Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Thing (1982)

Let me start by saying that the next Kurt Russell movie scheduled to pass before my eyes was due to be The Fox & The Hound but it's been delayed until next week so we go from Disney to classic Carpenter with The Thing.

The story is all about a bunch of men stuck out in the middle of nowhere, an Antarctic base, who find themselves in a situation full of danger and paranoia when they unwittingly let a shape-shifting alien into their midst.

Here is the review that I already posted on IMDb. I'm not sure that I can say much more about the movie so this format works. I entitle it . . . . . . . 10 Things About The Thing.

1) Despite director John Carpenter also giving us the greatness of Halloween, TheFog, Escape From New York, Assault On Precinct 13 and more, this movie is an absolute classic of the horror genre.

2) It's a remake, based on the Christian Nyby/Howard Hawks movie TheThing From Another World and the story THAT was based on, "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell Jr. The original movie was briefly shown on TV as part of the Halloween line-up the kids watch in . . . Halloween.

3) Thanks to the amazing work of Rob Bottin it features some of the best special effects work ever, all stuff that holds up to this day. Nasty, visceral, alien and eye-poppingly impressive.

4) The Carpenter-esque, minimal synth score was by Ennio Morricone, a fact I often forget while enjoying the movie.

5) It has an all-male cast and all of them are never less than great, with Kurt Russell, Keith David and Wilford Brimley standing out amongst an ensemble cast of sheer class.

6) Beyond the blood and guts on screen, there are some interesting ideas here about identity, a sense of self and a "trust no one" attitude that would, of course, become the watchwords of X-Files fans at the turn of the twenty-first century.

7) There has been a video game developed from the movie's premise (approximately 20 years after the movie was released) and it's surprisingly good.

8) Contains one of my favourite ever lines: "I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I'd rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS F*-&KING COUCH!"

9) In a year dominated by Spielberg's little, friendly E.T.  it was not great news at the box office for The Thing but home video and subsequent word of mouth saw it become a much-loved film by horror fans and deservedly so, in my opinion.

10) I first saw The Thing at the tender age of twelve years old. On a small, black and white TV. With a lot of static. While eating a curry. Despite the lack of a crystal clear screen I still could not eat my curry. Needless to say, that's now a cherished memory within my twisted Thing-loving psyche.

For fans of the film, the Blu-ray release is essential. Great picture and sound gives the movie a new lease of life and this is complemented by the many extras that were also on the special edition DVD release: that great commentary track featuring both Carpenter and Russell (one of the best chat-tracks that you will ever hear), a lengthy documentary about the making of the movie, outtakes, production notes, conceptual art and much, much more. 

Movie: 10/10

Disc: 10/10

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