Members of an American scientific research outpost in Antarctica find themselves battling a parasitic alien organism capable of perfectly imitating its victims. They soon discover that this task will be harder than they thought, as they don’t know which members of the team have already been assimilated and their paranoia threatens to tear them apart.
- R.J. MacReady: Kurt Russell
- Childs: Keith David
- Dr. Blair: Wilford Brimley
- Nauls: T. K. Carter
- Palmer: David Clennon
- Dr. Copper: Richard Dysart
- Norris: Charles Hallahan
- Bennings: Peter Maloney
- Clark: Richard Masur
- Garry: Donald Moffat
- Fuchs: Joel Polis
- Windows: Thomas G. Waites
- Norwegian (uncredited): Norbert Weisser
- Norwegian Passenger With Rifle (uncredited): Larry J. Franco
- Helicopter Pilot (uncredited): Nate Irwin
- Pilot (uncredited): William Zeman
- Computer (voice) (uncredited): Adrienne Barbeau
- Norwegian (video footage) (uncredited): John Carpenter
- The Dog (uncredited): Jed
- First Assistant Director: Larry J. Franco
- Set Decoration: John M. Dwyer
- Director of Photography: Dean Cundey
- Original Music Composer: Ennio Morricone
- Editor: Todd C. Ramsay
- Production Design: John J. Lloyd
- Special Effects: Roy Arbogast
- Supervising Sound Editor: Colin C. Mouat
- Original Music Composer: John Carpenter
- Producer: David Foster
- Set Decoration: Graeme Murray
- Makeup Artist: Ken Chase
- Makeup Effects: Ken Diaz
- Production Manager: Robert Latham Brown
- Stunt Coordinator: Dick Warlock
- Screenplay: Bill Lancaster
- Co-Producer: Stuart Cohen
- Executive Producer: Wilbur Stark
- Casting: Anita Dann
- Art Direction: Henry Larrecq
- Original Music Composer: Alan Howarth
- Producer: Lawrence Turman
- Stunts: Denver Mattson
- Second Assistant Camera: David Geddes
- Second Assistant Director: Jeffrey Chernov
- Costume Supervisor: Trish Keating
- Camera Operator: Raymond Stella
- Unit Production Manager: Fitch Cady
- Makeup Effects Designer: Rob Bottin
- First Assistant Camera: Clyde E. Bryan
- Stunts: Eric Mansker
- Stunts: Larry Holt
- Stunts: Melvin Jones
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Steve Maslow
- Stunts: Rock A. Walker
- Pilot: Ken Strain
- Stunts: Jerry Wills
- Foley Supervisor: John K. Adams
- Dolly Grip: Dave Gordon
- Sound Effects Editor: Warren Hamilton Jr.
- Camera Operator: Cyrus Block
- Key Grip: Dillard Brinson
- Visual Effects: Albert Whitlock
- Costume Supervisor: Ronald I. Caplan
- Costume Supervisor: Gilbert Loe
- Music Editor: Cliff Kohlweck
- Property Master: John Zemansky
- Leadman: Barton M. Susman
- Supervising Sound Editor: David Lewis Yewdall
- Gaffer: Thomas Marshall
- Best Boy Electric: Charles E. Nippell
- Script Supervisor: Candy Artmont
- Script Supervisor: Christine Wilson
- Still Photographer: Chris Helcermanas-Benge
- Best Boy Electric: Len Wolfe
- Special Effects Assistant: John K. Stirber
- Production Illustrator: Mentor Huebner
- Gaffer: David R. Anderson
- Story: John W. Campbell Jr.
