A monster movie/sci-fi mash up, The Thing features ground breaking effects work, and career best filmmaking from horror maestro John Carpenter.
Now, many a fan will claim that Carpenter’s Halloween is his best. But another look at this 1982 cult classic proves otherwise.
Seen by some as a remake of 1951 classic The Thing from Outer Space, Carpenter’s film is less a retread and more a faithful adaptation of its source material, “Who Goes There?” written by John W. Campbell Jr.
Set in Antarctica, Carpenter opens his film with a “what the hell?” sequence involving nutter Norweigan’s trying to kill a wolf dog.
In fear, the cute mutt scampers to an American base station. Its inhabitants are played by a cast of varied character actors, among them Keith David and Richard Masur, who are led by Carpenter favourite Kurt Russell, playing a heavily bearded, no bullshit helicopter pilot.
Unknown to them, shrinkage and frost bite will be the least of their worries, when a vicious alien being who digests and imitates other life forms, reveals itself within their comfy compound.
The introduction of said creature has to be one of the most memorably horrific and innovative monster intros, in its laying waste to a dog kennel in spectacularly bloody fashion.
Indeed, a lot of the success in The Thing is due to the stellar effects work by Rob Bottin, who went beyond the pale to create some of the most innovative and bloodcurdling creature effects to splatter the silver screen.
Both wondrous and repulsive, Bottin’s effects work hits a nerve so raw, that when a severed head sprouts legs and walks, prompting one character to utter “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me?!”, never have truer words been spoken.
Adding to the splatter power is Carpenter’s deft hand at creating and maintaining suspense amidst the carnage, with The Thing as much a psychological thriller as a gore infused fright flick.
Paranoia reigns, with many a viewer attempting to guess just who is Thing? Or, who is man? That is, if they can get past the blood splatter first.