Monday, April 5, 2010

#22-The Thing (1982)

The Thing



A remake of the 1951 original, The Thing was helmed by director John Carpenter. This was his first big studio effort, with previous films including the original Assualt on Precint 13, and Halloween. Carpenter couldn't have picked a worse time to realese the film. As it was set, The Thing came out only two weeks after Steven Speilberg set out his own alien film, that one the hearts of moviegoers, and went on a box-office rampage, E.T.. Since then, critcs and audinces members have repented, and The Thing has become a much beloved cult classic, earinging its spot at #162 on IMDB.com's top 250 films of all time.


The plot is relativly simple, but creates for a very confusing story, that will keep you guessing all the way through. A group of scientific reasearchs are in a base in Antarctica to to some sort of study. While there we meet a whole cast of characeters, that are all very interesting and unique. The Norwegians from a nearby base begin to act strangly, and won't return calls. Pretty soon, the crew is sent to investigate, only to find that they have pulled something strange out of the ice. Once back at base, dogs begin to howl, and create very strange noises, only to have their heads explode, and turn into an octopuse creature shortly thereafter. Soon, this strange parasite has infected a few members of the crew. But the question is, who do they kill to find out?


Let's start this off by saying that John Carpenter is a master of his craft. He has proven to us that he can do suspense, and scary multiple times before, just look at his track record. He virtually is a tour de force in the name of horror. Once you have a title like Halloween under your belt, you have it made. There are a few things that I really enjoyed about his style this time around, and other things that I didn't. Firstly, since it had a bigger budget, we have better sets, and lighting, and camerawork. But the bigger budget also attributes to the loss of classic eariness, that comes through natural lighting, and home-brewed sound effects. Personally, I think Carpenter works best with a minimal budget, when he is forced to be created, but this certainly is one of his best big films.



"Well, thanks for considering me."

A lot of The Things infamy comes from its gratuitous violence, and excellent special effects, which you can see displayed above. And I have to say, they are pretty amazing, especially for the time period. Most of the accolades for this great achivement can go to Roy Arbogast, the speical effects director. He created some truly horrifying and gruesome things for this film. I am really shocked that this wasn't nominated for more awards in effects departments. Not to mention, all of them are practical. Not one effect you see was done with a computer, which is something to marvel in itself.

The film has a fairly slender cast, with the only big name being Kurt Russel. He's a decent actor, in my opinion, and he continues his streak of decency throughout this film as well, neither here, nor there. The supporting cast does a great job for a group of relative unknowns, such as Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, and David Clennon. They round out a diverse cast of characters decently. But the problem is, since the film relies so much on what the characters say and do (because thats how we decided who we think is infected), I wish a better cast could have been attributed to a great idea.

Overall, The Thing is a fun movie. A nice little horror monster flick to watch inside on a wet day, or when you take a sick day. The film is disgusting in its violence. Gruesome in its gore. And unrelenting when it comes to special effects. It's an interesting idea, pulled off by a decent cast of people, and a decent directing job by John Carpenter, who is truly a master of suspence, and an excellent choice for the director of this film.

I Give The Thing A:
3/5



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