The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982) – film review

I didn’t really plan to write this and to be honest I didn’t even WANT to write it. I mean who wants to read another bloody review about The bloody Thing.

Surely the world must be split into three defined groups already? Group 1 – people who have seen The Thing and don’t need or particularly want to read any reviews because they already know it’s a complete masterpiece. Group 2 – people who have not seen The Thing but plan to watch it one day (because they’re pretty certain it’s a masterpiece) and of course won’t want to read any reviews because of potential spoilers and stuff. And then the weirdest group of all. Group 3 – people who have no interest in watching The Thing at all because they’re not really that interested in it or reading reviews about it and may or may not have even HEARD of it in the first place. So who am I writing this for. Hmmm.

Screw it, I re-watched The Thing a short while ago (and the following day it was trending on twitter – by chance I mean, not because of my little #NowWatching tweet) so maybe – or even surely, fate has designed that we have ONE MORE review about The Thing?

Firstly – here’s to the yesses.

YES – THE SPECIAL EFFECTS.

YES – THE SOUNDTRACK BY ENNIO MORRICONE.

YES – THE ENTIRE CAST (& CHARACTERS)

YES – THE SPIDER HEAD.

YES – POTENTIALLY THE BEST FILM REMAKE OF ALL TIME.

YES – THE ISOLATED, COLD ATMOSPHERE.

YES – KURT RUSSELL’S HAIR.

YES – AGAIN TO THOSE SPECIAL EFFECTS.

YES YES YES YES YESSSSSSS! I’ll have what she’s having.

Classichorrorblog — John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) Directed by...

I mean, what more can be said really? Apart from the obvious extremely excellent points of the movie (named above), I thought it’d be quite fun to talk about some of the, perhaps less talked about stuff?

I looked up some trivia on IMDB and was amused to read (late to the party – I’m sure a lot of you knew already) that The Thing completely bombed upon initial release and was royally slated by every critic out there. I mean, everyone really hated it. So much hate it actually hurt John Carpenter’s feelings.

Critics. You know those annoying and pretentious goblin people (they may be shape shifters) who ‘think’ they know more about ‘what makes a good film’ than the rest of us? Bless. I never read critic reviews, I have zero interest in critic reviews. I do read a lot of user reviews and whilst it takes pretty strong words to put me off watching something, they do help gage what you’re in for – i.e. wonderment, average or shite – or none of the above but you might just like it anyway. In passing I guess I do like Mark Kermode but he does a lot of good film programmes on BBC4 (and his name is a toilet so he can’t be that pretentious).

Even Christian Nyby, the director of the original film made some extremely scathing remarks about The Thing, publicly declaring – “If you want blood, go to the slaughterhouse. All in all, it’s a terrific commercial for J&B Scotch.”. Ouch. So basically EVERYONE slagged it off and it only received the acclaim and praise it’s now famous for after it was released on video and gained a cult following through the fans. THE FANS. Because we all know how much cooler the fans are than the stuffy critics.

It amuses me because since all that happened, the ‘critics’ (shape shifters) have conveniently completed a U-turn and now all rave about this ‘classic movie’. Just proves what utter codswallop they talk, how fickle they are – and how much their stuffy reviews all mean nothing.

They all slated it until the home viewers loved it and now it’s – quite literally – talked about as one of the finest films of all time. Oh….. NOW IT IS. Good thing John Carpenter wasn’t as sensitive as Charles Laughton otherwise we may never have had his kind-of-weird-at-times but still bloody awesome 90s stuff. I mean yeah you could argue The Thing was ‘ahead of its time’ or even just the effects and gore were ahead of their time. But all I’m saying is – the fans liked it first. The fans were right. The critics were wrong. Rant over.

Something else I wanted to quickly talk about – again because it’s amusing to me – is how much Childs disrespects MacReady and does in a really fantastic way. He clearly dislikes MacReady (and his decision making) – even to the point where he bitterly calls MacReady’s negative blood test a “crock of shit”. Something that always, ALWAYS makes me laugh, because it’s as though he actually WANTS him to be infected by a disgusting and dangerous alien lifeform. Of course their mutual dislike does makes the ending that bit more memorable too.

His massively unimpressed expression here is just fabulous! –

And lastly – am I the only person who has seen this film at least more than five times and still can’t remember every character’s name?

All in all, The Thing is a total classic. We all have different favourite films – different favourite John Carpenter films even, but how can anything come close to this? I know Halloween….but no, not even Halloween. Never Halloween over The Thing. A guy walking slowly around a residential street with a kitchen knife or………………………….

John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) GIF - TheThing Monster JohnCarpenter -  Discover & Share GIFs

Exactly.

I’ve always found it hard to list my definitive favourite horror films – despite being one of my favourite genres, I can’t narrow them down very well. I just really, really like a whole bunch of films rather than ‘loving’ a small handful. There are some exceptions to this rule however and The Thing is definitely one of them. If I had a top three horror films of all time – then The Thing would be in it.

Also, I just want to give a quite shout out to all British Antarctic Research Stations. Every year on June 21st, as part of their Midwinter feast and annual celebration, they watch The Thing. How cool is that? And happening in one week’s time exactly! Have fun!!

