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"The Thing" is John Carpenter's masterpiece and one of the best classic horror films!
ivo-cobra831 October 2015
A classic film. John Carpenter's "The Thing" is one of the most entertaining horror films ever made - fast, clever and purely exciting from start to finish. It is one of my personal favorite horror movies. This is how all movies of the genre should be made. Set on an isolated base in Antarctica, this version seems almost to pick up where the original version (The Thing From Another World) left off. The American scientists discover a decimated Norwegian base some miles distant. Everyone is dead, and only the half charred remains of some unidentifiable thing left to smolder outside the compound might offer any answers to what may have happened. The Thing is brought back to the American base and, too late, the scientists realize that it is alive and lethal. The Thing thaws out and is off, not only killing anyone and anything that crosses Its path, but also absorbing them, making Itself into whoever and whatever it wants. The film then turns into a brilliant paranoia piece. Everyone is suspect, anyone can be The Thing, and no one trusts anyone anymore. Gone is the strength and security found when human beings band together in spite of their differences to battle a monster. The group splinters and fear rules supreme. Who is the Thing?

Seriously I Love this movie I love it To Death. I love Escape From New York and I love Escape From L.A. but I also love The Thing so much better this is definitely the best Carpenter film a truly masterpiece classic I love R.J. MacReady - Kurt Russell I love everything about this film that is. Science Fiction, Horror and an Action Epic Film. A lot of the practical effects were left out but the it looked nice and the acting was good and it expanded upon the monsters background and showing you the inside of the ship. It must of been tough to bring across on screen the visual design.

In my opinion, nobody has topped this film in the 25-odd years since its release. I'll put any of "The Thing's" old-school effects up against any CGI-driven movie, or this cast against almost any other ensemble. If you haven't seen the film yet, I envy you because I WISH I could see "The Thing" again for the first time. WOW! Does more need to be said? How about this...there is no parallel. Who's your friend? Who's the Thing? Who do you trust? Who can you afford to trust? If you've never seen this movie...your in for a treat. The only other movie that had such an impact on me was The Matrix (the first movie)...where I left the theater touching the walls wondering if they were really real. This movie will leaving you the guy/gal next to you really real?

"Trust is a tough thing to come by these days."

John Carpenter's The Thing is a seminal piece of horror that is not only a fine specimen of its era, but it also serves as a shining example of horror done absolutely right in any era. Combining gross-out special effects reminiscent of Hellraiser, the nail-bitingly intense, claustrophobic filmmaking of Alien, offering a story that is very well-paced, such as George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, and presenting the idea that true terror can be found at any time, in any place, and inside anyone, much like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, The Thing works on every level, and represents the peak of each and every aspect that may be utilized to make horror films effective. Granted, this amalgamation of styles is not the only formula for winning horror.

The basic plot about this movie is Horror-moister John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York) teams Kurt Russell's outstanding performance with incredible visuals to build this chilling version of the classic The Thing. In the winter of 1982, a twelve-man research team at a remote Antarctic research station discovers an alien buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Once unfrozen, the form-changing alien wreaks havoc, creates terror and becomes one of them.

It is one of the best favorite horror films of the 80's ever. I love this film to death. The Thing is the best classic horror film from master and genius John Carpenter! 'The Thing' is classic Carpenter and one of the few remakes that is better than the original. Kurt Russell's characters: Snake Plissken, R.J. MacReady and Jack Burton are Kurt's best favorite characters he ever played. I also love the music score from Ennio Morricone! Awesome!!! 10/10 Grade: Bad Ass Seal Of Approval
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Good things come to those who wait
Rainfox27 May 2000
* * * * ½ (4½ out of 5)

The Thing

Directed by: John Carpenter, 1982

Looking back on John Carpenter's The Thing – today a highly treasured cult favourite – one has to wonder why it was dismissed by both the audience and critics when it first came out in 1982.

Steven Spielberg's extra terrestrial adventure about a sweet alien that phoned home (that stole the hearts of both children and adults world wide) had opened just two weeks before and was on its historic box office rampage. Bad scheduling may have had a greater impact than anything else on the fate of Carpenter's first big studio effort for Universal Pictures. Nobody was prepared – moreover wanted anything so dark, gory and scary as this genuine remake of the famous 1951 original. This was the time of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

It then makes for great movie history trivia, that The Thing has gained such a remarkable afterlife on video, DVD and television. Both financially and critically. Carpenter's version is less a remake of the Howard Hawks' version than a more faithful adaptation of John W. Campbell's short story "Who Goes There?' (on which both were based), and critics today point out how well Carpenter plays his characters against each other. Kurt Russell will never top this one, and he gets a brilliant sparring from the entire cast.

It opens in Antarctica with a sled husky running from a pair of crazed and armed Norwegian men in a helicopter. The scene is long, slow and uneasy. It feels like the Apocalypse. It oozes doomsday.

This scene comprises one of the greatest opening sequences in film history.

Ennio Morricone's moody synth score (heavy on naked thumping bass lines in classic Carpenter style), the windswept massive white of the desolate polar ice and the majestic husky running across the tundra chased by the chopper, compromises a completely mesmerizing piece of scenery.

A satisfying example of a movie that today – 18 years after – looks downright muscular in its simplicity.

The budget was big ($14 mill), yet it allowed Carpenter to visualize his ideas better than ever before. There's a brooding darkness to this film, making the whites and blues of the icy Antarctic claustrophobia seem poetic and almost angelic. Dean Cundey's extraordinary photography created a palpable chill to every shot. The careful preparation (the crew went into a record 11-month pre-production) paid off immensely.

Horror specialist Rob Bottin was handpicked for the many gory and grotesque special effects. Be warned – there's a lot of splatter and gore here. The Thing is actually notorious for its creature morphing scenes. Some find them disgusting, some mere cult.

