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The Thing (1982)

What you fear most... is among you.

Starring:

Charles Hallahan

David Clennon

Donald Moffat

Joel Polis

Keith David

Kurt Russell

Larry J. Franco

Norbert Weisser

Peter Maloney

Richard Dysart

Richard Masur

T.K. Carter

Thomas G. Waites

Wilford Brimley

Directed by:

John Carpenter

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 109 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: United States

With the remake upon us it’s time to revisit the classic Eighties sci-fi horror, The Thing. Director John Carpenter was riding high on the underground successes of Escape from New York and Assault on Precinct 13, and The Thing was another chance to team up with Kurt Russell who also couldn’t do any wrong – including growing a big trampy beard for this.

The story centres on a group of ‘scientists’ – on the most part resembling mercenaries and hippies – in Alaska who find themselves terrorised by a mysterious shape-shifting alien. Trouble is, the alien can turn into anyone of the hapless group and so suspicion and fear begin to get the better of them. The wonderfully named R.J MacReady (Russell) is the man with the flamethrower and seems to have it together the most, Dr. Blair () throws a wobbly and the rest run around either oblivious or scared out of their pants.

The Thing presents us with the fascinating and, at the time unique, concept of who is the villain? The Aliens don’t come in the usual form of the little green man or the now more popular squid formation and do not actually have a shape of their own but rather morph into the shape of whatever animal is closest. This gives us the interesting conundrum for every single character – just who is an alien pretending to be a human and who is a bona fide 100% homegrown homosapian? Even Kurt Russell is open to debate.

In these times, some of the special effects do look a little dated and have a little unintentional comedy value added but this was pretty much the last film to not take the easy way out and use animatronics. The isolated setting is well used and there are plenty of scares along the way. Overall, The Thing is excellent for some good old fashion B-movie sci-fi fun.

It's Got: decent scares, a real B-Movie feel, interesting concept

It Needs: a shave for Mr Russell

DVD Extras A might special Special Edition including a pretty long making of documentary, galleries of still, storyboards, premiere photos and effects designs, and deleted scenes DVD Extras Rating: 9/10

Alternatives:

30 Days of Night, Alien, Alien vs. Predator

Summary

Good ol’ B-movie fun from the classic Eighties duo of Carpenter and Russell.

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