Growing up with HBO and renting movies from the video store, John Carpenter was my favorite filmmaker; however, I was just too young to realize it. It wasn't till 8th grade or my freshman year of high school that I even knew who John Carpenter was. This was a time where I rented a lot of the movies I loved as a kid. There was CHRISTINE, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK just to name a few. Re-watching them I noticed something, this guy named John Carpenter had his name above the title of the movie.
As a child of the eighties I only knew two names of directors, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. So you could say that my early love/discovery for John Carpenter films was a catalyst for becoming a movie buff.
Before the internet and IMDB, browsing the video store was where you found what movie you were looking for. I found out that the Carpenter films I hadn't seen yet were mostly horror. I had seen CHRISTINE already, but no way was I watching THE FOG or HALLOWEEN! Those box covers were creepy. And THE THING? Forget about that!
Let's go ahead and fast forward to where I finally became a fan of horror movies. After seeing all the Freddy movies and Jason films (most of them anyway), I was ready for the other masked killer Micheal Myers. I had forgotten HALLOWEEN was a John Carpenter film, so I was a little pumped to watch it. After the movie both my friend and I became hard core Carpenter fans. And while it's not his film, HALLOWEEN II made me become an all time horror movie fan.
I was ready for THE THING. Turns out, I wasn't. Some images are burnt in your brain forever, I quickly found that out watching the movie. I didn't cover my eyes or look away, but I wanted to. Never had I seen a horror movie like that before. Some of the most gruesome special effects I had ever seen! And let me just say, even after 35 years the effects still hold up! Now that's saying something.
John Carpenter's THE THING had such a profound effect on me that I never rented it again. It wouldn't be until DVD that I revisited the film again. And it wasn't until Shout Factory's Collector's Edition Blu-Ray that I realized THE THING is my favorite John Carpenter film. I might have to watch HALLOWEEN this year to confirm?
For those that don't know, THE THING is about an American research team in Antarctica. It's the first week of winter and the group get a unwelcome guest. An alien force that can assimilate into anything it touches. It's up to the members to stay alive and be sure of who is human, and who is not.
So right off the bat, the thing I love most about the film is the special effects. For 1982 it's still fantastic looking! Added to this I wanna mention the production design, you really feel the isolation this group is facing. A small base camp surrounded by snow and ice.
Next, I love the tone of THE THING. From the beginning of the film things don't start off quite right. You're kinda confused at what's going on just like the characters are. And you don't know who the alien is and when it's going to strike next. A great showcase of terror and suspense from the director.
The ensemble cast is great. Kurt Russell is great as always, but everyone is believable in the role that they play.
In conclusion, I highly recommend THE THING. The film isn't for the faint of heart, the creature effects and gore will knock your socks off if you're not careful. But the movie is required viewing if your a horror movie fan.