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Chris Kavan's Movie Reviews (3242)

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Thing, The (1982) 
The Thing: It's weird and pissed off
3.5/4 stars

As a horror and sci fi fan, I am ashamed it took me so long to watch John Carpenter's The Thing. Arising from the ashes of a mediocre theater run, it has since become one of the hits on home video and spawned a cult following. This is right up my alley, but I waited so long - maybe I was afraid I would be disappointed.

I shouldn't have been worried. This has everything I like: paranoia, claustrophobia, awesome monster effects, a good story, great characters and an amazing setting. It's like the planets aligned for a time to create the best possible set up for a horror classic. Everyone always raves about the alien chest-bursting scene, but I have to say there are some pretty great moments here that rival that bit of surprise. When you're dealing with a shape-shifting alien that can perfectly mimic whatever it wants, there's bound to be some good freak outs.

The all-male cast may seem odd, but it is a bunch of scientists in the Antarctic (circa 1982), and I think it was a good decision. It ups the tension and paranoia when you don't have to worry about sex. The cast is chosen well. Kurt Russell is the rugged, take-no-crap lead who goes from being a pilot to saving the human race. The rest of the cast is also good, although one of the few drawbacks is that with so many people, there isn't a lot of room for much extrapolation.

The creature effects are still effective after all this time. It's not always 100% realistic, but in the age before the magic of computers, it turns out pretty amazing. There's a lot of fire and a lot of weird transformation going on. It could have turned out hokey, but in the right hands it makes the grade.

There have been plenty of films that follow along the same path as The Thing. A mix of Alien, Body Snatchers, etc. - even if it is based on its own short story. The influence is there, but there is enough originality to make this stand on its own. So, take my advice, if you're a fan or sci-fi, horror or even have a passing fancy at the genres in general: see this now. You'll thank me later.


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