The Thing Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 6, 2011
Total remake of an old horror/sci-fi film using an age old idea/fear of an alien creature infiltrating a human base and then humans themselves...its suppose to make your skin crawl.

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.
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2006
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 3, 2011
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.
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2011
John Carpenter's masterpiece has truly made a great impact on both science-fiction and horror.

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.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2012
Helped by an evoking score and by astounding make-up and special effects, this gruesome sci-fi thriller is suspenseful and creates a highly claustrophobic atmosphere of nerve-wracking paranoia and tension, where no one knows who to trust and anyone can be The Thing.
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2012
It's probably one of the best remakes out there. This version of The Thing is a remake of the 1951 version called The Thing From Another World and that's a great film. It's one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies of all time and it's obviously a tough act to follow. Fortunatley, the remake played it close to perfection. It tells the story of a group of men in the Antarctic in this base that has some crazy stuff going on. They find a coffin and something has been cut from it. That's where the craziness begins. The first part of the film is just really build up to those who know what's going to happen based off what happens in the remake and for those who don't know what is to happen, it's the set up. (There's a difference.) The big difference between this Thing and the other Thing is the heavy use of special effects. Let me just say that the special effects in this version are fantastic. The movie is very gory and that's where the effects play in. It has stuff like a dog's head splitting open and this guys chest opening up and chewing up this other guys hands. Believe it or not, all the gory parts were done with animatronics and puppetry, no CGI involved. That's awesome. The fact that all that stuff was actually happening in front of the camera is just great. Animatronics are without a doubt better than CGI. Another thing done well is how effective the scares are. Most horror movies today rely heavily on jump scares and I absolutley hate that shit. Jump scares are for unimaginative directors and people who say that they actually are scary are just lacking a taste in classic horror movies. The film creates a feeling a paranoia for the characters since the alien creature can take the form of whatever it chooses so not knowing whether the person you're with is an alien or not is pretty frightening. I still believe the original Thing did a better job of creating that feeling of being paranoid. The acting in the film is great as well. Kurt Russell does a really good job in his role. He's obviously paranoid of possibly being close to the creature at any time, but he doesn't lose his mind and try to go jack-off in San Diego. (Problem, Jason Russell?) The film is a solid remake, it has a great cast, amazing special effects, a really well done feeling of tension and some great genuine scares. The original may be better, but the remake comes close to being just as great.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2012
This is Director, John Carpenters masterpiece, the best film he has made next to Escape From New York. A bone-chilling edge of your seat thrill-ride filled with blood-soaked suspense and amazing special effects that surpass most horror films of the 80`s. Kurt Russell gives a strong and outstanding performance.
Super Reviewer
½ January 17, 2012
I will be honest and say that I feel very terrible for this film. The reason why is because this film was released around the same time Steven Spielberg made his famous film ET: Extra Terrestrial and that film set in the minds of people that aliens were cute and cuddly little creatures that are misunderstood. Then comes this little horror film that basically destroyed all of those idea and made aliens completely terrifying creatures that are hell bent on taking over.
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!
Super Reviewer
December 22, 2007
Atmospheric, engaging, utterly creepy, a stone cold horror classic. The Thing in my opinion is John Carpenter's finest hour. His direction is superb, every shot is meticulously crafted, Carpenter masterfully creates growing suspense and paranoia. Thematically it may be an alien horror but at its core, and what makes the film so fascinating is the human element, the characters decreasing trust in one another. Kurt Russell leads the cast with a very strong, low-key performance (his most iconic role in my humble opinion, though Snake Plissken is a close second) as RJ Macready the level-headed helicopter pilot who is the epitome of masculinity. There is not a weak link in the whole cast. A timeless and refreshing chiller, in my top five of all time.
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2011
Amazing special effects and suspense with minimal breaks, this film grabs you and doesn't let go.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2007
A shock-fest galore concerning a group of researchers (led by Kurt Russell) who unknowingly let a monstrous being into their camp, where it wrecks havoc on their trust in one another as it takes living in one of the scientists, only they, nor the one it possesses, is aware of it. Carpenter's creativity when it comes to letting the gore rip, coupled with the film's realistic, assured plotting, help compensate for its lack of character development, as well as firm explanation as to why these scientists are here to begin with. Still, Russell's workmanlike performance is perfect considering the film relies more on action and scares, and the ending is satisfying and definitely explosive. Still, it has its problems, but not enough to say it isn't worth the view. Horror film fans will be in Heaven while watching this.
