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. Eric Binford says:

    My dad took me to see it, and I distinctly remember that the theater was almost empty (maybe five or six patrons). It’s one of those movies that became a hit as a video rental.

  2. Fall into the fourth category person who still has to watch the whole movie as found some of the animal themed special effects a wee bit too gorey. But now plan to try to watch all the way through after reading your article. Thanks xx

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