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The Thing

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Lavish coffee-table book Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia (published in 1995) criticizes the 1982 Carpenter film "The Thing." Most reviews I've ever seen of the film also criticize it as a lesser version of earlier movies. But the Encylopedia correctly point out that the 1982 movie closely follows the original novella by John W. Campbell Jr. (aka Don Stuart). Just like "Batman"'s critics forget that the dark, brooding image was taken from the original stories in the earlier part of the 1900s.

-Thanks to David Leone

More Trivia from The Thing
John Carpenter's "The Thing" stands as one of the most impressive horror/sci-fi films to date.

It details the story of 12 men, trapped at an Antarctic research station, as they battle for survival against a hostile shape-changing alien.

Although superficially a remake of the Howard Hawk 1951 film "The Thing from Another World", Carpenter’s film is more faithfully adapted from the John W. Campbell, Jr. short novella "Who Goes There?"

Director John Carpenter was fresh from box-office success with Halloween and Escape from New York. With Universal Studios willing to provide a budget of $10 million, it provided the platform for Carpenter’s first venture into the big league.

The innovative creature is brought to life through some astonishing special effects by Rob Bottin (The Howling) and Stan Winston (Aliens). No longer are we seeing a creature skulking around in the darkened shadows, only to appear at the end of the film as a man in a suit. Bottin’s creation is a sinuous, slimy creature that transforms and strikes in full view of the audience. The creature is fast and gruesome, one of the most unique and awesome monsters to ever grace the screen.

The incredible special effects are not the only impressive facet of the film. Carpenter focuses on the tension and paranoia between the men, as they struggle to come to terms with an alien being that can imitate other life forms, including fellow team members. This tension is only increased by the isolated Antarctic environment, and is complemented by the chilling Ennio Morricone soundtrack.

The film is notable for strong characterization, with a solidly performing cast, including Kurt Russell, Keith David and Wilford Brimley. The entire film has the stamp of quality on it. When it was released in 1982, the film was savaged by the critics, and poorly received by an indifferent public. But over time, the true landmark status of the film has been acknowledged, and it has since risen to cult status.

You can learn much more about this chiller classic at the excellent Gold Rated Site listed in the links section.

Verdict?

The Thing was a landmark film at the time of release and even now stands head and shoulders above many modern efforts at this genre. The special effects are seamless, the plot is absorbing, the acting is solid, and the overall atmosphere of the film is tense and chilling.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Truly superb sci-fi/horror that stands the test of time.

Weaknesses? Negatives ??!!??

Our rating: 9.5 out of 10


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The Thing