 'Russ to save the day and destroy everything in sight in a blind rage.

When first released in 1982, "The Thing" met with mixed critical reaction - most of it bad. It was either "not scary" or "relies on special effects", but rarely would you find a positive review. Now, in the new millenium, the film is finally getting the recognition it deserves. "The Thing" has quite deservedly joined the ranks of the most famous horror films of all-time. It is even arguably more popular than it's basis, the 1951 sci-fi classic "The Thing from Another World".

First we'll cover the more commonly debated aspects of the film. One is the acting. I felt the acting was excellent, especially Russell as the determined chosen leader of the team. Donald Moffat is the only other actor in the crew that is somewhat popular, but that has no affect whatsoever on the cast.

The on-screen title of the film is "John Carpenter's The Thing", and Carpenter is probably the movie's second-most-important aspect. His direction is eerie and suspenseful - this movie helped elevate him to his current position as a thriller genius. If you truly look at this film, you can tell Carpenter wasn't trying to make it scary - he wanted to make it suspenseful, although there are a few jumpy moments in this film.

There's also a fitting and chilling score by Ennio Morricone. It definitely doesn't rank amongst the master composer's greatest scores, but it works well on the mood of the film.

The most important, and no doubt the greatest, aspect of the film is Rob Bottin's special effects. They are extraodinary. Every scene involving the alien parasite is completely convincing. Whether it's a gruesome alien bursting from a dog's body, or a severed head sprouting spider-like legs and walking around the room, the effects are outstanding. Bottin proves himself to be a make-up genius.

It's no wonder "The Thing" is a classic. Its documentary-like feel and creepy atmosphere are perfect. Carpenter has succeeded in making a thrilling wonder that may even surpass it's aforementioned story source. No horror, sci-fi or thriller fan should go without at least taking a look at this chiller masterpiece.

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More The Thing (1982 film) reviews
review by . August 10, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
My first encounter with John Carpenter's The Thing was back around November of 2001, where I only saw a snippet of the movie on TNT. Just my luck, I tuned in at one of the most gruesome scenes in the movie. Even at the age of 14, when I was more seasoned to creepy films, still found it too disturbing to follow through the rest of the movie, and just tuned in to something else (probably The Simpsons). I wouldn't come into contact with this movie for another eight years.      …
Quick Tip by . March 16, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
John Carpenter's The Thing is one of my absolute favorite horror movies.  Even though the movie came out in 1982, Rob Bottin's special effects still look absolutely disgusting and amazing all at once.  Though it's not just stellar animatronic puppets and other effects that make this movie such a masterpiece, there's such strong senses of dread, tension, and isolation in this movie that'll at least give you the chills when you're watching it.      …
review by . June 07, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
John Carpenter's The Thing is funny, but not enough
         Apparently John Carpenter saw Alien and thought, "Hey, I can do that, and I can toss in bits of The Thing from Another World and Invasion of the Body Snatchers as well." It is unfortunate that he didn't do it as well. John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) has none of the impact of those classics.      The story is the now-familiar one of scientific researchers at a remote facility in the Arctic who must defeat an alien before …
review by . November 06, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I'm at that stage in my movie watching days where horror films have no affect on me anymore. I've seen them all: Halloween(1978), Rob Zombie's Halloween, Friday the 13th(1980), Friday the 13th(2009). It just seems that horror doesn't scare me any more like it use to, at least that's what I thought until I saw John Carpenter's "The Thing".               The Thing is not like most Sci-Fi horror, most Sc-Fi horror films use eerie space ships …
review by . November 14, 2008
The Thing (1982)
One of the most creative and disgusting horror films of our time, John Carpenter's `The Thing' has held its own ground through more than two decades, still producing the loud cry of "Euewwwwwwww" from both new viewers and old. Never has there been a slimier, stealthier, more appalling evil that what comes out of the snow in this spectacular film.     The film opens at an American camp in Antarctica, when the men's routine day is interrupted by a crazy Norwegian flying into their …
review by . February 09, 2009
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 …
review by . October 30, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
This movie came out when I was born, and I saw it few years later, and watching it recently I have enjoyed it for the second time, even more so! The speical effects are amazing! This movie can stand the test of time, because not once during the movie have I thought that anything looked fake, plastic or not believable.     Kurt Russel and the crew are great, stranded on a work site in Antarctica, when the weather become cold, they have no outside contact and they discover an alien …
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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Tom Benton ()
Ranked #349
Aspiring high school English teacher with dreams of filmmaking and a strong taste for music.
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Wiki

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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Details

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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