The Thing (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982)

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Critic Consensus: 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.

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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 through the Antarctic tundra, chased by two men in a helicopter firing at it from above. Even after the dog finds shelter at an American research outpost, the men in the helicopter (Norwegians from an outpost nearby) land and keep shooting. One of the Norwegians drops a grenade and blows himself and the helicopter to pieces; the other is shot dead in the snow by Garry (Donald Moffat), the American outpost captain. American helicopter pilot MacReady (Kurt Russell, fresh from Carpenter's Escape From New York) and camp doctor Copper (Richard Dysart) fly off to find the Norwegian base and discover some pretty strange goings-on. The base is in ruins, and the only occupants are a man frozen to a chair (having cut his own throat) and the burned remains of what could be one man or several men. In a side room, Copper and MacReady find a coffin-like block of ice from which something has been recently cut. That night at the American base, the Husky changes into the Thing, and the Americans learn first-hand that the creature has the ability to mutate into anything it kills. For the rest of the film the men fight a losing (and very gory) battle against it, never knowing if one of their own dwindling number is the Thing in disguise. Though resurrected as a cult favorite, The Thing failed at the box office during its initial run, possibly because of its release just two weeks after Steven Spielberg's warmly received E.T.The Extra-Terrestrial. Along with Ridley Scott's futuristic Alien, The Thing helped stimulate a new wave of sci-fi horror films in which action and special effects wizardry were often seen as ends in themselves. ~ Anthony Reed, Rovi

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Cast

Kurt Russell
as R.J. MacReady
Wilford Brimley
as Dr. Blair
Richard Dysart
as Dr. Copper
Peter Maloney
as Bennings
Norbert Weisser
as Norwegian
Larry Franco
as Norwegian Passenger with Rifle
Nate Irwin
as Helicopter Pilot
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Critic Reviews for The Thing

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (6)

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…

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…

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…

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 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Thing

½

I finally got round to seeing this after hearing it being talked about as one of the best horror films ever made and a timeless classic. It is very good, it has some truly memorable scenes that are still pretty far out 26 years after it was made!!! It has some nice effects to, no CGI here and the creature in its forms looks great. Set in a great location for a horror, a strong cast, good director this can't fail to impress. If you've not seen it yet put it to the top of your want to see list.

Dean King
Dean King

Super Reviewer

½

Carptenter's horror classic is still one of the most drastically gory films of all times. Sure, the splatter effects did not age well, but some of them still make you really uneasy. Other than that the film works mostly thanks to its atmosphere and location. Still, some parts seem to drag on and hardly any of the characters grow on you enough to care about anything that's going on. Still got mixed feelings about this. It's just a little too ugly for my taste, even if you can't blame the creators for what they set out to deliver here.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Helped by an evocative 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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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