Being trapped in the Antarctic is daunting enough, so imagine being trapped there alongside a shapeshifting horror from beyond…
The Thing’s appeal is easy to illustrate. When it was released in 1982, the movie entered into the low side of the top ten, hung on for a few weeks and ended its run making slightly more than its $15 million budget – a financial disappointment. Yet there has been a game in 2002 and a high-profile-highly-forgettable prequel/reboot in 2011 starring
Kate Beckinsale Mary Elizabeth Winstead (thanks Decembermaloy). You are likely reading this because you have seen The Thing before and you liked it.
And why not? Monsters from outer space, walking heads, Kurt Russell with a bottle of whiskey and party hat – stuff like this is rarely dished out with such abundance.
Outpost 31, an American base in Antarctica, is about to bunker down for the winter when a helicopter from a nearby Norwegian base comes tearing in, throwing all the firepower it had haplessly at a fugitive dog. This turns nasty and the Americans kill the remaining Norwegian in self defence. Instead of viewing the dog with suspicion, they chalk it up to cabin fever – only to realise their mistake when it was already too late. The dog is actually an alien shapeshifter, one that multiplies by absorbing and copying living things. Eventually nobody can be sure who is alien and who isn’t, so they probably wish they could see it for what it is. Yet as the saying goes, careful what you wish for: whenever an alien appears it’s as if Cthulhu lifted H.R. Giger designs, with a bit more abomination thrown in. Like Freddy Krueger playing with cloning in Chernobyl.
This was to become The Thing’s calling card – its nightmarish creature are permanent fixtures to the monster hall of fame and its notorious scenes have stood the test of time, thanks to some top notch special effects. But director John Carpenter also crafted a tense creature-in-space horror. Only, instead of being above the planet, it takes place in an isolated Antarctic base, where nobody is likely to hear you scream either.
Best Scene: It has these wall to wall, but the winner will probably always be the head that sprouts legs…
Best Quote: “This ice it was buried in… It’s over a hundred thousand years old.” “And then the Norwegians dig it up…”
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Last Updated: February 17, 2014