The Thing (1982) Review
I thought the last review before Halloween would be an old favourite and they don’t come much better than ‘The Thing’. This is another film that my dad introduced to me and its one of those films that I love, it contains a group of people trapped in a place away from society and something is going to get them. I did also like the remake, not quite as good as this film but still should be seen. The story is actually not original as it is kind of a remake of Howard Hawks’ 1951 film of the same name but also a re-adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr. story “Who goes there?”. I love this film because I think it has everything a Sci-Fi/Horror film needs, a group of people separated from society (Antarctica in a blizzard), something hunting and killing people that is hidden but kills with ease (shape shifting alien), a way for people to get lost in the dark (zero visibility blizzard and dark corridors within the complex) and lastly a diverse group of characters who end up being paranoid and turning on one another (somebody has to be the alien in disguise). This film has them all and is executed perfectly.
In the midst of the Antartican snowfield, the scientists and workers of a small American research base are shocked when a helicopter begins to circle their camp, chasing and shooting at a dog. When the helicopter is destroyed and the passengers are killed, the dog is let into the base and the American’s begin to wonder what has actually happened. The helicopter has Norwegian markings, must be from the Norwegian base not too far from their own. A team of Americans are sent to the Norwegian base and find out what has happened. On arrival, they find that the place has been totally destroyed. They also discover a mangled body that looks as though it was once that of a person, which they bring back with them for further study. It is only then that the clues begin to add up; the dog morphs horribly into a strange creature that attacks the researchers. They manage to fight it off, but they come to a terrible conclusion: an alien with the power to transform and take the appearance of anybody else is amongst them. Who is infected already, and who can be trusted? Helicopter pilot J.R MacReady sets out to find the answers to exactly that.
Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.
Story: 100% Acting: 95% Visuals: 95% Dialogue: 100%
The Scares: 95% Style/Sound: 90% Characters: 100%
To start off let’s talk about the acting. The acting in this film was great and it is really needed in films that involve groups of people who have been living together for a very long time in one place for extended periods of time, for example a good group of actors would be needed to make you think a crew of a submarine had been at sea for a while. Only in this film they are a group of unorganized group of researchers and staff so there is no authority to speak of except maybe the Lt. Garry, the station commander. Each of the roles is played very well by the cast and I don’t see any flaws, there isn’t any stand out performances but films like this really don’t need that kind of character and I think it works better without that element. My favourite of the cast would be Kurt Russell because he played the main role not only perfectly but also without over doing it which considering his level of stardom he could have done and ruined the film, but he didn’t and I am very grateful to him for that. The best part of the acting I thought was how well everyone played their paranoia off everyone else and it doesn’t always work in Sci-Fi films but it did work in this, I remember an X-Files episode which I think was based off this story line in a way because it has a scene which has the same paranoia of who is really a person? and who the alien creature? I really like the rest of the cast and how they tend to bleed out slowly in terms of deaths, so there was a group mentality right until the end of the film.
So let’s talk about something more fun like the visuals. The Visual Effects in this film were really good and because it came out in the 80’s it was mainly puppetry and physical affects which if you have seen the film is shocking clever and really scary. My favourite scene using these visuals would be when the doctor is defibrillating that guy and the hands get bitten off by the opening chest cavity, you know the scene and if you don’t I’ll add the video at the end. The next parts are just fantastic considering they were all done by props and puppetry, haha the head walking away is just fantastic. On the non-alien side of the visuals the landscape shots were really good and I believe they were only shot at the end of the production in British Columbia but the rest of the film was shot at six separate artificially frozen stages in Los Angeles, chilly work I am sure. The sound on this film was really quite good especially from the creature which always seemed to be screaming in agony as either a scare tactic or just the fact that when it transforms the thing is in agony, anyway the sound is creepy and unnerving. The film never gets boring or stalls for no reason, this I think helps to convince you what is happening are more realistic because it does have times of reflection and constant fear of the unknown.
Must Watch Trailer:
The best reviews I have found would be these “The Thing is a peerless masterpiece of relentless suspense, retina-wrecking visual excess and outright, nihilistic terror.” Adam Smith. That’s a raving review; this reviewer appears to have fallen as deeply as I have into the films plot. Also “The special effects can’t hope to be as creepy to our seen-it-all eyes as they were to the film’s first viewers, but we can still enjoy the monster’s unique weirdness, and the story is a rock-solid yarn.” Edward Porter. Clearly a newer review but I am glad they are saying good things and I wish I was one of those first viewers in the cinema because it would have been one the weirdest viewings ever, alas that was before my time. My favourite scene would have to be the part where everyone is tied up and getting tested as to see who the thing is mimicking because it’s got paranoia, group mentality and the fear of the unknown. Screw it I am having that video as well. Imagine how helpless you would feel tired to those chairs.