The Thing (1982)

Rating X/18

Length 1 hr 44

Release 26.8.1982

About In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.


Treat

  • This is a near perfect film for me. There’s a perfect and smooth introduction to the cast. It’s not clear at the beginning who is the protagonist, and even when you consider Kurt Russell’s Mac your main man, the film throws I doubt your way. Even if movie logic tells you that he can’t be the Thing, your breath still catches.
  • Speaking of Kurt Russell, he is perfectly cast and I love the initial progression of his character from the reluctance to fly to Norway’s camp to insisting they have to go a second time. Also, he has such pretty, pretty hair. While many blokes might not appreciate it, but as a woman with little else in the film designed to engage me (Other than a fucking awesome plot), I’m going to pick up on his god damn pretty hair.
  • There’s no women in this film. I’m not saying the absence of women is the treat, but the way in which its handled is. Not only are there no women cast, there’s not naked posters objectifying women. In fact, there’s no mention of women at all. The only thing that’s presented is when Palmer turns off a game show to play porn and even that is done in a tasteful way; we hear it, but at no point to we get a shot of it.
  • The music is terrifying. I’ve never found a score more effective than the rhythmic beat from this theme. It’s almost that its simplicity is what makes it so terrifying.
  • The effects of this film are still as gory and horrific As I’d imagine they were back in the day. Yes, some of the transformations make the human features look ‘fake’, but I feel that actually adds to the horror of it all, especially when it comes to THAT scene. There’s no CGI that could make that crawling head freak me out more.
  • The tension in this film is constantly evolving, but it never lets up and the key to that is how the film uses ambiguity and suspicion to tear the group apart.

Trick

  • The opening shot is very similar to the once scene in Predator. By that I mean the childlike corner drawing of the Earth and the spaceship entering the atmosphere. Something that I feel is a little pointless other than letting you know height from the get go its aliens. Plus, Earth in the corner?! No wonder we all grew up popping the sun on the corner of our page when we painted as kids.
  • I would have liked a mention of life beyond the camp. There’s no mention of having people ‘back home’ and I think that might have added emotional weight and give at least one of them something to fight for.

Final Thoughts

A film that is well made, well cast and scary as hell. Not so much the creature itself, but how easily man turns on itself and the fear of the ultimate unknown.

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One thought on “The Thing (1982)”

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