The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter’s remake of the 1951 SciFi flick The Thing from Another World is both reverent and barrier-breaking, losing a bit of the original’s Cold War dread, but concocting a thoroughly spectacular tale of icy isolation, contamination and mutation.
A beard-tastic cast portrays the team of scientists on expedition in the Arctic who take in a dog. The dog is not a dog, though. Not really. And soon, in a cut-off wasteland with barely enough interior room to hold all the facial hair, folks are getting jumpy because there’s no knowing who’s not really himself anymore.
This is an amped up body snatcher movie benefitting from some of Carpenter’s most cinema-fluent and crafty direction: wide shots when we need to see the vastness of the unruly wilds; tight shots to remind us of the close quarters with parasitic death inside.
Rob Bottin’s FX, especially for the time, blew minds. That spider head move – woo-hoo!
The story remains taut beginning to end, and there’s rarely any telling just who is and who is not infected by the last reel. You’re as baffled and confined as the scientists.
The film was an inexplicable bomb with audiences and critics alike when it opened, but it’s gone on to become a must see.
Seriously, you must see it.