Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Flashbacks: The Thing 1982

Director: John Carpenter
Writers: John Carpenter and Bill Lancaster
Starring Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, Charles Hallahan, David Clannon and Richard Dysart

The Thing, the 1982 version is one of the best of the hybrid genre of science fiction and horror. Along with Alien and Event Horizon, it is the best of it's genre. I have never liked the original 50's version of the film, as I find it coma inducing. This version is fast paced and has a great claustrophobic feel to it. It has a similar scenario to another Carpenter classic Assault on Precinct 13. It also has a tremdous cast anchored by Russell and David. And like all the best Carpenter films it ends on a huge downer ending. The story is really quite similar to the original story that both films are based on. John W. Campbell's Who Goes There. IT is a great story and really scary shit.
The plot basics are this, A alien ship crash lands in Antarctica in the early days of Earth;s evolution and is buried in ice and frozen for millions of years. Till it is discovered by a Norwegian research team. They are soon discovered trying to blow up a Husky and they drop a grenade and blow themselves up. The dog arrives at a United States Research post and it is soon discovered that it is not a dog but a alien species that mimics other life forms to a T. The team led by Macready (Russell) soon have to figure out who is real and who is not and they find their numbers dwindling rapidly. It all leads to a explosive climax underground where the creature is trying to build a new ship so it can leave intact.
This is Carpenter's finest film after Halloween. The direction by Caprenter is claustrophobic and intense throughout the film and he really knows how to build up the suspense. The script is tight and you get just enough feelings for the characters to feel for them when they die. The actors are great with a special nod to Russell, David and Brimley. I especially love ho paranoid Brimley plays Blair. Russell is his usual bad ass self, and David is just the angry guy, who doesn't believe any of this shit. The effects by Bottin are still something to marvel at to this day. My Favorite bit has to be when Hallahan's head oozes off and grows spider legs and scuttles away. It just shows you how practical effects are still better than CGI. The music by Carpenter is as always pitch perfect. It is haunting and solemn, which fits the film perfectly. This movie gets my highest recommendation and if you have not watched it yet, you are really missing out.
This one gets 5 mutated dog heads out of 5

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