(Not So) Random Film(s) of The Week: The Thing (1982)

The Thing JB_RJ

With his trusty bottle of J&B to keep warm, R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Vance Norris (Charles Hallahan) try quite unsuccessfully to make snow angels.

THE THING sfSo, what did YOU do during last week’s too damn hot weather? Me, I dragged my slightly sickly self out in that nasty, unbearable heat to go sit in a nice, well-chilled home with seven other people with the express purpose of making some of them scream. No, I didn’t do my *legendary* crowd-pleasing Chippendale’s act, people (wait, I have a Chippendale’s act?). I simply put a very old plan into action I’d successfully executed a few times in the distant past in introducing a fine horror film to some friends who had either never seen it previously, have only seen a heavily edited for TV version or yes, just disliked scary movies.

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that I’ve actually previously reviewed an older DVD version of the 1982 John Carpenter film and I’ve also deconstructed the 2011 prequel which I found okay, but lacking in some respects (I think the studio meddled a bit too much with the film, turning it into less than what director Matthijs van Heijningen intended to be a more solid horror experience). Now, I didn’t just show up unannounced, tie seven people to assorted furniture and force them to watch the movie, so there. Nope, as a matter of fact, I was actually asked to host a little screening party by a friend who borrows movies from me on a semi-regular basis.

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Random Film of the Week: The Thing

 

THE THING_MP_1982So, it’s John Carpenter’s birthday and once more, I find myself writing about The Thing. The last time it was a dissection of that disappointing 2011 prequel and this time, it’s a little look back at what I think is one of the scariest mainstream sci-fi/horror films of the 80’s that still works today thanks to how well it was put together. The overall tone of relentless, deliberate dread the film sets up from the very beginning is claustrophobic and overpowering as you’re sucked into the story about the doomed men of Outpost #31.

I saw this back in 1982 and the film really pushed the envelope of what could be done with practical effects so much that even today most of Rob Bottin’s (and that brief slice of Stan Winston’s) groundbreaking work holds up as believable. Of course, the story and excellent cast also make this one such a killer film to curl up with that I’d even recommend it to those who hate horror movies just because everything clicks so well…
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