An argument could be made against The Thing being an Alien rip-off; it has its origins in an old sci-fi story and it creates tension by popping a crowd of people (note: all-male) on an isolated outpost (an Antarctic research facility) terrorized by an alien life form.

Where Carpenter was clearly inspired by Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece, his own alien movie is original and intriguing in its own right. There's a rhythm and an environment that equals Scott's in every way.

The husky was in fact half-wolf and half-dog, and it was noted that it never barked or growled on or off the set (Horror Takes Shape, the making of - DVD version).

Watch in awe at the scene where it walks through the hallway and stares at a human shadow, slightly tilting its head forward in stalking position like a wild wolf. This is a fine piece of animal training, sure, but that's not the point. This is as spooky as anything ever made in a horror movie.

Carpenter had all the right tools here, and he utilized them to perfection, making The Thing his best movie alongside Halloween.
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A classic that still holds up to this very day
MovieAddict201626 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
"I know I'm human. And if you were all these things, then you'd just attack me right now, so some of you are still human. This thing doesn't want to show itself, it wants to hide inside an imitation. It'll fight if it has to, but it's vulnerable out in the open. If it takes us over, then it has no more enemies, nobody left to kill it. And then it's won."

John Carpenter's "The Thing" is one of the most entertaining horror films ever made – fast, clever and purely exciting from start to finish. This is how all movies of the genre should be made.

Taking place in the Antarctic in 1982, the movie focuses specifically on a group of American scientists. We are given no introduction to their mission, but are thrust into their existence when a pair of seemingly crazy Norwegians appears at their base camp, chasing an escaped dog. The Norwegians are killed, and the dog finds its way into the colony, which is when things really start to get crazy.

It is soon made quite clear that the "dog" is actually a shape-shifting alien organism, which manifests itself upon the physical form of its victims – in other words, it begins to eat the Americans, and imitate them so well that the remaining humans cannot discern the difference between their friends and enemies

The pack of scientists, led by MacReady (Kurt Russell), begin to fight for their own survival, using wits instead of brawn. If the Thing is indeed amongst them, then how are they to go about revealing it? How many Things are there? How can the Thing be killed? (Or can it be destroyed at all?)

The creature's origins in the film are explained easily: Thirty thousand years ago a spacecraft plummeted to Earth, and was frozen in the Antarctic ice. The Thing tried to escape, and was discovered in the ice by the Norwegians, who unknowingly released it from its natural prison.

"The Thing," the movie itself, is similar to Ridley Scott's iconic "Alien" (1979). Many comparisons have been made – the protagonists are stranded in a desolate area, stalked by a seldom seen foe that manages to kill them off one-by-one. However, "The Thing" – for all practical purposes – came first.

Based on the famous short story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr. (writing under pseudonym as Don A. Stuart), the film was originally adapted as a feature production in 1951 by Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby. The result was "The Thing From Another World," an unarguable classic. But to be fair, it bore little resemblance to the short story, and Carpenter's remake does it more justice.

The idea of the Thing being able to adapt the physicality of anyone is what essentially makes this movie so great, and is the most vital link to the short story. In 1951 the special effects were simply too poor to reasonably portray the shape-shifting organism, but thirty-one years brought many advances in SFX.

Creature effects artist Rob Bottin does an excellent job of turning what could have easily become a cheesy gore-fest into a startlingly frightening (and realistic) mess of blood and fear. The Thing, although never actually taking one specific form, is constantly seen in a morphing stage, and the effects are simply superb. They still pack a punch twenty-two years later.

Ennio Morricone's score (nominated for a Razzie Award at the time) is a bit too electronic and tinny, but nevertheless haunting when used correctly.

From the fact that its cast consists entirely of males, to the fact that its ending is one of the most thought-provoking and untypical conclusions of all time, "The Thing" – by any standards – is unconventional Hollywood at its best. It comes as no surprise that, at the time of its release, "The Thing" performed poorly in theaters, and "E.T." – released the same year and featuring a much kinder alien – became the higher-grossing picture of the two (by far).

In the long run, however, "The Thing" is superior in almost every conceivable way. Spielberg's tale is outdated and flopped during its 20th Anniversary Re-Release. "The Thing," on the other hand, has gradually climbed a ladder of cult classics – it is one of the most famous non-famous movies ever made.

Carpenter is notorious for having a very uneven career – from his amazing "Assault on Precinct 13" (1976) to the magnificent "Halloween" (1978) to the disappointing and silly "Escape from L.A." (1996), "The Thing" remains his very best motion picture. Although its reputation over the years has never been honorary enough to land it a spot on most "great movies" lists, "The Thing" is still one of my favorite horror films, and – upon close inspection – masterfully crafted. It is a daring and ingenious thrill-ride that is simultaneously unique and chilling – a genuine relief for film buffs who are tired of the same old horror knock-offs. This one, at the very least, is genuinely unpredictable.
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Today it's still one of the best horror films
Stibbert11 July 2005
Antarctica, winter 1982. The team on an American research base get surprised by a couple of mad Norwegians who is chasing a dog with a helicopter, trying to kill it. All the Norwegians are killed and the Americans are left with nothing, but a dog, a couple of bodies and questions. That's the beginning of the greatest horror/thriller film I've ever seen.

From the very beginning all to the end you feel the tense, paranoid mood. Helpless and alone out in no-mans land. Ennio Morricone was nominated for a Razzie Award for his score. Why I don't know 'cause as far as I can see his score is simple, creepy and very good. It really gets you in the right mood.

The acting is great! The best performance is probably given by the dog who's just amazing. As for Russell and the others on two legs I can say nothing less.

You may think 1982 and special effects are not the most impressive? Well, think again! You haven't seen it all until you've seen this. Bodyparts falling off and creatures changing forms... Rob Bottin has done a great job witch today stands as a milestone is special effects makeup.