- Stunts: Kent Hays
- Gaffer: Mark Walthour
- Dolly Grip: Kris Krosskove
- Stunts: Anthony Cecere
- Makeup Artist: Phyllis Newman
- Second Assistant Director: Michael Steele
- Special Effects: Lee Routly
- Pilot: Nate Irwin
- Pilot: Lawrence Perry
- Key Grip: Ronald Woodward
- Best Boy Grip: James L. Hurford
- Production Illustrator: Gary Meyer
- Driver: George Lawson
- Special Effects Assistant: Hans Metz
- Transportation Captain: Bob Cornell
- Transportation Captain: Dan Anglin
- Swing: Richard A. Gonzales
- Stunts: Clint Rowe
- Second Assistant Camera: Steve Tate
- Sound Editor: Kendrick P. Sweet
- Assistant Sound Editor: Ernesto Mas
- Swing: Joseph R. Savko
- Swing: Milton Wilson
- Grip: Ray Kinzer
- Assistant Property Master: Michael R. Gannon
- Craft Service: Rocky Corsini
- Painter: James Callan
- Production Illustrator: Michael Ploog
- Production Assistant: Ron MacInnes
- Production Secretary: Debbie Collier
- Craft Service: Yervant Babasin
- Production Secretary: Karen Kalton
- Technical Advisor: Robin Mounsey
- First Assistant Camera: Paul R. Prince
- Second Assistant Camera: Douglas Pruss
- Special Effects: Michael A. Clifford
- Transportation Captain: Alois Stranan
- Craft Service: Spencer Hyde
- Generator Operator: Barrett J. Reid
- Visual Effects: Henry Schoessler
- John Chard: Flips the scenario round from the original to great effect.
John Carpenter shows how much he loves the 1951 original by giving it the utmost respect that he possibly could, the only difference here is that Carpenter chooses to stick to the paranoiac core of John W Campbell Jr’s short story.
The secret to this version’s success is the unbearable tension that builds up as the group of men become suspicious of each other, the strain of literally waiting to be taken over takes a fearful hold. Carpenter then manages to deliver the shocks as well as the mystery that’s needed to keep the film heading in the right direction.
Be it an horrific scene or a “what is in the shadow” sequence, the film is the perfect fusion of horror and sci-fi. The dialogue is laced with potency and viability for a group of men trying to keep it together under such duress, while Ennio Morricone’s score is a wonderful eerie pulse beat that further racks up the sense of doom and paranoia seaming throughout the film.
The cast are superb, a solid assembly line of actors led by Carpenter favourite Kurt Russell, whilst the effects used around the characters get the right amount of impact needed. But most of all it’s the ending that is the crowning glory, an ending that doesn’t pander to the norm and is incredibly fitting for what has gone on before it. Lets wait and see what happens indeed. 10/10
- fenicka: It was a good and original movie but some parts were still too boring, am i the only one who thinks like this?
- Wuchak: Stuck on a remote station in Antarctica with… The Thing
RELEASED IN 1982 and directed by John Carter, “The Thing” stars Kurt Russell as the helicopter pilot of an eleven-man crew at a research station in Antarctica who encounter a ghastly shape-shifting alien that perfectly replicates the appearance of its victims.
This is basically a sequel to the 1956 film and even includes footage from that classic sci-fi/horror. The creature is unconventional to say the least and this adds an eerie component to an already otherworldly and confined Antarctic setting.
There are no females and therefore no romantic complications. The characters are thin so the story focuses on the thing and how the crew tries to track it down and eliminate it, if they can. The nature of the gruesome entity, how it functions and how it can or cannot be killed leaves you with a lot of questions. The ending is haunting.
“The Thing” may not be as great as gushing devotees insist, but it’s solid sci-fi/horror with some pretty horrific scenes, although only one really creeped me out (the blood scene) while another made me bust out laughing (the torso jaws).
THE FILM RUNS 1 hour, 48 minutes and was shot in Alaska & British Columbia. WRITER: Bill Lancaster. MISC. CAST: Keith David (Childs), Wilford Brimley (Blair), T.K. Carter (Nauls), Richard Masur (Clark), Thomas G. Waites (Windows), Donald Moffat (Garry), etc.
