I had never seen this Cult Classic prior to this week. I’ve known about The Thing my whole life, and just about everyone I know has seen it. It was just a film that I never had the time to get around to watching, until I remember I run a blog where I can review and talk about the films I darn well please. I had very high expectations for this film as I’m a fan of John Carpenters work, especially those that star Kurt Russel. Not all surprisingly The Thing met those lofty expectations with ease.
At a secluded Antarctic Research Station, a Norwegian helicopter pursues a dog. The Norwegian’s are trying to kill the dog by shooting it, but after missing a number of shots start using thermite charges. The dog flees to the workers of the Research Station, one of the Norwegian’s purses the dog on foot, while the other accidentally blows up the helicopter along with himself. The last Norwegian dies after being shot in head by Garry (Donald Moffat), the Commander. Pilot MacReady (Kurt Russel) and Dr.Copper (Richard Dysart) fly to the Norwegian Research Station to find the place in ruins and monstrous burned remains. They bring the remains back to the station, where Dr. Blair (Wilford Brimely) finds that the creature has competently normal internal organs. Clark (Richard Masur) kennels the dog with the stations where it transforms and attacks the dogs. MacReady and the others come to see what the commotion is and find the monster. After being unable to kill it with guns they use a flamethrower, which proves far more effective. After another autopsy Blair concludes that they are dealing with a creature that can perfectly imitate other life forms. Records collected at the Norwegian base leads MacReady and Norris (Charles Hallahan) to a crashed alien ship buried in the ice. Due to how deep in the ice the ship is buried Norris surmises that the ship crashed over a 100,000 years ago. After they get back Blair, who is now deeply suspicious destroys the helicopter and the radios before being subdued. While reading over Blair’s journal, they learn the remains are still alive on a cellular level. So they decided on safety measures to lessen the risk of being assimilated. Which don’t work, as Windows (Thomas G. Waites) finds Bennings being assimilated and MacReady destroys it with the flamethrower. Not knowing who’s been assimilated suspicions and tensions rise…
Like I said The Thing more than met the lofty exceptions laid out before it. The special effects are absolutely amazing and I feel they have aged incredibly well. While they do look a tad fake, considering the time and the sheer amount of special effects The Thing looks amazing.
I loved every actor in this films performance. Each character, of which there are a few, feel unique and nuanced. So when they meet their tragic ends, I feel badly for them. Which of course is the goal of any piece of art, to make you feel something. Kurt Russel does fantastic as MacReady, but still doesn’t steal the show from the other actors. Each actor does an equally great job with his individual role.
Final thought, any film that warrants annual viewings at the south pole research facility must have some serious replay value. Something that I’m very eager to find out for myself and plan to do so in the very near future. 10/10
P.S. I really love that Wilford Brimely is in this horror movie.