The movie didn't get a big response when it first hit the big screen due to other alien films at the time and so it's not very well known. In fact you can almost consider it an unknown movie. Nobody I've asked have heard of it. However the movie has managed to survive for over twenty years as a cult film on video and DVD. Twenty years is a long time and except for the haircut the movie is still pretty much up to date. This movie is to be considered a classic.

The movie is without doubt one of my, if not my favorite. I've seen it several times, but it's just as good as the first time I saw it. As a Norwegian the only thing I don't like about this movie is that MacReady keeps calling the Norwegians swedes!
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A Timeless Look in Paranoia, a Horror Classic
ChadKuhns5 August 2002
Just to put things in perspective for you before I get into my thoughts on this film, I am only 20 years old and have grown up in the era of CGI, blue screen effects...and this movie was made around the same time i was born.

With that said, WOW, I only recently saw John Carpenter's version of 'The Thing', and what a masterpiece it truly is. I have long since been a fan of John Carpenter, in particular his works from the late 70's and 80's. In 'The Thing' John Carpenter has truly crafted a paranoia inducing, perhaps gut wrenching classic.

The movie is an update of the classic 'The Thing From Outer Space', but only like it's predecessor, this film is in full color, and the characters of this film have much more to worry about than an alien veggie

The film centers around a group of Arctic Researchers you encounter an alien lifeform capable of taking the form of anything it comes into contact with, and out of for that matter. Kurt Russell stars as R.J. MacReady, an alcoholic Vietnam Vet, thrust into the role of leader of a group of relatively cold and callous men all of whom are readily plunging into manic paranoia and somewhat madness once they realize that they are up against a creature that can take any form, be any one of them.

John Carpenter, more than in any other of his films, manages to create a truly believable and incredible atmosphere. When watching this film you truly get the sense of the dark,sinister, desolate surroundings, you feel and realize that these characters have no where to go...never for one second do you not believe they are stuck on a polar ice cap. Also, this film has perhaps one of the greatest endings to any film of it's genre, or any genre for that matter. I'm not going to give it away here, but to say that it will leave you wondering would be an understatement.

Kurt Russell is superb as MacReady....truly conveying the emotions of a man thrust into a situation of unimaginable horror, forced to lead a group of men who cannot trust that the man next to them is not the creature that has driven them to the brink of paranoia and emotional meltdown.

I don't care if this movie is 20 years old by now, the special effects in this movie are gut wrenching, mind blowing, and absolutely awesome. They blow away any CGI pixel based crap out there today. The 'Thing' itself is a truly horrifying and disturbing creation...unlike any alien you have ever seen in a movie before. Those who have a low tolerance for gore and blood had best prepare themselves for watching this movie.

This movie does what any good horror/sci fi movie should do, it really thrusts you into it's character's world. It leaves you wondering, what would you do, who could you trust if anyone you knew could be the creature waiting to feed on you, and take you over as well. The images, and ideals of this movie stayed with me long after i first saw it, and today as i write this review send a chill up my spine.

It is a true shame this movie is only now getting the proper recognition it deserves. A box office flop when released, now more then ever when movies are paper thin with plot, and one dimensional in effects, this film can be appreciated as a true masterpiece of sci/fi and horror.

If possible, get the Collector's Edition DVD, and enjoy it in anamorphic widescreen..the way it is truly meant to be seen. Marvel at the incredible scenery, the taught direction, the excellent atmosphere, the sweat inducing, gag reflex activating, and everything else that makes this movie great.

Watch it with the lights out, with a group of close friends...maybe even with a dog around...if you don't what i'm talking will afterwards.

Don't let a classic pass you bye
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Finally getting recognition.
mcseph29 September 2001
I am ashamed to say it, but I have to admit, the first time I saw this film was only about a year ago. After seeing it, I immediately rushed out and bought the DVD collectors' edition and have watched it many times since.

The film is terrific on many levels. It works as your straight monster or action type film, as a horror/sci-fi and also as a very intriguing look into the human psyche. The incredible sense of paranoia, mistrust and fear, lent not only by Carpenter's direction (which is stunning) but also by the incredible acting of the cast in general. Kurt Russell (obviously) is spectacularly understated in the lead role of MacReady, and, as a direct result he "feels" like a real person, rather than a hollywood "all american hero". The other cast members all carry off their roles with style, and the net result is an intensely believable atmosphere, and a truly fantastic film.
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Intelligent Splatter
Gafke28 December 2003
This is another one of those films that I remember staying up late to watch on TV, scaring the crap out of myself at the impressionable age of 12 or so and dooming myself thereafter to a life of horror movie obsession. This is a GREAT movie, and stands as living proof that there were indeed realistic effects before CGI.

Set on an isolated base in Antarctica, this version seems almost to pick up where the original version (The Thing From Another World) left off. The American scientists discover a decimated Norwegian base some miles distant. Everyone is dead, and only the half charred remains of some unidentifiable thing left to smolder outside the compound might offer any answers to what may have happened. The Thing is brought back to the American base and, too late, the scientists realize that it is alive and lethal. The Thing thaws out and is off, not only killing anyone and anything that crosses Its path, but also absorbing them, making Itself into whoever and whatever it wants. The film then turns into a brilliant paranoia piece. Everyone is suspect, anyone can be The Thing, and no one trusts anyone anymore. Gone is the strength and security found when human beings band together in spite of their differences to battle a monster. The group splinters and fear rules supreme. Who is the Thing?

The gore effects here are absolutely amazing and messily realistic. I could have done without the dogs head splitting open like a banana peel, but that's just the animal lover in me being picky: kill all the humans you want, but leave the kitties and puppies alone. Sanity and reason disintegrate rapidly as, one by one, the humans are taken over by the shapeshifting alien. The power of this film lies in its paranoia, and although I liked the original version, I prefer this one; the real threat lies within, and is scarier for the fact that it cannot be seen or easily detected. When it is forced out of hiding, it's wrath is huge and the results are horrific.