- DrewBlack: 1982 was a good year for alien movies. The people were not really ready for it, but it was. Not only did Spielberg’s friendly and warm-hearted E.T. – The Extraterrestrial debut at Cannes, and went on to become the world’s highest grossing film, but Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan made justice with a really good motion picture to the Star Trek TV series, and Liquid Sky shook up the indie cinema scene. And, of course, the release of John Carpenter’s gruesome, thrilling and tense take on John W. Campbell Jr.’s novella Who Goes There: The Thing, probably named because of the other adaptation of Campbell Jr.’s story, The Thing from Another World (1951). But not only did Carpenter’s The Thing do poorly at the box office, it was also heavily criticized for the raw material (some level of gore and on-screen autopsies of the creature). Almost four decades later, and the movie has gone through one of the biggest re-evaluations in cinema history, becoming a standard bearer for the horror “monster movie” subgenre, and a mandatory stop for cinephiles all over the world. How does a day make a difference.
One thing is certain: Nowadays, loved or hated, The Thing is still a topic of discussion. As far as this reviewer goes, I stand with the most recent evaluation. The Thing is an example of tension-building through dialogue, while also being a visually striking, fear-provoking monster flick. And, in the category of alien Sci-fi movies, it is up there with Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Alien (1979) and Predator (1987) in the race for the top spot.
The premise of the film, being synthesized, is that a group of norwegian scientists in Antarctica found a 100,000 year old UFO buried in the snow. They find a frozen creature next to it, and thaw it out. The norwegian team proceeds to be almost entirely slaughtered by the unknown beast, that is able to shapeshift into other life forms. A dog, that in reality is the creature, escapes, and is chased all the way to an american base. There, it is unknowingly welcomed, until the Americans investigate the norwegian base. They find about the powers of the Thing, and from there on, the film assumes a “who-do-I-trust” suspenseful setting. The pace is never slow, because the viewer is always on the edge of its seat.
The protagonist, R. J. MacReady, is brilliantly portrayed by Kurt Russell, in what would be his third collaboration with John Carpenter. The partnership started with the 1979 TV movie Elvis, and continued with Escape From New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Big Trouble in Little China (1986) and Escape From L.A. (1996). As always, the chemistry between actor and director is important to build up a good result in the form of the film. Here, Russell brings in powerful voice tones, and his characteristic sheer physicality to give his best portrayal of a helicopter pilot who must assume a leading position with his colleagues in order to fight an unknown threat. Amongst the supporting cast, noticeable names are Keith David (They Live), Wilford Brimley (Country) and Donald Moffat (Rachel, Rachel).
John Carpenter is almost guaranteed to knock it out of the park when it comes to horror, having The Fog (1980), Halloween (1978), and so many others under his direction. The Thing wouldn’t put him in critic’s graces in 1982, but in the long run, it would define his directorial style, and find its appreciation, being one of the career-defining works that cemented him as one of the authorities on the genre.
The soundtrack is beautiful, and that is not for no reason. John Carpenter himself and his long-time collaborator Alan Howarth composed some of the tracks together. The fact that the director himself composes the pieces ensures an extraordinary blend between scene and music. But not only that: for select parts of the score, Carpenter had the compositions of cinematic-music icon, Ennio Morricone. The legendary italian composer made the iconic soundtrack to Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, apart from other big movies like The Untouchables and Death Rides a Horse. And to The Thing, he brought an electronic vibe, in order to approach Carpenter’s own style of music, while also incorporating european elements. The main theme for the film has its own deep meaning, representing the absorption process by the Thing, the main instrument being… An organ.
The visual effects were ahead of their time. So ahead of their time, that critics and casual cinemagoers alike bashed them for being “too gruesome” or “too gross”. There are ways and ways to create fear. One of them is properly scaring people – using jumpscares, or tense and uncomfortable situations -, the other is to gross them out. And The Thing, even though it does scare in the first way really well, relishes in this second one, utilizing the advantage of working with the anatomy of a fictional creature, especially a shapeshifting one, to create horrific settings and on-screen situations. Examples of it are an autopsy of what seems to be a burned human being by the beginning, and the Thing absorbing a few alaskan malamute dogs.
The thing about… Uh, The Thing, is that it is one of the early 80s monster flicks that would set the bar high for many others to come. Despite not being well received at its time, it would find deserved recognition after a re-evaluation. It has great attributes such as strong acting, directing, visual effects and a killer soundtrack. In its setting of Antarctica, The Thing delivers proper ice cold chills. For a movie about a shapeshifting creature, this one finds itself being inimitable. Oh, the irony.