The Thing (1982)

The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter and written by Bill Lancaster, based on the 1938 John W. Campbell Jr. novella Who Goes There? It tells the story of a group of American researchers in Antarctica who encounter the eponymous “Thing”, a parasitic extraterrestrial life form that assimilates and then imitates other organisms. The group is overcome by paranoia and conflict as they learn that they can no longer trust each other and that any one of them can be the Thing. The film stars Kurt Russell as the team’s helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady, and features A. Wilford Brimley, T. K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis, and Thomas Waites in supporting roles.

Whenever there is a dog in a horror movie, I keep pleading to the screen “Kill all the people but save the poor pooch. Take the cat too but save Fido”. Not so much in this film! The feeling of claustrophobia, distrust, feeling that you can only trust yourself and no one else and the paranoia of not knowing which among you is the alien creature is heady. The setting, in a frozen tundra of Antarctica leads to the feeling of isolation and loneliness and the dread of knowing that you cannot find others to help you. The resolve of the humans to not let the creature reach civilization is also heroic.

To be honest, this cult movie isn’t without it’s dull moments and I am certainly not a fan of the acting. But I do admit that the practical effects is so much more preferred than anything CGI has been able to pull out till date. Even though we are so used to so much more in terms of special effects in the 36 years that have passed since the movie was released, the disgusting creature and the tentacles and slimey stuff do make an impression – even if they didn’t do faces as well as they do nowadays. Still it is a very good scifi horror and I understand why it’s retained a cult following. I might not be among those who find it to be among the very best in scifi horror but I do respect it.

I give it a 7.5 outta 10!

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