This is one of Carpenters best films, right up there with The Fog and Halloween. All of the actors give strong, realistic performances and the special effects are so powerful that they stand as their own main character. This film has something for any lover of the horror genre. Don't miss it.
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Flips the scenario round from the original to great effect.
Spikeopath4 March 2008
John Carpenter shows how much he loves the 1951 original by giving it the utmost respect that he possibly could, the only difference here is that Carpenter chooses to stick to the paranoiac core of John W Campbell Jr's short story.

The secret to this version's success is the unbearable tension that builds up as the group of men become suspicious of each other, the strain of literally waiting to be taken over takes a fearful hold. Carpenter then manages to deliver the shocks as well as the mystery that's needed to keep the film heading in the right direction.

Be it an horrific scene or a "what is in the shadow" sequence, the film is the perfect fusion of horror and sci-fi. The dialogue is laced with potency and viability for a group of men trying to keep it together under such duress, while Ennio Morricone's score is a wonderful eerie pulse beat that further racks up the sense of doom and paranoia seaming throughout the film.

The cast are superb, a solid assembly line of actors led by Carpenter favourite Kurt Russell, whilst the effects used around the characters get the right amount of impact needed. But most of all it's the ending that is the crowning glory, an ending that doesn't pander to the norm and is incredibly fitting for what has gone on before it. Lets wait and see what happens indeed. 10/10
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I worship this film. 10/10
The_Wood20 April 2002
John Carpenter's The Thing is hands down the best horror film ever made. Not only that, but it is also on of my personal favorite films of all time. What makes the movie so great? It's hard to put my finger on it. Everything just seems to work in The Thing, it's one of the rare occasions where everything just seems to fall in place. The film is even superior to Alien in creating a type of moody atmospheric hell. The fact that it's not only about the gore (which is wonderful btw), but it is able to create a paranoia that is unmatched in films. A truly wonderful film that is worshiped by all horror buffs, and anyone who has good taste in films.
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Right up there with "Halloween"--one of Carpenter's best!
preppy-36 December 2003
Remake of the classic 1951 "The Thing From Another World". 12 men are in a completely isolated station in Antartica. They are invaded by a thing from outer space--it devours and completely duplicates anything it chooses to. It starts off as a dog but gets loose--and has a chance to duplicate any of the men. Soon, nobody trusts anyone else--they're isolated--the radio is destroyed--their helicopter likewise. What are they going to do?

The 1951 film had the thing just be a big, super human monster. That movie was scary. This one is too--but the story is different (and based more closely on the source material--the novelette "Who Goes There?") and it's scary in a different way. The movie starts right off with Ennio Morricone's extremely eerie score setting just the right tone and--when the Thing gets attacked--the amount of gore is astounding. There's blood and body parts flying all over--arms are bitten off, heads detach and--in the strongest one--one man is devoured face first by the Thing. The gore effects are STRONG and real nightmare material. I don't scare easy but I had to sleep with the lights on when I saw this originally back in 1982. Rob Bottin's effects are just incredible--how this picture got by with an R rating is beyond me!

It also has a very creepy feel--gore aside, it is very suspenseful. You're not sure who is what and Carpenter's direction and the score really build up the tension. One complaint--no one is given any distinctive personality traits. They actors just remain straight-faced and say their lines. That's annoying...but the movie still works.

This was a critical and commercial disaster in 1982--it competed with "E.T." and MANY critics complained about the amount of gore and there being no female characters in the movie. It's now considered one of John Carpenter's best. A must-see...for strong stomaches. NOT a date film!

An amusing note: When this was released Universal sent a note along with all prints of the film. They suggested to theatre owners that they play the film in an auditorium near the rest rooms. They were afraid that people would be so sickened by the violence that they'd have to be close to a facility to throw up!
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Still my all time favorite sci-fi/horror!!!
PeachHamBeach22 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The silly saying, "You can't touch this" surely applies here. With all the clone horror and sci-fi films coming out, along with all the inferior remakes, it's hard to find anything worthy of 2 hours of your time. That's why I always rely on the classics that scared the weewee out of me when I was a pre-teen.

THE THING is, without an ounce of doubt in my mind, the goriest, ickiest, screechiest sci-fi horror classic that John Carpenter, or any other director (sorry, even you Mr. Spielberg) ever made. What really gives it power, though, is not the gore (it OOOOOZES of slime and blood and God knows what other fluids), but rather the sense of dread, isolation, and distrust it fosters in the characters and the viewer.

You can't get more remote than Antarctica, and in this howling, freezing white setting is where the story takes place. Several Americans, researchers and military men, are stationed there. One day, they witness a Siberian Husky dog running for dear life from gun-wielding Norwegians. Before they know it, the American outpost is battling a mysterious creature that can imitate any creature it wants. It may morph into disgusting slimy bloody shapes before it's finished, but once it's finished, if you didn't see it in progress, you can't tell it among humans or other normal Earth animals.

Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilford Brimley, Richard Masur, Donald Moffatt, TK Carter, Thomas Waites and Charles Hallahan are just a few of the fine cast. This film is the reason why horror CAN be a great genre. It actually STILL scares me. The alien blood "jumping" out of the petri dish when the hot wire touches it still makes ME jump!!!

Still the scariest of them all.
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Why The Thing?
allst27 September 2003
Many people has got a film they think of as their favourite movie. My movie will always be John Carpenter's The Thing! The main reason why this movie is a cult-film is perhaps the splatter-effects created mainly by genius Rob Bottin and that this is the movie that made Kurt Russell what he is today (along with Escape from N.Y.) In my opinion, this is not a great film because of the effects, it has to do with the story, the atmosphere, and of course, the acting. I have watched thousands and thousands of movies (3-6 every day the last 10 years), but none has had the impact on me as this one, not even the great "Das Boot".

