Who Goes There?)
Release Date: June 25th, 1982.
Written by: Bill Lancaster and John W. Campbell Jr.
Directed by: John Carpenter.
Starring: Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilfred Brimley, Richard Dysart, Richard Masur, T.K. Carter, Peter Maloney, and Donald Moffat.
This review is based on the Universal Blu-ray of The Thing that we own, which is a solid disc in its own right. However, with Scream Factory's announcement that they're giving the John Carpenter classic the Collector's Edition Blu-ray treatment this September, it's probably best if you pre-order that one, and skip the Universal disc.
We just really wanted to review the movie, as I can't believe that we haven't done before now.
|AMERICANS WILL KILL FOR THEIR DOGS.|
|YOU SHOULD REALLY JUST COVER THAT THING BACK UP AGAIN...|
|SCIENCE CAN BE A TERRIFYING THING SOMETIMES.|
Mistrust and excellence ensues.
|THEY REALLY SHOULD HAVE JUST SHOT THE DAMN DOG AND CALLED IT A DAY.|
This is a claustrophobic movie with a very grim tone, and Carpenter used the isolated Antarctic setting to amplify those aspects to a level of intensity that few other Horror movies have been able to match since. From the opening shot, The Thing lets you know that what's happening is urgent and potentially dire for all involved, and it doesn't miss a beat until the end credits roll.
Carpenter has always been a director who sticks with what works, especially early on in his career; The Thing marks the 3rd time that Kurt Russell was his lead actor (he acted for the man 5 times), and the 4th time that cinematographer Dean Cundey ran the camera for the director. He had a formula back then (which included talent on both sides of the camera, score, tone), and it worked perfectly. The guy seemed to be able to catch lightning in a bottle over and over again, and The Thing stands with Halloween as the best examples of that.
The cast in this one is perfect. Kurt Russell was the man back then, as he still is today, and although Snake Plissken may be his most iconic character, he kills it here as MacReady. He really takes the movie to another level with his presence alone, and the fact that he's surrounded by guys like Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Richard Masur, and Peter Maloney doesn't hurt things either. It's one hell of an ensemble cast.
We also have to tip the hat to the Special FX work of Rob Bottin. The work he did on this film, which was all practical (CGI was a rare beast back then), is a thing of twisted, gory brilliance which still impresses today. The score by Ennio Morricone is perfect as well.
|BEST MOVIE BEARD OF ALL-TIME?|
|IT WAS ONE HELL OF AN ENDING THOUGH.|
Maybe it just took years and years of mediocre to bad Horror movies for people to say "You know, John Carpenter got it right with The Thing." At least they finally came around, I guess.
|WE FEEL YOU, KURT.|
|"YOU'VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING."|
|PLENTY OF BLOOD ON DISPLAY THOUGH.|
- Just like Blade Runner, which was released on the same day in 1982, The Thing was a failure at the Box Office. Neither film was loved by critics either. Both movies have since gone on to become classics of their Genres.
- The Thing is cited by many as a remake of the 1951 movie, but it's actually a more faithful adaptation of the novella on which both movies are based.
- An alternate ending was filmed in which MacRready is rescued, and is revealed (via blood test) not to be The Thing. We're glad they didn't use that one though.
- Nick Nolte turned down the role of MacRready. Thank God.
This movie is a mandatory addition to any Horror Collection, and one that we'll re-visit over and over again for the rest of our lives.
The Thing is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD, and the 2-Disc Collector's Edition from Scream Factory will be released in September. You can Pre-Order it below.
The Thing, let's take a minute to admire Kurt Russell's fantastic beard game, which was truly on point in this one.