Last week I wrote about the 30th birthday of Predator, this week one of the best horror movies ever turned 35. John Carpenter is my favourite director. He has crafted many masterpieces; from the suspenseful slasher Halloween, to the action packed adventure movie Escape from New York. In my opinion, his finest and greatest movie would have to be The Thing, even though I will always have a soft spot for In the mouth of Madness. The Thing is part of my holy trinity of favourite movies, the other two being Alien and Silence of the Lambs.
Origins of The Thing
It all started with a novella, titled Who goes there?, written by John W. Campbell Jr in 1938. In 1973 the Science Fiction Writers of America voted it as one of the finest science fiction novellas ever. Then came The Thing from Another World in 1951. A black and white movie which changes a few things from the novella, but still became hugely popular.
In the movie of today, The Thing, which was released in 1982, The Thing From Another World is shown playing on different tv screens in the background, as a friendly nod to what came before. Even though The Thing gave credit to the older movie, it in itself was a more faithful adaptation of the original novella and is now considered one of the best movies in it’s genre.
Who goes there?
The Thing is a science fiction-horror movie. Usually John Carpenter does the music for his own movies; for The Thing he enlisted the help of Ennio Morricone.
The setting is a research base on the Antartic that gets infiltrated by the titular Thing. The researchers now have to find a way to deal with it before it is too late. The very remote and isolated location, the impregnable darkness and the close quarters give The Thing a sense of paranoia and being cut off from everything. These factors enhance the mood and general atmosphere of the movie. Kurt Russel plays our main man, RJ Macready. He comes to investigate the incident that sets off the chain of events. A game of cat and mouse of horrific proportions ensues and in the end you don’t know who to trust.
What makes this movie good? A compelling story, great characters, spectacular special effects, that show that practical effect will always age better than CGI, and a director at his best. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it. But beware who you watch it with, you never know who or what they really are…
>> The Thing previously was featured on our ‘10 movies to watch after seeing Stranger Things‘ list