Here's my suggestion to you who likes sci-fi and horror movies: Place yourself in the good chair of your home. Be sure you're not interupted by anyone. If you aint got a projector, sit close to your TV and watch this miracle of a film. Let it absorbe you, and you'll see it my way!

Best View Time: Late February between 5 and 9 in the evening.
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One of the best scary films I've seen
RBrooks11 August 1998
Hitting the video store late on a Saturday when all of the current films were unavailable, we ran across The Thing in the "classic" racks. I've seen this film at least twice before and truly enjoyed seeing it again. If it lacks plot or character development, the premise is frightening enough to make it an engrossing film. The gross-out special effects don't hurt either. For me, The Thing ranks with Alien as one of the best scary films I 've seen.
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The last John Carpenter classic
DAVID SIM1 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In 1982, two films were released within weeks of each other that were both about aliens. Steven Spielberg's ET, and John Carpenter's The Thing. Of the two of them, ET was the one that won the hearts of people the world over, even though The Thing debuted first. Because people were so entranced with Spielberg's warm, fuzzy feelgood alien fable, they stayed away from The Thing in droves.

Its not hard to see why. The two are diametrically opposed. One is an optimistic tale designed to warm the cockles of the still-beating heart. The other is a harsh, uncompromising film that paints alien life as something purely determined to destroy us. I guess audiences felt ET was a much cuter prospect than The Thing's tentacles and slime coated saliva!

It's taken some time, but The Thing has gone on to win over a substantial cult audience. As it should. Because The Thing is that rare example of a superior remake. It takes all the best qualities of the 1951 classic, and reinvents them in startling and imaginative ways. Indeed Carpenter does his job so well he actually succeeds in making a film that is in every inch the equal of the genre's showrunner, Alien. And that's even rarer!

Carpenter's film follows its source material more faithfully than The Thing From Another World did. It keeps the frigid wastes of Antarctica as a setting, because its the perfect backdrop when you're trying to establish a heightened sense of isolation. But although a bit thin on characterisation, the remake gets right inside the mindset of the actors, and amplifies the uncertainty and fear that slowly surrounds them.

Frequent Carpenter collaborator Kurt Russell returns, hot off the success of Escape From New York, cast once again as one of Carpenter's perpetual anti-heroes. He plays MacReady, the helicopter pilot at an Antarctic research station (what they're researching is anyone's guess). The trouble begins when a Norwegian chopper from a nearby station flies over MacReady's, trying to gun down a Siberian Husky from the air.

They end up dying for their troubles, and while the camp tries to solve the mystery of what happened, they take in the Husky and add it to their own. Except that this Husky, is not a Husky at all. But a shape-changing alien. The Norwegians discovered it frozen in the ice, and when they thawed it out, it massacred their crew. Capable of absorbing its victims at will, it can duplicate a living being right down to the smallest detail. Soon paranoia and suspicion works its way through the 12-man crew, until no-one is certain who is human and who is not.

The Thing is one of John Carpenter's finest films. In fact I'm tempted to say its the best film he's ever made. Even surpassing classics like Halloween and Dark Star. The reason why I place The Thing at the top of Carpenter's list is that it feels like the last film of his that could truly be called a classic. All the others thereafter have felt like Carpenter was slumming it. Films that didn't flow with the cool sophistication and ragged intensity so prevalent in his earlier works.

But The Thing had John Carpenter at the peak of his powers. Never has he generated suspense to such an unbearable degree. Not even in the ferocious Assault on Precinct 13. From the second the alien makes its presence known, Carpenter ratchets up the tension level relentlessly. And when he delivers his punches, they come with an agonising jolt.

The film is a blend of pure atmospherics and visceral horror. An approach that can often seem at odds with one another, but in Carpenter's hands melds together beautifully. Bringing in Rob Bottin of The Howling fame, he lays to bear some of the most astonishing transformation effects you'll ever see in a horror film. Amorphous shapes. Half-formed human features starkly contrasted with gaping jaws, spider legs and fully flexible tentacles. Indeed the film's effects are so amazing and squirm-inducing, The Thing came under fire for being too realistic!

That type of thinking misses the point entirely. It only shortchanges the film's values. And there are many. Carpenter only stages an effects setpiece when he needs to. Its in the film's quieter moments where he seems especially attuned to the story. The Thing is an often bewildering tale of shadows, whispers and implications. Characterisation has never been one of John Carpenter's strong suits, but it works to his advantage in The Thing. Because we hardly know anything about the cast, it only makes the present situation that much more confusing. We're never certain, from one moment to the next who is who. And because of this, The Thing holds up very well and maintains its mystery on subsequent viewings.

A special mention should go to the excellent film score from Ennio Morricone. A pulsing thud thud every two seconds. It creates an eerie, spooky feeling that is very hard to shake. The whole film is a wonderful exercise in paranoid manipulation. The scene where they blood-test each other to see who's human is wound up with such dexterity by Carpenter, you may find yourself biting your nails without even realising.

The Thing is a pure unadulterated classic. Even the ending leaves you with the vague suspicion that not everything is resolved. An underrated film, well worth the reappraisal it received. And so much better than ET!
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"Gimmie that Thing"!,
unreasonableboy4 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Thing has to be one of the all time great movies. Of course it was ground breaking special effects at the time of it's release that impressed me so much, back in 1982 it just blew my mind, I'd never seen anything like that! However, although the effects themselves made the movie more horrific, it was the story itself, the music score , the claustrophobic atmosphere of the Anarctic as well as the interaction and tension between the members of the doomed research station that makes it a classic.

Movies don't get any better than this! In the opening scene with the the chopper chasing this husky you just assume that it was some bored scientists from some station letting of some steam. Yet when you see them continue their chase at the US base you then think that the Norwegians are suffering from some form of advanced or extreme strain of cabin fever. Yet this is offset by the menacing opening music score that sets the tempo! You just know that something is not right! At this point it's a mystery until 'the thing' reveals itself.