About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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33 Responses to The Thing (1982)

  1. table9mutant says:

    Emma! I’m happy to read yet another review of this masterpiece! Especially one written by a real person & not those bloody snobby critics. Yuck. Totally agree on that! I stopped reading critic reviews once I discovered movie blogs. I want to know what real people & fellow nerds think. We have way cooler taste in movies. 😁 And it’s definitely The Thing over Halloween for me. Halloween is good but in all honesty I’d go Nightmare On Elm Street instead for favorite “slasher” series. HUGE love for They Live as well – my top two John Carpenters.

    • emmakwall says:

      Nice 🙂 and I’m completely with you on the Elm Street beating Halloween thing. I’d choose the same!!! Glad we agree about snobby critics, really grinds my gears how they think on some planet their opinion is worth more than ours?!!! Hell no way!
      ❤ ❤

  2. filmmiasma says:

    Love it! This post is perfecto! ❤️

  3. nscovell says:

    “I mean who wants to read another bloody review about The bloody Thing.” Absolutely correct. The Thing has moved into the realm of beyond review and into “let’s just talk about interesting aspects.”

    For instance, I always like asking other horror fanatics… what do you believe happens at the end of the movie. Does MacReady and Childs die? Is Childs the thing or is MacReady?

    I’ve always had this opinion that Childs is the thing… but the alien and MacReady come to terms with each other. Maybe MacReady allows the thing to take him over because he was going to die anyways. But the thing will simply stay frozen… until some rescue party arrives!

    • emmakwall says:

      Nice questions 🙂 I believe John Carpenter had the same view as you – Childs was The Thing but MacReady wasn’t. However this has never been totally obvious to me, so who knows. I like your theory about MacReady letting it take him over! Bit too much whisky and a ‘fuck it’ attitude?!!!!

  4. ManInBlack says:

    I’m in group 2.5, in that I’ve not seen it but I’m not necessarily in a hurry to do so although am I dismissing watching it, yet I will read other people’s opinions on it out of curiosity! 😛 😉

  5. Yes I’ll side with Blogferatu and join group 4! I have watched The Thing so many times over the years, it’ll never lose its magnificence in my eyes. Top 5 horror for sure.

    • emmakwall says:

      Excellent! I’m thinking about editing for group 4 🙂 I didn’t really think of the super, super, dooper fans!!! What’s your other favourite horrors in the top 5? 🙂

      • Oh no I’ve dug myself a hole now 😂 I repeatedly watched all the Freddy and all the Hellraiser and all the Alien films (and still do) can a series count as one?! I think it’s hard to define a top 5 without categories to be honest.

        • emmakwall says:

          Dug yourself a hole! Ha ha love it. I know exactly what you mean about not quite being able to define a top 5, I find it almost impossible. There are so many horror films I love, some because they’re classic and brilliant, some because they’re silly fun, some because they’re chilling, some because of nostalgia. Etc etc! All those films you mentioned are fantastic though 🙂 I love the Freddy films, Hellraiser is brilliant and so are the Alien films, great taste!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  6. beetleypete says:

    Top review of a top film. There are no ‘Nos’ about this film, including the simply wonderful ending!
    If anyone doesn’t like this film, then they are a complete knob-end, pure and simple.
    As ever, Pete. XXX
    (But Martyrs is still my top horror film. The original 2008 film, NOT the remake.)

    • emmakwall says:

      Knob-end! Love it!!! 😀 (and agree!)
      I can’t believe Martyrs is your top horror film, I do remember you mentioning it before but it’s so graphic!!! I’ve only seen it once. I do remember enjoying it. The main thing I really remember is feeling genuinely sad for the characters and that doesn’t happen often with those types of movies. I’ll have to watch it again soon, I would be curious to. I’ve never seen the remake but hard to imagine it’s as graphic?! I’d probably watch it if it was on the Horror Channel one night but wouldn’t be fussed. I can’t believe an American remake would really capture the essence of the original (meaning the violence AND the emotion). I’ll re-watch it soon! Thanks Pete! xxx

  7. johnrieber says:

    Emma, I LOVED this review! You nailed so much with insightful perspective and trivia as well…I remember when Siskel & Ebert SLAMMED Martin Scorsese’s “The King Of Comedy” in 1982, then did a show at the end of 1989 calling it the “most overlooked film of the decade!” Because of them! The same with “The Thing”. It’s brilliant in all of the way you mention…. bravo!

    • emmakwall says:

      Thank you John! Your kind words mean so much as ever 🙂 I didn’t realise that about The King of Comedy but found it very interesting! “most overlooked film of the decade” – LOL! Yes, because THEY dismissed it !!!!

      • johnrieber says:

        Exactly! There are so many films that are out of step with the cinema of that moment, only later to be discovered….again, a terrific insightful review!

  8. Blogferatu says:

    Also, if you haven’t, you might want to have a look at Black Mountain Side

  9. Blogferatu says:

    Group 4, the people who loooooooovvvvve this movie and will happily read anything anyone has to say about it. Also, lol Kurt Russell’s hair!

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