The Thing

"I know I'm human. And if you were all these things, then you'd just attack me right now, so some of you are still human. This thing doesn't want to show itself, it wants to hide inside an imitation. It'll fight if it has to, but it's vulnerable out in the open. If it takes us over, then it has no more enemies, nobody left to kill it. And then it's won."   - MacReady

release year: 1982
genre: horror/sci-fi
viewing setting: home DVD, 10/8/19 and 12/22/15 and 12/6/12 and 10/18/10 and 10/31/04 (plus numerous times in the 1980s)

synopsis: The crew of a remote Antarctic ice station encounters a dangerous alien that can assume the shape and appearance of any living thing it comes in contact with.

impressions: Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, it's not. When you know there's an alien in your midst, and it could be any of your buddies, what the hell do you do? That's really the question posed here. Of course, they spend half the movie figuring out what's going on, and then they have to figure out what to do. Meanwhile, the thing picks them off, one by one. John Carpenter made very effective use of shadows, fade-outs, and slow, creepy music to heighten the tension. Additionally, there are some outstanding gore/monster effects and scenes by Rick Baker. This is an underrated movie, and a great one.

things to watch for: I'd say the blood test sequence.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A severed head that sprouts tentacles and spider-legs before scuttling around.

acting: Kurt Russell, barely recognizable with a full beard, is the main protagonist. The various others (including Wilford Brimley, Keith David, and Donald Moffat) do a great job too, portraying a bunch of grunts who are in big trouble and know it.

final word: Very suspenseful horror/sci-fi, well worth seeing.

back to the main review page