In this 1982 sci-fi horror film directed by the famous John Carpenter (who has done other such works as Halloween, In the Mouth of Madness, and They Live), an American scientific base stationed in the Antarctic comes under threat from a shapeshifting alien threat from another world that was accidentally awoken from deep beneath the ice by a Norwegian survey team. The creature is malevolent, and not only that, it can take on the appearance of whatever creature it consumes, meaning everyone at the base is now a suspect of secretly being the creature. As tensions rise and paranoia sets, McReady (Kurt Russell) and the others have to fight for survival in the cold darkness, all the while not trusting one another out of fear of one being... the Thing.
This movie is one of my all time favorite films and with good reason. It is a horror movie, but it doesn't rely on gore overtly, and when it does use it, it is purely to show horrific this extraterrestrial beast truly is at it morphs and twists the flesh of whatever thing it has taken the shape of. Truthfully, the scariest parts are when we don't know who is the thing, when we simply have a group of people, filled with paranoia and fear, as neither we nor the characters no which of them are truly who they say they are or if they are actually carnivorous shapeshifting monsters from outer space. The film is wonderfully directed and acted, with all of the men (seriously... there is not one woman in sight, though I suppose that makes sense story-wise) acting and reacting realistically, like you would imagine any person would in a fear-filled enclosed space in the middle of nowhere. The best part of the Thing, however, aside from the tension Carpenter creates from Bill Lancaster's wonderful script, is the Thing itself. The creature effects are amazing for their time, slimy, gooey, and incredibly spooky looking and feeling that makes them seem more terrifying than if they were a CGI monstrosity (*cough*theprequelreallykindofsucksbytheway*cough*). Mouths opening where chests should be, spider legs sprouting out of abnormal places, tentacles coming out of every available, and some forcibly made, orifices, strange disjointed limbs, eyes where they should most definitely not be, etc. You really get a creepy alien feeling from these creations, and I most definitely applaud Rob Bottin and his team for these wonderful creatures. If anything is to be criticized in the film, I'd have to choose some of the cinematography. There are some really tense scenes that are somewhat ruined thanks to fade to blacks that feel out of place, jumping from point to point instead of just letting it flow. I can easily forgive that, however, especially when we get monstrosities like a human head that spouts spider-legs walking around in the film.
All in all, a good creepy movie that builds tension and fear, both of which are amplified by excellent creature effects. I highly recommend this.
My Rating: 4.5/5