However, the mystery returns because it becomes a sort of Agatha Christie "who dunnit" ( i.e. ten little Indians movie) sci-fi style as the members don't know which one of their team is really an alien. Suspicion continues to go back and forward between them all as one by one they eventually get knocked off or revealed as the alien. The mistrust between the station crew is absorbing as the movie progresses until the final showdown.

After 20 years of advances in computer graphics and film making production the special effects in "the Thing" don't carry the same weight as it did in 1982, but other than that it holds up very well all round with some great performances by the cast.
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Quality does not Age
Greg Mullins17 May 2011
This is one of the classic Guy films. Horror sci fi as it was meant to be - a real story with good acting. Giving us something missing from almost all horror movies - depth and character. Providing a much needed respite from the cardboard cut outs pasted and slashed throughout, that have been filling the genre for decades. Which has given this style of movie-making it's well deserved reputation and status - of being both Invalid and Not Art. Though John Carpenter himself has been one of the staunchest purveyors of such ilk, it is my humble opinion that he did well with this one, and maybe two others.

One of the best uses of curious as a tool, it lures you in a bit unexpectedly with a somewhat whimsical, almost playful beginning. Rich in atmosphere, while stark in landscape - you find yourself as intrigued by the people as you are the monster. The remoteness of the region gives a true sense of the isolation of the real life McMurdo Sound Naval Station (as it was called when I was in the Navy) which is on the very southern tip of Ross Island in the Antarctic, and is the portal for all things going to the South Pole. I think now it's simply known as McMurdo Station, with the story taking place at a small satellite station outside (probably fictional), as McMurdo is mentioned in the film.

Kurt Russell who started acting as a kid when I was a kid has never taken Hollywood too seriously, which I've always thought was pretty cool. He's done his share of trash films over the years, but there's been a handful of roles that have more than demonstrated his caliber as one of our great actors. His version of Wyatt Earp is by far the most recognized and almost as good as George C. Scott's Patton. I said almost. He's the center of a strong cast of seasoned actors with many recognizable faces and solid performances. I watched it last night with a good friend who had never seen it, and it was just as good as when I first saw it in the theater - almost 30 yeeeaaars ago. Add it to your library, you'll watch it many times . .
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This is how a movie is made
trnjamesbond18 February 2010
I vote this movie ten out of ten because of the great cast and also the great suspenseful creepy feel of the film the whole deep undertones of the score of the movie keeps you very interested in whats going to happen next every time I watch it. You can tell that Mr. Carpenter had his heart and soul imposed in this tale of great suspense and horror. He was a genius when it came to that. Really wish movies were made like this today instead of props they use CGI which is hollow and see through, especially in lighted scenes CGI looks totally fake but in this film the special effects were so real looking that it still amazes me today. Kurt Russel is so spectacular in this movie I just want to keep watching.

You could really tell that there was chemistry on the set between the actors in this film. A perfect combination of great talent great directing and great film work. I always love revisiting this horror classic remake of the original black and white film. Has so much more power than the original because back then Hollywood was so afraid of the world and as I watch old films that are in black and white it's almost as though they dumb down the audiences even though they were much smarter than they thought. Hollywood was different back then they couldn't do anything remotely bold on screen back then because of being afraid it would get banned. Well in this version Hollywood has evolved thanks to movies like the Exorcist,Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Alien. They have become much more liberal.

That's the reason why this film works so well, it's because Mr. Carpenter took a movie and did the things that the original directors couldn't do like add gore and more abstract ideas because back then they couldn't. Another reason why it works is because it's a great story to tell, just ask the question what would you do in this situation stranded in the middle of nowhere being attacked by an organism that adapts to everything it touches. That's what makes this classic retelling so good it's just a movie that has a simple idea and let's the paranoia grow in your mind. Knowing that if the thing touches you your life is going to be mimicked into something that you do not know. I will always love this version don't care about future remakes won't watch it because they will just fill it with CGI and actors from popular teen dramas that's all Hollywood cares about now is how popular the actors are.

