80s special effects are creepy as hell
Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, T.K. Carter
Director: John Carpenter
Synopsis: A research team on a remote base in Antarctica has their relatively quiet life thrown into chaos after a shape shifting alien makes its way onto their base. With this creature able to transform into a perfect copy of any animal or human, the team are left with the knowledge that they are being hunted one by one with no way of knowing who is actually real and can be trusted.
Opinion: I’m not really sure how I have managed to go through 30 something years of life never having seen this film, especially since I claim to love horror so much. It was always on a “must see” list but just never happened….until that magical thing called Netflix suddenly listed it and had it right up front of the recommended for you titles. This instantly meant I was grabbing snacks and settling back in for a watch.
So, considering the fact this film is from 1982 (oooo it’s older than me!) and the special effects are pretty dated, it still holds up relatively well. The story is strong and terrifying no matter what year it’s set in. I mean being stranded in a remote base on Antarctica and being slowly attacked by a creature that can perfectly imitate anything it comes into blood contact with or absorbs as a whole (human or animal) is a horrifying concept. Then there is the Thing itself which is honestly the ugliest and creepiest creature ever but watching in 2019 with those dated special effects, rather than detract from the horror, kind of make it even creepier and uglier.
I actually tend to find these older horror films more shocking, unpredictable or ‘scarier’ than the modern horror films I’ve seen. I don’t know exactly why this is, maybe it’s the older feel of the film itself that gives it a rawer sense of realism or that so many horrors these days kind of follow the same pattern, so it gets to be too predictable at times. The Thing had a few moments that got a loud “What the?!?!?!” from me especially the one moment that the creature surprised the room by biting another person’s arm off…..yes I had been expecting something to happen but NOT THAT!!! (no specific spoilers, watch the movie to know what I’m talking about, you won’t regret it)
But the most important factor about this movie is the master himself Mr. John Carpenter! Damn if this man doesn’t know how to pull together a great horror film and The Thing is no exception with a great story, creepy atmosphere, horrible creature and an ending that just leaves you with a horrible sense of unease. I can’t believe I waited so long to finally watch it but I’m so very glad I did and even though it has aged it has held up kind of like that cool grandparent who has amazing stores from back in the day but also knows how to tweet, text and Instagram with the best of us.
Fun Extra: I figured your day couldn’t possibly be complete without a bit of appreciation for the true star of this film, those long, luscious Kurt Russell locks.