110 Min. | Horror – Mystery – Sci-Fi | August 1982
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
The Thing Review
Remake of the classic 1951 “The Thing From Another World”. 12 men are in a completely isolated station in Antartica. They are invaded by a thing from outer space-it devours and completely duplicates anything it chooses to. It starts off as a dog but gets loose-and has a chance to duplicate any of the men. Soon, nobody trusts anyone else-they’re isolated-the radio is destroyed-their helicopter likewise. What are they going to do? The 1951 film had the thing just be a big, super human monster. That movie was scary. This one is too-but the story is different (and based more closely on the source material-the novelette “Who Goes There?”) and it’s scary in a different way. The Thing starts right off with Ennio Morricone’s extremely eerie score setting just the right tone and-when the Thing gets attacked-the amount of gore is astounding. There’s blood and body parts flying all over-arms are bitten off, heads detach and-in the strongest one-one man is devoured face first by the Thing.
The gore effects are strong and real nightmare material. It also has a very creepy feel-gore aside, it is very suspenseful. You’re not sure who is what and Carpenter’s direction and the score really build up the tension. One complaint-no one is given any distinctive personality traits. They actors just remain straight-faced and say their lines. That’s annoying, but the movie still works. This was a critical and commercial disaster in 1982-it competed with “E.T.” and many critics complained about the amount of gore and there being no female characters in the movie. It’s now considered one of John Carpenter’s best. The Thing, a must-see, for strong stomaches. Not a date film!
An amusing note, when this was released Universal sent a note along with all prints of The Thing. They suggested to theatre owners that they play the film in an auditorium near the rest rooms. They were afraid that people would be so sickened by the violence that they’d have to be close to a facility to throw up! Overall, The Thing is an excellent film.
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