They don't care about real story telling anymore all they care about is money and popularity. Screw that I'll stick with the classics until they realize what people like and crave so screw Hollywood they don't know how to make pictures anymore it's not about the art it's about cheap thrown together remakes and what makes a quick buck screw'em I'll just keep watching these great masterpieces when they still loved to make a great movie and put their heart and soul into it.
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A masterwork of horror atmosphere and special effects
NateWatchesCoolMovies27 October 2015
No horror movie brings you quite the icy, venereal chill of John Carpenter's The Thing. It's an undisputed horror classic that has lived on since it's slightly anticlimactic, ill received release back in the 80's (people didn't know a good fright flick when they saw it back then, I guess). Nevertheless, it's a heart stopping odyssey of ambient antarctic unease, sickening, squirm inducing practical effects, and a veil of impending danger and paranoia that blankets both the characters and the viewer, like the thick drifts of snow that blanket the screen to gorgeous effect. The story by now is timeless: a team of antarctic researchers in a remote location come across a gigantic spacecraft buried in the tundra, and unearth a grotesque, frozen creature that upon being thawed, wreaks havoc on them and their facility. It's an imitator, this monster, and can hide in plain sight, within the flesh and blood of any one of their crew. This gives way to extreme distrust, mental unraveling and mutiny as it turns them against one another. For me there's nothing quite as iconic as the opening: Ennio Morricone's ominous, rhythmical score kicks in as we see two hysterical Norwegians in a helicopter, Chasing a dog across the frozen terrain. It's one of the most dazzling, evocative entrances to a fright flick ever filmed. Kurt Russell, in his whiskered, macho glory plays Macready, the head of the team. Russell is always solid, especially in genre stuff, and he's almost as distinct and iconic here as his Snake Plissken character. T.K. Carter, Donald Moffat, Keith David Wilford Brimley and more round out the rest of the team, and I won't mention standouts because they're all just fantastic and each play their part to a T. A huge highlight is the gruesome creature effects. When the it tries to imitate something and messes up, the result is a grossly misshapen slab of slimy nondescript gore, guaranteed to freak and gross you out in equal measures. I won't spoil anything with specifics, but the dog kennel and defibrillator scenes are time capsule worthy and should be shown in special effects makeup schools as a shining example. Carpenter pulls off the second absolutely flawless horror movie of his career with this one, not an easy feat, especially in this genre. All the parts fit together perfectly, resulting in as chilling sci fi horror for the ages.
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The ultimate in alien terror.
desotowright3 May 2008
A group of explorers in the arctic region have encountered a vicious alien organism that can consume a person and make itself a perfect copy. This is a classic horror film that is loaded with brilliant special effects and graphic violence that is a perfect way to spend a cold evening. Kurt Russel stars as a troubled alcoholic who takes charge and tries to find which person is really the alien creature. One of the most brilliant things about the movie is that it plays with the idea of not knowing who you can trust. I found it interesting that it had an all male cast, something uncommon for many movies. The acting is very natural and very realistic. This movie was surprisingly scary and the graphic scenes were surprisingly horrific. It's a dark, brutal, and claustrophobic sci-fi horror film that has stood the test of time from the genius of John Carpenter.
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One of the best horror movies ever, finally getting recognition.
gheremond3 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
If you 're not reading this comment just to feel assured that there are other people in this world who share your good taste in films, do yourself a favor and watch this movie immediately. This would have probably been the best horror movie ever, if it wasn't for Ridley Scott's masterpiece (Alien). But I would say, "The Thing" really gives "Alien" a run for its money, we are talking about the cream of the crop of the horror/sci-fi category. It also easily qualifies as one of the best movies ever, regardless of genre. John Carpenter is a master of horror movie-making and here we find him at the pinnacle of his creative powers (although I consider "Starman" to be even better, but this isn't a horror film and it's another story). Top-notch performances from the all-male cast across the board, a-grade screen writing, stunning visuals and cinematography, and of course Carpenter's impeccable direction combine into a spellbinding, nightmarish tale of a would-be apocalypse unlike any"thing" you have seen before.

When I first checked to see how "The Thing" was doing on the IMDb scoreboard, back in 2001, I was disappointed to see it was hovering somewhere about 5.9 - 6.0. Most of the comments where not very good either, with a few exceptions. I was more than pleased to see this movie gaining more and more appreciation over the years. As I see now, it is among the top 250, with a score above 8.0 and with a good reason: It is certainly one of the greatest horror movies in history, which went under the radar for many years, until it finally achieved the cult status it deserved in the first place.

I was about 9 year old when I first watched this movie, late at night on TV - perfect conditions and age group to watch a film like that. Needless to say, I was scared to death! It took a long time until I watched it again, but the way I could remember all key scenes was a sign of the profound impact it had on me as a kid. Right from the haunting title sequence (which I think was later also copied in "Predator") to the spectacular gore scenes, to the chilling sense of isolation and impending doom created by the gloomy score.

Since then I have re-watched it many many times and I have to admit, it is perfect material for repeated viewing. More than a quarter of a century after its first (failed) release, witnessing the quality of what was supposed to be a b-movie of the 80's really puts most films shot today to shame. The detail and attention that went into the production design is truly amazing. The whole antarctic environment is replicated with tremendous accuracy. You can feel the cold and isolation of this barren white wasteland where the story is taking place and this is pivotal in creating the menacing, paranoia-inducing, claustrophobic atmosphere that permeates the film from start to finish.

The story itself is quite unconventional, based on an acclaimed novella from 1938. A team of scientists stationed in Antarctica face an alien life form, found buried in the ice, which upon thawed has the ability to consume other living organisms (including people) and imitate them perfectly. The film concentrates around the fear, mistrust and communication breakdown that ensues between the members of the team, once they realize they are isolated from the outside world, unable to get help and with one or more of them possibly not being human. The way the dynamics of the team is presented and the realistic depiction of their reactions makes the movie transcend its original premise as just a horror/sci-fi film and become something much deeper and profound. I am always amazed by the realistic behavior of each member, despite the unrealistic setup. You see people be afraid and some even break down, but you don't get you regular unstable guy who freaks out and tries to kill everybody. Kurt Russel gives a career-making performance, while the rest of the cast also does an excellent job. All around, a terrific ensemble piece.

There is also a large amount of carefully timed quality gore, that is utterly mind-blowing. Rob Bottin, the man mainly responsible for the animatronic (although also Stan Winston was also involved in the animatronic work) and make-up redefined the state of the art of what was possible, producing some of the best gore sequences ever that remain unmatched even today. What's more, these effects are really terrifying because they look and feel real and life-like. CGI is nemesis for a horror movie and "The Thing" is living proof that if you plan to shoot even a remotely scary scene, make sure you stick to good old latex and makeup.

Special mention should also go to Ennio Moriccone's haunting score. I can't believe it was actually nominated for a Razzie! Morricone produced some extremely effective underscore for the suspense-building scenes of the film, communicating all the paranoia of the isolated team and the otherworldly, alien presence that lurks in dark places, waiting to take hold.

