B-Movie Corner: The Thing

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First Posted: 1/19/2015

Winter brings about many wonderful images — snow days, holidays with loved ones, snuggling by a warm fire. Winter also brings about many darker images such as freezing temperatures leading to hypothermia, snow covered impassable roads, and intense isolation.

John Carpenter’s “The Thing” plays upon the latter with isolation being the overwhelming terror in this 1982 horror- science fiction production.

Upon its release the film received mixed reviews and struggled at the box office to find its core audience. Since that time “The Thing” has become a true cult classic due to the intense graphic images, impeccable makeup effects, and strong acting of the cast including Kurt Russell.

The film opens in dramatic fashion in the Antarctic; a Norwegian helicopter pursues a wild dog to an American research station. Upon landing the helicopter, a Norwegian accidentally drops a thermite charge, destroying the helicopter.

The surviving Norwegian pursues the dog, firing a rifle, until he is killed by Garry, the station commander. The Americans soon send a helicopter pilot, MacReady, and Dr. Copper to the Norwegian camp for answers, but they find only a charred ruin. Outside, they discover the burned remains of a humanoid corpse with two faces. Their biologist, Blair, performs an autopsy on the corpse, finding a normal set of human internal organs.

The dog is kenneled with the station’s sled dogs until it begins to act abnormal and changes shape attacking the other sled dogs. The fire alarm is then pulled by MacReady while another incinerates the creature with a flame thrower in graphic fashion.

An autopsy is performed on the creature and the doctor comes to one conclusion: this is a creature that somehow perfectly imitates other life forms.

“The Thing” is a film filled with many over the top gore effects, some that may be too much for some viewers. In fact famed movie reviewer Roger Ebert called it “a great barf-bag movie” after his initial viewing of the movie.

The effects were not carried out with computers and instead done practically. This allows the effects to stand up even today with many realistic graphic scenes.

“The Thing” is an absolute cult classic film with great direction from John Carpenter and a plot that leaves the viewer feeling isolated and uneasy. This is a film that is absolutely perfect to enjoy on a cold winter evening!

Final Verdict: Many films that looked cutting edge for their initial release date become comical as time passes and new techniques are used. “The Thing” is not one of those films and instead has aged like a fine wine. The effects not only hold up but still seem ahead of their time in many ways. “The Thing” is a film that can be watched by generations of horror film lovers and is a must see movie!