Review of 'The Thing'

the_thing.jpg A helicopter from a Norwegian research station based in Antarctica chases a dog in an attempt to shoot it. When the helicopter crashes the lone survivor is himself shot by the staff of a US research station. When they visit the Norwegian station they discover it has been burned to the ground. In one of the buildings they find a mutilated corpse which they return to their station and eventually conclude to be alien. It soon becomes apparent that the alien is not dead and can take over other life forms, assuming their shape…including humans. Spreading like a virus can the survive the horror from space?

Based on the much more subdued The Thing from Another World (1951), “The Thing” is a blood-splattered shock-horror flick from a master of this genre: John Carpenter. This rather cheap looking film is awash with creature effects covered in copious amounts of gore. The creatures evolved into ever more twisted and mutated forms, revealed in their glory on the big screen. I am a believer in “less is more” but here it is “more is more” so suspense is largely off the cards though there are some notable exceptions. There is no real mystery to the story here, only who of the team will actually survive though the ending may still come as a bit of a surprise.

The headline talent in this somewhat cheesy outing is Kurt Russell as the gung-ho MacReady, at the height of his cinematic popularity. He is here playing to type as the macho, gun-slinging, hero blasting (or frying) everything in sight. There are other familiar B-movie faces as well in the supporting cast but here they are generally little more than simply fodder for the alien as it ravages it's way through the film.

A bit too much gore and shlock for me, I am afraid, though marginally entertaining with the occasional surprise.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2020-09-04

Directed by: John Carpenter

Studio: Universal Pictures

Year: 1982

Length: 109 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by John Carpenter: