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The Thing (1982)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 39 | Rotten: 10

Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.

17

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 5

Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 127,701

My Rating

Movie Info

John Carpenter's The Thing is both a remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 film of the same name and a re-adaptation of the John W. Campbell Jr. story "Who Goes There?" on which it was based. Carpenter's film is more faithful to Campbell's story than Hawks' version and also substantially more reliant on special effects, provided in abundance by a team of over 40 technicians, including veteran creature-effects artists Rob Bottin and Stan Winston. The film opens enigmatically with a Siberian Husky running

R,

Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror

Bill Lancaster

Aug 28, 2001

Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on The Thing

May 31, 2011:
Best Remakes: 50 Years, 50 Movies
Some movies are so nice, they've got to make them twice. Or three times. Or four... The best...
June 16, 2010:
The Thing Prequel Coming in 2011
Universal's upcoming prequel to "The Thing" has a release date: April 29, 2011.

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (10) | DVD (28)

Carpenter's direction is slow, dark, and stately; he seems to be aiming for an enveloping, novelistic kind of effect, but all he gets is heaviness.

May 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (22)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If it's the most vividly guesome monster ever to stalk the screen that audiences crave, then The Thing is the thing. On all other levels, however, John Carpenter's remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 sci-fi classic comes as a letdown.

June 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (12)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Russell's sub-Eastwood heroics hardly compensate for the absence of all characterisation, while Bill Lancaster's script boasts the most illogical climax any monster movie ever had.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (12)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Because this material has been done before, and better, especially in the original The Thing and Alien, there's no need to see this version.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (52)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Carpenter has demonstrated that he can make good, comparatively plain, old-fashioned scare movies and effective suspense thrillers, but he seems to lose his own head when he combines two or more genres, as he [does here].

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (5)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is one of those rare remakes that remains faithful to the premise of the original but does something unique with the concept.

July 1, 1982 Full Review Source: ReelViews | Comment (1)
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Something close to an absolutely perfect exercise in how to construct a thriller.

July 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

A magnificent cabinet of grotesqueries, one of the decade's great works

November 11, 2013 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

I'll say it: the single greatest horror movie ever made.

June 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Mania.com | Comment (1)
Mania.com

...stays truer to its source material, John W. Campbell, Jr.'s 1938 novella Who Goes There?, than the 1951 Howard Hawks-Christian Nyby feature The Thing from Another World.

October 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

...reading this as a Cold War allegory is doing the movie a very big favor. In reality, this is a film about tentacles and teeth and eyes and orifices and goo, goo, goo.

October 7, 2011 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm | Comments (6)
LarsenOnFilm

I discovered what it was to love a movie that was relentless in its desire to be unpleasant

July 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

The Thing is a peerless masterpiece of relentless suspense, retina-wrecking visual excess and outright, nihilistic terror.

May 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's a paranoid masterpiece, and that rare remake that improves upon the original.

January 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Not just an excellent remake, it's an excellent movie, and an almost perfect horror movie...

April 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Shows more originality, wit and invention than possibly any other film you might call a remake... as influential as Alien for its blend of action, sci-fi and chilling horror.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The special effects can't hope to be as creepy to our seen-it-all eyes as they were to the film's first viewers, but we can still enjoy the monster's unique weirdness, and the story is a rock-solid yarn.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

It's pretty scary and entertaining stuff, though I always get the feeling that nothing in it lives up to the tremendous opening section.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

An accomplished horror movie.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The Thing is a masterpiece: a black comedy, monster movie, conspiracy thriller and whodunit.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Sky Movies | Comment (1)
Sky Movies

The Thing is one of [Carpenter's] greatest moments, creating a terrifying atmosphere of claustrophobia, suspense and paranoia. And Kurt Russell is as good as he's ever been, wearing one of the best beards in movie history.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Total Film | Comment (1)
Total Film

Carpenter's rethinking of producer Howard Hawks' classic is an honorable attempt to hew closer to the original story.

July 22, 2008 Full Review Source: ESplatter | Comments (2)
ESplatter

Contains everything you could want to know about horror filmmaking.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

The strong cast brings the somewhat underwritten characters to vivid life, and the elaborate special effects (designed by then 22-year-old Rob Bottin) set a high standard for films that followed.