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2011
John Carpenter in his finest hour. This film makes great use of its isolated Antarctic setting that gives the feel of isolation and no escape. The effects used for the monster are spectacular for its technicality and repulsiveness. If you have a weak stomach, this movie is not for you. The monsters different transformations and forms are creative and hideous to look at. The story may be a bit slow for some, but the story is loaded with suspense and intrigue. The film greatly benefits from a strong cast of characters, especially from Keith David and Kurt Russell. Kurt Russell plays a tough guy hero, but gives enough down-to-earth personality that his character never comes across as cliche. The music is like hearing your own pulse, it gives a really dark ambient atmosphere that compliment the Antarctic setting beautifully. The Thing offers great sci-fi horror thrills while also offers a compelling insight into the darkness of the human mind.
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2011
Atmospheric, full of mystery, superbly directed, and fantastic make-up and effects. This folks may be one of Carpenter's best. It features an ensemble cast of some of the best character actors the 80's had to offer. And yes, what review would be complete without discussing the main man himself Kurt Russell. He is brooding, seething with rage, and his nihilistic attitude is nothing to fuck with. All in all, a real treat for fans of horror and sci-fi.
Mark Beckford
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2011
The plot, special effects, and haunting score will test the fate of time. It's amazing how John Carpenter made both pure classics and pure crap.
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2011
The plot, special effects, and haunting score will test the fate of time. It's amazing how John Carpenter made both pure classics and pure crap.
Super Reviewer
½ October 16, 2011
As scientists journey into the arctic, they discover a creature which they presume to be dead. On their way to find it, it provides many winks to the audience as it reflects the 1951 original film. It serves as both a remake and a potential sequel if some audiences give it the lea-way that it needs. I found this film to be a fantastic update on what was already a classic horror flick. It has some of the most disturbing images I have ever seen on screen, and the bone-chilling creatures will make your gut turn. The characters are likeable even though, like any horror movie, you come to hate some of them. The terror is brilliant, the creatures are grusomly frightening, the story is brilliant if you have seen the original, and the film definitely earns it's R-rating. "The Thing" is a fantastic (not perfect) film with an open ending that I was very unsure about, leaving the audience with that much more suspense. This film is awesome!
Super Reviewer
October 14, 2011
A thrilling, frightening, intense horror classic.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
I'm not a great believer in John Carpenter's B-Movie philosophy, his rag tag filmography that is lackluster to the point of incredulity. Still, no one can protest his brilliance when it comes to horror movies. Besides this thoughtfully provoking film he is also credited with directing Halloween, The Fog, and They Live, and many more, each with something atypical in comparison to other horror films of that period of time. The Thing is a labor of love, moody, throat clamping, and amazingly tense. Instead of being comically miscast and/or a ridiculous character without any semblance of reason, Kurt Russell is brash, burly, and angry, but without being an overacting cliche. As it is, the film has a set tone, conveyed in the lack of buildup music, instead relying on a very creepy score, which runs throughout the equally creepy beginning. There are only questions to answer as the plot moves along, and we're introduced to an alien organism that takes over living things and morphs into them. In its basic form it looks like a very bad piece of ham, complete with whipping tentacle arms, skinless faces, and blood and gore to boot. The special effects on this are technically dated, with CGI taking over where nuance and subtly once hung their hat. Still, I think that using original techniques made it more realistic, especially when the Thing announces its presence by transforming from the human form back into its globular state. The best part of The Thing's structure, is the fact that it can take over people, which means this has the strange parallel of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, while still retaining original content when this being emerges, sticks to the ceiling, or grows appendages and scuttles away. Much of the film relies on cutting away and not revealing anything to the audience, which was a smart choice to build tension within this small group up in the Antarctic.
Super Reviewer
March 31, 2007
John Carpenter's The Thing is an instant classic in a long line of thriller films.The meat of the plot is heavy on the science fiction, and the story that grows from it has all the makings of a fun time. Making efficient use of its 100 minute run time, The Thing steadily sets up the story, as well as builds up the characters. True, there isn't a whole lot unveiled about them, but they do grow with the film.The creature effects are freakish, bloody, and simply phenomenal. If there is something to remember in this picture, aside from its opening and closing theme song, it's this."Fine! Windows, you come with us. You, me and Nauls will check the outside. Palmer, you and Childs check the inside. Norris, you stay here and watch Gary, Clark and the Doc. Any one of them moves or tries to break free, you fry 'em and then cut loose on the sirens. We all meet back here in 20 minutes... regardless! And everybody watch who you're with... real close." Kurt Russell gives the MacReady character the appropriate personality and dialogue delivery to bear this movie himself. He doesn't do it alone though, because the rest of the supporting cast fit nicely into this production.The Thing is one of those films that deserves a viewing. Anyone for a blood test?
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