If there is one thing (pun intended) that I like in horrormovies, it is a good monster. The more disgusting or horrifying a creature is, the better I like it. Yes, I can be weird that way but really, honestly I am a nice guy. Yes, I would not have believed myself after a comment like that either. Okay, moving on. Director John Carpenter has certainly made some of my favorite alltime horrormovies. Halloween, Christine and Prince of Darkness are just some examples of his talent for making great and chilling films, that will scare the life out of you. Sadly he has not been having such a great track record recently. His last film, The Ward dates back to 2010, and is a mostly forgettable experience. Luckily we still have his old movies to rewatch and enjoy, and the film I am about to review will always be my absolute favorite film made by this director.
In the icy cold of Antarctica we see a domestic dog running across the snowy landscape. This in itself would not be such a strange sight, were it not for the fact that a helicopter from a Norwegian camp is in hot pursuit. The dog manages to reach an American research station, where it’s occupants are roused by the noise outside. The helicopter has meanwhile settled down on the ice, and one of it’s male passengers comes out guns blazing at the terrified dog. The pilot of the chopper accidentally blows himself up, while trying to throw a thermite charge. Eventually the shooter gets killed by a member of the research station. The dog is taken in by the bewildered Americans, that are left wondering what in blazes would cause two grown men to act the way they did. The members of the research station send out their helicopter pilot MacReady together with a doctor to the Norwegian station in order to get some answers. However what they are going to find out is something more terrible than they could have imagined. A thing that is not of this world has taken refuge amongst them…..
The Thing is quite possibly one of the best horrormovies ever made. There are so many reasons that make this movie an alltime classic that it is almost impossible to name them all. But I will at least give you some of the most important ones. For one thing it’s the characters, most notably MacReady, played by a young Kurt Russell. With The Thing being able to take on any living form whatsoever, paranoia soon begins to run rampant across the station. MacReady seems to be the only one that keeps a level head, despite his colleagues that seem to mistrust pretty much everyone. Kurt does an excellent job in portraying this desperation, but he is also the true hero of this film. Russell has always excelled at playing characters that are a bit of a loner and anti-hero, and this role is no exception.
Another thing (yes these puns keep on coming, but are also unavoidable really), that is the main reason to watch this movie are the truly horrific special effects. This was an era that had no CGI effects to speak off, so all of the effects you see are practical. But they are no less impressive, or disgusting for that matter. The monster itself, in all it’s different shapes and forms is a truly horrific creature. Some of the designs seem to have come straight out of the deepest pits of hell, and are amazing to look at. Even after all these years, the effects still hold up, and manage to outdo many modern day horrorfilms.
Last but definitely not least is the story itself, that manages to truly cause a frightening atmosphere. With a creature that is able to take on any human form, simply everyone can be the monster. And that is the true strength of this film. Who can you trust? Director John Carpenter plays masterfully with this intriguing feature, with characters that slowly become more and more paranoid of each other, with every waking second. If you are a fan of horrormovies, and have yet to see this true classic I urge you to track this one down as soon as you can. It is a film that will have you in it’s clutches throughout the entire runtime, and will have moments that will leave you gasping for air. In 2011 a prequel film for this movie was made, that received some very negative reviews. But in my opinion those were pretty unfair, as I found the prequel to be every bit as enjoyable. But that is a story for another time.
I give The Thing a 10 out of 10 score.