An American Research Base based in the Antarctic are faced against an unknown, shape-shifting entity that decimates anything it comes to contact with. Does that sound like one of horror’s most iconic masterpieces? Well, that’s because it is.
Just to clarify, we are going to be talking about the original 1982 release and not the lacklustre 2011 remaster. Got it? Okay, let’s continue.
For me, as an eager 19-year-old movie goer, I never had the chance to see The Thing on the big screen, and I can’t really clarify whether I’m happy or disappointed with that. On one hand, it would have been quite the experience, but on the other I might have publicly embarrassed myself with my constant squeals and signs of disbelief. Sadly, most horrors fail to deliver such an impact anymore despite the drastic advancements in CGI technology and special effects, which just goes to show the importance of sticking to makeup-effects rather than lazily relying on post-production editing. For me, and most other viewers, The Thing will be renowned for its revolutionary special makeup effects for years to come, and it’s clear that Rob Bottin’s techniques were way ahead of his time. You could just imagine the reactions from audiences in 1982 when witnessing the shape-shifting alien, especially when such images were only believed to be left to the imagination and not on the big screen.
The only thing for me to criticise from the film is the somewhat idiotic behaviour from the characters. The whole ‘let’s split up’ routine has become a cliche for horrors that has been consistent across the genre for many decades, and there’s no exception here. At one point, Kurt Russell’s character even mentions how the alien attacks its enemy when they are alone, and yet they are still left to speculate who has become infected. One may argue that such stupidity is necessary in order to add to the suspense of the movie, but I would rather call it what it is: a lazy move for such a wonderful movie.
Despite this, I still remain disappointed that it has taken me so long to finally watch this visual treasure, and when I look back at my all time horror favourites, The Thing will fit in without hesitation.
VERDICT: A Masterpiece!
Published February 8th, 2016.