The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter


John Carpenter’s classic sci-fi action horror has not only spawned a remake, but it is actually a remake of a 1951 film called The Thing from Another World. Carpenter’s adaptation really gets the job done using a mix of shocking special effects, isolation and paranoia. We’ve got classic creature horror getting compounded by some good old fashioned psychological horror and oh, did I mention, it’s gory as hell.

I mean this movie is fucked up. Without giving too much away, “The Thing” is an alien that can assimilate your body and create an exact replica of you. Though during the metamorphosis, or if the alien ever gets discovered, or just about any other opportunity it gets, it becomes a horrible, pulsating, bloody mess. The special effects are truly grotesque and terrifying. And needless to say, in 1982, there was no CGI. The puppetry and modeling they’ve done here is really amazing.


Ok, so the plot goes like this. There’s this group of “scientists” and other crew members in an Antarctic research station (who from the looks of things don’t research much except how to smoke week, play pool, watch videos, and get wasted all the time…but that’s neither here nor there). They stumble across what appears to be the dismembered body of an alien that crash landed in Antarctica 100,000 years ago. Soon we find out that it wasn’t dead, it was sleeping, and now it’s pretty goddamn grumpy.

The team figures out that this life form can absorb and perfectly copy any other living cells. So the thing has been alone with several crew members and we’ve determined that somebody is probably infected, but we don’t know who it is. This is where the psychological horror comes in. Everyone is paranoid and angry and violent. Nobody trusts anybody, and as the bodies start to pile up, it just gets worse. Everyone is angry and tense and theres a lot of yelling and drinking. It would be like if somebody used up the last of the hair gel on an episode of The Jersey Shore, and they locked themselves in the house until they figured out who it was.


Ok so we’ve got blood- loads of it- and paranoia. Also there is an intense feeling of isolation and helplessness. We’re stuck in Antarctica and there’s no communication, somebody has destroyed all forms of transportation, and there won’t be a rescue party for weeks. It’s just us and the thing, oh and did mention that there are flame throwers. Sorry, that’s crucial. There are flame throwers. Lots of them. Just in case you were getting worried, these guys use them. A lot.

  1. Is it scary: 9- The paranoia and claustrophobia along with the brutal creature effects make this one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.
  2. Originality: 6- Well, it is a remake, so it’s tough to say it’s truly original, but this adaptation definitely takes things much further and there are some points in there for the special effects which really set the bar for future horror movies.
  3. Blood: 10- This movie is downright revolting. If you like it, you should seek professional help immediately.
  4. Believability: 7- Other than repeatedly choosing to split up when they know they are vulnerable in small groups, I think this one is pretty authentic and believable.
  5. Setting/Cinematography: 8- As I mentioned before, the setting adds a lot to the feeling of isolation and fear. The camerawork in unsympathetic to those who might be disturbed by what they see. It’s clear, up close and relentless.

Final Score: 40/50



6 thoughts on “The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter

  1. Glad you liked this one. Carpenter’s best film IMO. Glad you mentioned the non-cgi work of Rob Bottin. great write up.

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