The Thing Reviews
A bit of a failure at the box office upon release but this was mainly down to the tough competition of 'Blade Runner' and the friendly alien 'E.T.'. Despite that the film came into its own once hitting the video market and became something of a cult.
Personally I think its a good solid film but its never appealed greatly due to its shape shifting alien that is simply surreal to the extreme. Of course the effects are the main showcase of the film and back in 82 they were pretty special, by today's standards on a recent viewing they have aged badly and do look (of course) rather plastic and fake BUT they do still hold up as, unlike CGI, they are actually real.
The imagination of Bottin is clearly let loose big time for the alien as he goes way off the wall coming up with all manner of combinations aimed at making you feel uneasy, and it does work. Utilizing spider forms, snake/eel forms, things growing or under the skin, being violated and having something germinate within you etc...all good stuff to make you squirm. The suspense and bleakness is handled well by a young Carpenter (much like 'The Fog') and examines how quickly people break down and turn on each other. All the set work is cruel and cold looking, good location work and with nice elements of 'Alien' used throughout including the isolated oddball crew at the base which does remind you of the Nostromo crew.
Its definitely a thriller of a ride with some stand out moments which leave you wanting to know more about the creature and its background. The film just loses its wallop near the end as the creature doesn't look quite as cool as previous incarnations, edging down the B-movie route a touch but the one thing I do like about the film is the way Carpenter bookended it. Its pretty much open at both the start and finish leaving you to think about what came before and what happens after, the final sequence with Russell and David is quite original and unique as the heroes/main leads pretty much fail.
Best moment in the film for me has to be the Norris chest bursting sequence revealing a large razor toothed maw where his torso once was, highly original and, at the time, quite surprising.
"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.
For starters, John Carpenter is the master of horror themed movies, such as 'Halloween'; so the scares in this film are expected to be rather high. As a result, he succeeds. The main achievement of the film is creating the paranoia amongst the characters; unaware who is infected or not. Visually, the film is incredible but grotesque and can easily put people off with the extreme gore. The film has also, like Alien, left behind several questions that have been left unanswered, such as the Norwegian camp.
The film has also left behind such memorable yet disturbing scenes, from the mutating dog, to the spider head, to the infamous blood test scene.John Carpenter's version is also more faithful to the novel 'Who Goes There?'.
When it comes to a story, the script is rather strong; a group of men working in Antarctica, who witness a helicopter chasing after a dog. Afterwards, the party start to get caught in some truly horrific events, to the ruined Norwegian camp, to the mutant dog attack. Although all actors gave very promising roles, Kurt Russell and Keith David gave possibly something more than that.
Unlike many horror films, every character shares almost the amount of time on the screen, making it more uncertain of who is infected, creating more paranoia.
John Carpenter's masterpiece has not only changed two genres, it has been considered to be one of the best Sci-Fi Horrors films made. Along with being a rather large cult film and one of the finest remakes ever, this is a must watch for all Horror, Suspense and most Sci-Fi fans.
John Carpenter's THE THING was subjected to numerous critics that ripped on and disowned this film. Some saying that it is an unneeded re-adaption and remake of the film The Thing From Another Planet. Some that say that the special effects are bad. Me, I have nothing but respect for this film due to how it, over time, changed the basis for claustrophobia films, horror films, and special effects. And to think that some of these stunts were done by puppets and not CGI.
Okay, the first good thing about this film is the atmosphere. Carpenter is known for setting the mood for films, and this is one in which he nails it almost as perfectly as he did in Halloween. The use of the music, the completely isolated cold, the fact that all of the men in this film (no female characters at all. Thank God) can not trust one another, it all works.
Now, as I said, this is just a retelling of the story of a group of scientist that get stuck in the arctic and has to figure out who is the alien and who is not. The original was pretty good for it's time, but today, it just seems dated and bad. I love older films, but that one bores me to death. Here, you have the same story only told much better, feels like it was made during this day and age, and still able to scare the life out of you. That is what a horror film should be and this is one of Carpenter's greatest examples of that.
Kurt Russel is something of an idol to me in terms of an actor. He has stared in countless films, some good like Elvis, some terrible like Sky High, and some that are out of this world like Grindhouse: Death Proof. Here though, he gives his all time best performance to date. He embodies all of the fears of not trusting anyone yet the courage to take control and to figure things out. Russel gives one hell of a performance that outshines the rest of this excellent cast and it is a crime that he, being Russel, got no awards for this performance. He is truly outstanding.
Then you have the special effects. As I said, this film is remembered due to the disturbing yet realistic effects that, to this day, still look impressive and wonderful. One thing I love about horror films is that it takes a lot creativity to think of ways how to scare your audience. With this film, they come up with a few tricks that includes a dog's head being split open, testing people's blood, and the complete creation of the creature.
In the end of the day, this is still a wonderful horror film that, while now it is honored as the masterpiece it is, was sadly turned a cold shoulder on when originally released. The only other thing I have to say is that: if you get scared or disturbed easily, then I don't recommend this film. There is a reason why Carpenter is known as the master of horror, people!