June 6, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Thing

A scientific research station in the Antarctic is seemingly attacked by researchers from a nearby settlement, but things are not quite as they seem...The Thing is one of the rarest of all breeds. A cinematic remake that is actually BETTER than the original. Easily John Carpenter's finest moment, he cranks up the suspense mercilessly as the small group of characters are cut off from the outside world using plot elements from both the original The Thing From Another World and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. Clearly influenced by Alien and clearly influencing Aliens, the sense of paranoia is palpable as no-one knows who they can trust and Carpenter skilfully and subtly misdirects you as to who is infected rather than using the usual clunky and ham fisted red herrings that are the staple of the genre. The ensemble cast of paranoid burn outs are all great, especially Wilford Brimley as the only one to understand the true implications of their situation and even the dog puts in a convincing performance (I know how that sounds but watch it and you'll see what I mean!) Featuring another magnificent score by Ennio Moriccone, some wonderful fire and ice coloured cinematography and brilliant animatronic effects that hark from the days before the glorified cartoons that are CGI, this is one of my absolute Halloween favourites.
April 25, 2014
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
April 11, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Director John Carpenter's Halloween is almost a dictionary definition for the idiom "rags to riches". Carpenter spent all of 1962 through 1969 directing a series of short films; his first two works, 1974?s Dark Star and 1976?s Assault on Precinct 13, still struggle in obscurity. Then comes 1978, and all of a sudden this average joe is now the filmmaker behind what could be the most influential horror movie ever made. Essentially, all Carpenter did was build off the "shower scene" from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (and cast the lead actress's daughter as his lead actress), but just that spawned numerous sequels and remakes, lowered SAT scores with the Friday the 13th saga, and designed an entire oeuvre for Wes Craven, in which every film from A Nightmare on Elm Street to Scream 4 leaks Halloween's own blood. Carpenter continued with three consecutive works that, after his breakthrough, are easily recognizable. The third follow-up was The Thing, a remake of the 1951 B-movie The Thing from Another World. Let's admit, this 1982 remake is lots of fun. Much of John Carpenter's style returns, with eerie cinematography that leaves more of the graphic violence to the viewer's imagination. However, the initial work should have been left to stand. The trashy archetypes of B-movie atmosphere permeate casually, and as a result, any hope of terrifying an audience is demolished.
October 23, 2012
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

MacReady: Childs, we're going out to give Blair the test. If you see him trying to make his way back here and we're not with him... burn him. 

"The ultimate in alien terror."

John Carpenter pretty much solidified his status as a master of the horror genre after releasing The Thing. He was already well known because of his slasher masterpiece Halloween, but this movie showed that he was more than just a one hit wonder. I've never been the biggest fan of The Thing, but I've warmed to it over the years because it is extremely well made, acted, and paced. It's a nice piece old school horror, and it was made when Carpenter was at the top of his game.

A team of scientists and what have you are at work in Antarctica. One day some crazy Norwegians show up in a helicopter shooting at a dog. When the Norwegians are finally killed, the Americans go search their outpost and find it emptied, except for the remains of some of the other Norwegian team members. A closer look shows that the Norwegians found something buried in the ice, that can't be described any better than the title does it. After that it's a tale of suspense and anxiety as the Americans must battle each other, as none of the them know who has been taken over by the Thing and who hasn't.

This was a remake of a 1950's movie that I myself am not familiar with. I've meant to watch it at some point, but I just haven't gotten to it yet. I don't know how this one matches up with that one, or if it is close to the original or much different. What I can say is that John Carpenter's The Thing is a solid and well made remake regardless of how good the original was.

This will forever be a genre staple and is also always on the list of best John Carpenter movies. I myself prefer a few of his movies over this one, but this is probably one of his more beloved films. Kurt Russell is really good in it and Carpenter has the pacing down perfectly again, which makes me think of Halloween and how good the pacing was in that. This also has the same slow, ominous type of music that was in display in Halloween. Overall, this is a movie that is definitely worth seeing, and if you're a fan of the horror genre; you owe it to yourself to give it a look.
October 22, 2012
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

    1. Nauls: Maybe we at war with Norway.
    – Submitted by John D (12 months ago)
    1. Childs: Cut me loose, dammit!
    – Submitted by John D (12 months ago)
    1. Garry: This is pure nonsense. It doesn't prove a thing.
    2. MacReady: I thought you'd feel that way, Garry. You were the only one that could've gotten to that blood. We'll do you last.
    – Submitted by John D (12 months ago)
    1. Clark: I dunno what the hell's in there, but it's weird and pissed off, whatever it is.
    – Submitted by Nick S (14 months ago)
    1. MacReady: [talking into his tape recorder] I'm going to hide this tape when I'm finished. If none of us make it, at least there will be some kind of record. The storm's been hitting us hard now for 48 hours. We still have nothing to go on. One other thing: I think it rips through your clothes when it takes you over. Windows found some shredded and bloody long-johns in the trash but the name tag was missing. They could be anybody's. Nobody,nobody trusts anybody now, and we're all very tired. There's nothing more I can do, just wait. This is R.J. MacReady, helicopter pilot, US outpost #31.
    – Submitted by joseph j (20 months ago)
    1. MacReady: Anybody touches me, and we go.
    – Submitted by joseph j (20 months ago)
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