“It could have imitated a million life-forms on a million planets. It could change into any one of them at any time. Now, it wants life-forms on Earth.”
The Thing (1982) is arguably one of the better things (no pun intended) to ever be put on film, but is undoubtedly one of the finest to grace the horror genre. Directed by John Carpenter (Halloween ’78, The Fog ’80, Escape from New York ’81), it stars Kurt Russell as MacReady (Mac), Wilford Brimley as Dr.Blair, Peter Maloney as Bennings, Keith David as Childs and Donald Moffat as Garry alongside other roles played by Richard Dyshart, T.K. Carter, Joel Polis, Richard Masur and Charles Hallahan.
The film, which was based on a 1938 science fiction novel titled ‘Who Goes There?’ and which had also been previously envisioned in the 1951 film ‘The Thing From Another World’, centres around a team of Antarctic researchers who find themselves hunted by a parasitic, extraterrestrial life-form that is able to imitate the appearance of any unfortunate organism it happens to get its hands, tentacles or tendrils on.
From the start, when you see a Norwegian helicopter chasing a dog whilst the co-pilot shoots at it, you, along with those at the research station, are left confused and wondering what is going on. The pilot’s sudden demise due to the helicopter exploding and the gun-wielding co-pilot being shot by Garry (Donald Moffatt) the station’s commander, allows for no explanation as to their actions. In search of answers they send MacReady/Mac (Kurt Russell) and Dr.Copper (Richard Dyshart) to the Norwegians base camp. Upon arrival they find the burnt remains of a two-faced humanoid which they recover and bring back to camp for Dr.Blair (Wilford Brimley) to conduct an autopsy on. Meanwhile at the American research station the camp dog handler Clark (Richard Masur) who had protected the hunted Malamute, pens the rescued dog with the rest of the camp’s dogs. Later that evening the rescued dog transforms and attacks the other dogs. this commotion leads Mac to pull the stations fire alarm and the camp’s complement rush to the dog pen and are instantly shocked by the metamorphosing mess they come across. “I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.” After much gunfire and being incinerated by Childs they are seemingly able to kill the amorphous creature. Following the autopsy of both organisms, carried out by Dr.Blair (Brimley), he and they soon learn that this organism is capable of imitating them at the cellular level and that is when things start to break down. No one in the camp now knows who is human and who is not, who they can trust and who they can’t and the levels of paranoia and fear grow exponentially. Who, what or how many of them will survive? Well that’s on you to find out.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable film, personally it’s in my top 5 favourite horror films of all time, and is highly regarded on many film and horror sites. This is a must see for any true horror fan, I’d even recommend it to non-horror fans purely for the fact that it is one of the films that everybody should see at least once in their lifetime (like Star Wars, The Godfather etc). The film’s premise of whom can you trust when even a life-long friend could be an imitation combined with the isolation of being stranded in the Antarctic, the realization that this could spell the end for mankind and the desperation that ensues is truly captivating and is well caught on camera. The visual effects (were nominated for best special effects, but lost out to Poltergeist) were ground-breaking back then and even now 30-odd years on they are still exceptional. The soundtrack scored by Ennio Morricone (For a Fistful of Dollars, The Untouchables, Django Unchained) is superb and does an excellent job of adding to the tension and isolation already felt within the film. The acting and dialogue is well performed and well written and the film itself is rife with many memorable quotes. Despite poor initial reviews at the time, The Thing has been re-evaluated over the years and has gathered quite a cult status. The film’s ambiguous ending has left many a fan contemplating and discussions about the film get quite detailed on horror floors and forums.
I thought before writing this I might be a bit biased towards it, and maybe I am, but watch it for yourself, I’d highly recommend it. I don’t think you’ll regret it and whatever your thoughts you’ll never forget it! – The Eyez 187