The Thing Review
Synopsis:It's the first week of winter in 1982. An American Research Base is greeted by an alien force, that can assimilate anything it touches. It's up to the members to stay alive, and be sure of who is human, and who has become one of the Things.
There are certain visuals that will always be scorched into my memory. Seeing the space shuttle launch, seeing the Statue of Liberty from the B train, seeing the videotape of my birth. Why would you film that, Dad!? And from such a low angle! BUT, when I think of the most vivid images in my now cobweb-laden memory, they’re all from horror movies. And at the top of those movies is John Carpenter’s classic The Thing (1982).
The Thing is a horrific movie about a crew of researchers that come in contact with an alien species. This alien species has a peculiar capability, being able to replicate and contort into any lifeform, becoming living camouflage. After several members of the crew are taken out by this shapeshifting creature, they must band together to survive. But, they can’t get too close to each other, as they never know who’s human and who’s The Thing.
I rarely consider anything to be perfect. I write reviews on the internet; obviously, I’m a pestering nitpicker. But, I won’t beat around the bush here, this movie is perfect. Don’t think it is? Well, that’s what comments section is for.
Seriously, what’s not to like here. The cast is incredible. The music is evocative. The direction is flawless. And the special effects are 100% what nightmares are made of. You ever have a dream where a man’s torso turns into a monster then chomps your arms off? No? You’re gonna.
But, let’s slow down all this hyperbole and talk about why The Thing really is one of the best horror movies ever made. John Carpenter is a master when it comes to tone. Even at its most optimistic points, The Thing has a cold, damp dread seeping through each scene. You know something terrible is going to happen, but you’re not sure when or how. This tone keeps the element of surprise fresh and makes you yearning to see more. I don’t think there’s a person in the world who would turn this movie off out of boredom. I can understand someone stopping it out of fear or nausea, as the special effects are quite disgusting. But, no one should ever get bored while watching this movie.
Next, the cast. You’re making a movie in the 80s; you need a hero. He can’t be too charming, and he needs to be grizzled. Clint Eastwood is already too old. You need Kurt Russell, and damn it you got him. Tell me you didn’t want to watch The Thing after seeing Russell in The Hateful Eight (2015). The guy works in the snow! He plays the reluctant hero so well. He’s in it for himself but will help others if he can. He’s everything I want to be. And speaking of mustaches, Wilford Brimley. Give it up people; this is the best movie ever, all it needs is a badass co-star that can hold his own against Russell. What’s that? Keith David? The man with a golden voice that can make you sh*t yourself? I’m watching this movie till the day I die.
Obviously, we have to talk about the biggest star of the movie, Rob Bottin. Who? Don’t worry; I had to look him up too. Rob Bottin was the special effects creator and designer of The Thing. Basically, he’s the dude that made going to sleep a chore for you. Rob Bottin’s horrific creations don’t stop at The Thing. He also worked on The Howling (1981), Legend (1985), Robocop (1987), Total Recall (1990), and the list goes on and on. Though he created some of the best special effects in movies, The Thing is his triumph. From the torso monster to the head spider, The Thing owes Rob Bottin all the credit in the world. He created something truly special that holds up to this day, a rarity in the world of practical effects.
And finally, the man who brought it all together, John Carpenter. He’s loved in the film/horror world but is disgracefully underappreciated and unknown by the average movie watcher. The guy has brought us some of the best movies in American cinema; he deserves the recognition.
The Thing is a perfectly acted, shot, and directed film. I believe it should be studied and dissected just as the organism in the movie was. This movie is a legendary film that will never be successfully recreated, and God help those poor souls that were tasked to do so.
If The Thing isn’t on one of your lists to watch each year, it needs to be. I personally prefer to watch it as a Christmas movie. Because just like Christmas, it’s full of treats, snow, and the occasional human turning into a dog monster hybrid. Please watch this movie, and if you already have, watch it again.
5 Disgusting Dog-Things out of 5
About The Thing 1982
Original Title: John Carpenter's The Thing
Runtime: 109 minutes
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Total Avg. Votes: 14
Writers: Bill Lancaster, John W. Campbell Jr.
Director: John Carpenter