Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Skip the prequel, go straight to this one

"The Thing" (1982)
Star: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, and David Moffet
Director: John Carpenter
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

A group of scientists cut off from the rest of the world in Antarctica must deal with an ancient creature that is capable of taking on any form it desires... and that is bent of killing them.

As I sat down ot watch this movie, it dawned on my that I've never actually John Carpenter's version of "The Thing" before. Well, I should have filled that hole in my trashy movie knowledge long ago!

"The Thing" is a text book example of a nearly perfect horror movie. If I was teaching a class in horror films, it would be required viewing and papers would have to be written on it. And it should be required viewing for ANYONE intending to write or direct a horror movie or a monster movie.

In fact, it may be a little too perfect. Because it is so exactly constructed according to the pacing and template that has evolved from "White Zombie" through "Creature from the Black Lagoon" to "Baron Blood" and Carpenter's own "Halloween", few things here surprised me. I was creeped out and shocked at a couple of times, but it pretty much delivered what I expected it to, when I expected it, and pretty much in the manner I expected it.

The one exception is what follows after one of the team members has a heart attack. While I knew something was going to happen, I did not expect what DID happen, nor where it went from there.

If you want to see an extremely well-made horror movie, check out "The Thing". It might not have brought anything new to the genre, but it's still far, far better than 90% of the films being made today.

1 comment:

  1. It's an essential classic, pure and simple. And I would say it did bring one thing to the genre - the best practical effects body horror gooey transformation scenes in the history of movies. Rob Bottin is a GENIUS (and it must be in all caps) and deserved TWO Oscars for his work on this movie - hell, it nearly killed him!