Overall, I cannot recommend this movie more strongly. It is a rare combination of unparalleled atmosphere, unconventional story and inspired visuals which has stood the test of time admirably.
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Cool concept, bad execution
Damjan Raknic22 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As a concept it's rather brilliant actually, but it's a shame that the idea never really goes anywhere. The film features a one trick pony with it's main antagonist being a shape-shifting alien that can take over a host in every way and if it evolves to a point it becomes completely indistinguishable from the original. The story quickly abandons any attempt at adding depth to this premise while thoroughly exploiting the scare potential of such a "character". Instead the shape-shifting alien is reduced to just a killer and is exploited for gory thrills and horror scares, but mostly it's just gross. The storytelling is sparse and visually uninteresting. The snow and ice is never really a factor and while it makes for beautiful scenery, but other than that the film looks really plain. The special effects are pretty damn impressive, but what's the use when they serve no other function. The acting is your typical stoic man on a mission fare, and no real emotions or character arcs are explored. Everything about this film is pedestrian and therefore it should be skipped.
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the most professionally astute horror film of the 80's, very entertaining
MisterWhiplash31 December 2005
In following the lines of the classic formula to a point of taking another leap off from the material, The Thing remake becomes one of the coolest remakes of its time. John Carpenter fashions out of what must've been a fairly vague screenplay about certain things (or maybe very descriptive who knows), bringing forth incredibly wretched, brilliant puppetry and animatronics by Rob Bartin (with Stan Winston also on the team). These effects help set the tone against the harsh, detached environment Carpenter sets up with his characters. The film takes the story of a group stationed in a research bunker in the middle of an arctic climate, pitted against a malevolent force that takes the shapes of others. It's given a full life by Carpenter's choice of tones, and surprises. For someone following in the footsteps of Howard Hawks, the filmmaker here has a lot more trust and talent in executing the material than most given the chance to have another go with an old film.

With the effects people working to full force- amid what would likely follow Backdraft as containing the most fire per scene (it could become overkill, but it all fits into the suspense after a while)- the actors pull along as a fine ensemble. Unlike the squad in Predator, these are mostly just regular working guys, with the leader coming in the from of Kurt Russell's MacCreedy (very good role for his style, excellent in fact). Juicy supporting roles are out for grabs for the likes of Wilford Brimley and Keith David. And it is refreshing to see how the sort of absurdity of what's going on in the film (an alien that starts off with dogs and then moves onto the others in gory, demented transforming form) is pit against such a tone of timing with everyone. I loved the long silences at times, with Ennio Morricone's spooky, curious music in the background (and that bass line is of merit in itself).

It ranks up with being, if nothing else, delivering what it strives for for its genre/cult audience. It remains one of Carpenter's best; a rare breed of horror film where the story is told clear and precisely by way of the position of the camera, dialog, and timing with the scenes. That's not to say the film isn't chock full of violence, it is, and in fact a couple of times it's almost funny. But given that it goes back to what is ridiculously seeming like a by-gone era, the creatures/make-up, alongside the steady, well-calculated script, was done completely without CGI. It's disgusting, but it's real, and atmospheric to a T.
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"Man is still the warmest place to hide."
Kieran Green1 May 2010
The film opens ominously with a flying saucer hurtling towards the earth's atmosphere then we are met with terrific titles which literally 'burn on to the screen 'John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

The movie Begins In Antarctica Winter 1982 The first(god damn week of winter) with Two Norwegians in a helicopter who are in hot pursuit of a a Husky, which flees the helicopter and makes it through the snow to a United States science station Outpost 31, The twelve all male occupants emerge to see what's happening. as the helicopter lands the two men end up dead one accidentally with the help of a misplaced grenade and the other is shot dead.

The Americans don't know it yet, but their camp has just been infiltrated by a shape-shifting alien, And as the tag-line so succinctly puts it "Man is the warmest place to hide." this just has to be John Carpenter's finest picture it has now received the recognition it finally deserves, i always watch this classic on a regular basis it's a film upon every viewing you can get different readings to an extent it is quotable there is a prequel in the works but only time will tell if it is going to be on par with this masterpiece be sure you watch this classic in widescreen.
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This "Thing" DELIVERS!
Boggman23 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
OMG! "The Thing" is John Carpenters masterpiece! I watched this movie fore the first time last night; alone, in my darkened basement and it scared the living hella outta me! This movie ROCKS! Somehow, "The Thing" always eluded me. I never knew much about it and never really had an interest in it until I started doing a little research on the internet of horror/sci-fi movies I had not seen.

First off, "The Thing" holds up marvelously 23 years after its release! In fact, this movie could probably be re-released today and make a ton of money. It's just THAT good. With so many of our classic horror movies being re-made these days; I doubt that this film will ever be re-made anytime soon because it just still plays so very well.

Well written, acted, & shot, "The Thing" is one heck of a gore fest. The graphic violence in the "The Thing" is just amazingly shocking, realistic, and awesome! Quick plot summary: A US research team working in the Antarctic comes across a Norwegian base that has been deserted. They find a dead and deformed body and take it back for research. The end up learning that something has attacked the Norwegians and is somehow shape-shifting with detailed precision into a predatory killer. By researching the evidence left behind by the Norwegians, they find a space ship that looks like it crashed in the snow some time ago.

They soon realize they are being stalked, and it could be anyone of the team. They began to lose all trust and confidence in each other and quickly began to turn against their colleagues.

Will they find WHO amongst them is a "Thing"? Can anyone kill this creature before it wipes them all out and infects our entire civilization? Kurt Russel rounds out a very nice cast of actors in this fantastic thrill ride. I was very impressed and satisfied with John Carpenter's "The Thing".

I cant recommend this movie enough! Enjoy!!
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Good one for Halloween.
cfjackson12329 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's nearly Halloween and if your thinking of a movie compilation this should be the top of your list.

It centers around a group working at a research outpost in the Antarctic, one day there's an attack on the outpost from another research team upon venturing to the other base that housed the team they discover the outpost was destroyed by an organism that can mimic any living creature.

When they return to the outpost they shorty discover the organism has infected the base and they can't tell who isn't what they say they are. This is where this films real horror lies the people who you think you can trust i.e. your friends are the people who try and rip your throat out so the enemy becomes your sense of trust.

The special effects are amazing I recently was able to see a digital presentation of The Thing at the cinema and it looked awesome, usually when you watch this film because its shot against white you get glare on your screen very easily, in the cinema the lighting is set perfectly to prevent glare it really does look a lot better I recommend seeing it on the big screen for anyone.
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