It’s hard to talk about and analyze one of your favorite movies. I think one of the saddest parts about this being one of my favorite movies is the fact that I really have no idea when I saw it for the first time and how it became my favorite. I do know that the first time I wanted to see was in college and seeing something about A.F.I.’s best horror movies or something like that, and that they spent a whole bunch of time talking about the special effects. I kept thinking in the back of my mind, “Of course I have seen The Thing. I mean, hasn’t everyone?”. The more I watched this documentary, the more I realized I had never seen any of it, and must have at some point sat down and watched it. I can tell you it certainly wasn’t one of those epiphany moments where I immediately realized how much I loved it, but it’s with each subsequent viewing that it gets better and better and better.
WHAT A FUCKING STUDLY MAN.
Kurt Russell and a bunch of other dudes are chillin’, literally and figuratively, down in Antarctica when they are interrupted by some people trying to shoot a dog from a helicopter. They are all like “WTF?”, and the chopper blows up and the dog seeks rescue from Team Kurt Russell. Using evidence from the helicopter, Kurt, who plays Jack MacReady, goes to investigate who was on the helicopter, why they were there, and why they were trying to kill a dog. It turns out that they came from a group of Norwegian scientists who had discovered a U.F.O. below the ice and attempted to excavate it. They unleashed something alien that can perfectly replicate other living things, and it turns out the dog is an alien, so the rest of the movie is spent trying to figure out who is/isn’t an alien and taking the appropriate actions. I’m gonna leave it at that, because either you have seen this movie and know what happens, or you haven’t seen it (idiot), and are now encouraged to.
You might wanna get that armed checked out, bro.
It’s hard to begin talking about what makes this movie so awesome. First off, it takes place in Antarctica, which seems to be a land that time forgot. Due to the lack of people and limited technology, this film has more of a timeless quality. People don’t look at their cell phones and see that they don’t have service, but because of the desolation, even if everyone did have a cell phone, who would they contact? This is definitely in my top three favorite Kurt Russell characters, along with Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China and Stuntman Mike from Death Proof. What’s so enjoyable is that it’s actually a lot darker than his other characters. Even though he takes leadership in some moments, he also threatens to blow everyone up if they cross him, shortly after he leaves a tape recording admitting that none of them will make it out alive. Very subtle performance, and very awesome.
I mean, I could have NOT shown the dog, but look at how awesome he is? I mean seriously! This dog rules!
I mentioned the effects earlier, but they need to be mentioned again. This film was made right on the cusp of when computers and animation were starting to take over all special effects, but John Carpenter made the choice to only use practical effects. This might not seem like a big deal anymore, but it makes everything that much more enjoyable. Sure, that leads to maybe a few cheesy scares that are more humorous than scary, but trying to figure out how they made the effects is what’s so entertaining about it. The music is awesome too. Definitely an 80’s horror movie with the synthesizers, but a slightly more somber and depressing score. One of the guys turns into an alien and is being set on fire, turns to face Kurt Russell, and lets out one of the most unexpected and terrifying screams in all of horror film history. It still creeps me the fuck out when I hear it. This film really is the perfect combination of actors, director, location, effects, storyline, and score, to produce one of the best films of the 80’s, one of the few remakes that surpass the original, and one of the best horror films of all time. Oh, and Kurt Russell has one of the best lines in history, right before he throws dynamite at an alien, he just yells “YEAH?! FUCK YOU TOO!”. GENIUS!
Wolfman Moon Scale