By Matt Dy | 03.13.2013
What does John Carpenter’s THE THING have in common with Steven Spielberg’s E.T.? Well, it’s not a cute, cuddly alien that’s for sure. Both were released at the same time but Carpenter’s film took a beating at the box office while up against Spielberg’s behemoth classic. However, over the years THE THING has found renewed appreciation as one of the greatest horror films of all time.
THE THING was written by Bill Lancaster and directed by John Carpenter and is considered a remake of THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. The title refers to the not-so-cuddly alien creature that assimilates other organisms (humans, dogs, anything is game) and has the unique ability to imitate them. This serves as an excellent plot device as The Thing terrorizes a research team in the Antarctic and they begin to turn on each other. The paranoia that develops and the slow burn of tension that builds underneath are what make this film as frightening as the fantastically gory transformations by The Thing. The best example of this is in the tension filled scene where all the men are having their blood tested to find out if any of them have been assimilated. In the scene, the men have realized the Thing has an extreme aversion to heat so they all agree to be tied up and have their blood drawn to be tested. MacReady (Kurt Russell) already passed so he administers the test by applying a hot wire to each man’s blood sample. One by one, we nervously wait to find out if the Thing lives in one of them. Suspicions and clues have already been laid throughout the film escalating to this moment. When we do find out who has been assimilated, The Thing reveals itself in the most horrifying way and we see it in all its gruesome transformations. If you haven’t seen it, it’s probably best you discover this for yourself.
Since it’s release, THE THING still holds up well. The movie was considered a mindless gorefest by many critics when it first came out. The perception of the film and horror in general obviously has shifted over the years as it is now embraced as a master class in subtle terror and over-the-top gore and special effects.
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