(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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A Few THINGs To Remember…

Hmmm. Apparently, Donnie Boo-Boo (aka The Original Orange Julius Caesar, among other not so nice things) didn’t get the memo, but yeah, he’s quite the royal dope when it comes to being “presidential.” Or “professional”, for that matter. Anyway, here’s one thing that can happen when you interact with some Norwegians under the perfectly wrong conditions:


(Thanks, Wennie Wowney!)


All joking aside, I’d take him seriously except even as the self-proclaimed “least racist person” (PROTIP: when one has to point out one is not a racist after saying, doing and promoting racist stuff on a regular basis for decades, it’s a clear sign that one is indeed, a racist), he’s even dumber than you think. I’m betting a nickel he’d choke on his chicken dinner if he found out the fact that Norway’s tax returns for everyone are made public knowledge and are searchable. So there’s that. Perhaps someone from Norway can let him know this as I know he’s sure as hell not going to listen so some brown guy from NY who didn’t vote for him.

Finally, I’m all for anyone at all wanting to come here to America to seek their dreams, but at this point, a transgender Norwegian former Christian turned atheist (who’s not infected by an alien parasite) just popped up to the top of my “Now THAT would be interesting!” list of potential citizens I’d love to meet.


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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Dissecting THE THING: Missing Minutiae, Merrily Making Modern Mistakes…

While last year’s prequel to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film was well-made and an effectively creepy good time, as a big fan of the original 1951 flick and of course, JC’s fine retelling… I was a tiny bit disappointed. For me, part of great suspense is all in the build up and despite some nice scares, the prequel loses a bit of suspense because it doesn’t build much empathy for its doomed cast (and loses some chances to once the monsters start appearing). Still, I found most the film fine until the entire alien saucer sequence complete with that all-too common “formerly flexible monster who can’t quite reach the heroine!” and “run like hell to escape the big explosion” set pieces we’ve all seen in too many other films. I’ll get to the “leave ’em hanging!” part of the pre-credit ending later, as there’s a great (and I think intentional) workaround there that could actually set up an actual sequel (should someone be crazy enough to make one)…

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