John Carpenter’s The Thing


Horror legend John Carpenter took the 1951 sci-fi classic The Thing From Another World and turned it into something darker, fiercer and altogether more disturbing, pitting sombrero-wearing helicopter pilot Kurt Russell and a crew of isolated Arctic scientists (Wilford Brimley, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart, etc.) against a ravenous, shape-shifting, host-hopping alien being intent on conquering the world, one victim at a time.

The Thing is a peerless masterpiece of relentless suspense, retina-wrecking visual excess and outright, nihilistic terror.” – Adam Smith, Empire

From the haunting opening shots of a lone sled dog fleeing across the snow, to the apocalyptic, fire-and-ice ending, the film expertly builds an atmosphere of ever-escalating paranoia and fear, propelled by some of the most gloriously gloopy practical monster effects in movie history. Virtually ignored by mass audiences and underrated by critics on its initial release in the summer of 1982 (the same summer that saw the release of Spielberg’s decidedly kinder and gentler alien blockbuster, E.T.), the reputation of Carpenter’s The Thing has constantly risen in the ensuing decades as one of the most intelligent, frightening and uncompromising horror films of the 1980s. (Dir. by John Carpenter, USA, 1982, 109 mins., Rated R)