Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Breaking the ice: The Thing(1982)

I can remember being considerably skeptical at the prospect of actually liking the film The Thing, a sci-fi/horror movie directed by John Carpenter, as I walked in the Lenox Square mall theater(here in Atlanta, GA), ticket in hand to see this movie for the first time, way back during the summer of 1982 when this movie made its theatrical debut.

Remakes weren't so prevalent thirty years ago like they are now. I remember reading an early review of this movie in the local newspaper(the Atlanta Constitution) by a movie critic who blasted the film as nothing more than a lot of "meatball gore". I have never been one to pay much attention to movie critics so after getting mildly inebriated on some cheap beer I accompanied two friends over to the mall to check out this film. Initially I felt considerable disdain at the idea of any director helming a remake, or "re-imagining" if you will, of the classic 1951 sci fi movie "The Thing From Another World", which was directed by Christian Nyby...or Howard Hawks depending on who you believe.

I watched The Thing(1982) and came away liking this movie a great deal. Now, decades later and with more viewings it has become an all time favorite of mine in either the sci-fi or horror movie genre. Director John Carpenter put together a highly entertaining movie, which has a cast of quality actors, terrific sets, outstanding makeup and marvelous creature effects by Rob Bottin. This movie chronicles the struggles of a group of scientists at a remote, Antarctic research station who welcome into their facility a stray dog, unaware that the animal is in fact a hostile, shape shifting alien from a destroyed Norwegian research station in the same general area of the Antarctic. The American scientists inspect the wrecked Norwegian station but find little answers to the mystery and later must deal with the alien creature after it escapes into their own encampment and begins attacking, and assimilating the various scientists and other personnel at the U.S. research station.

The film is at once a combination of mystery "whodunnit?" and gory, makeup effects laden scenes of terror as the research station members turn on each other in their efforts to eradicate the creature. Rob Bottin's creature effects are terrific, the alien creature fairly hideous in its natural form and also in mid transformation forms while it tries to absorb and imitate the various cast of characters.

I haven't seen the "prequel" film to the 1982, John Carpenter directed classic(also called The Thing), which is showing in theaters right now but I'll buy it on DVD when it hits retailers. The Thing(1982) is available on both Blu Ray and Collector's Edition DVD. Both can be seen for sale at Amazon by clicking the Blu Ray DVD cover art image above.

The trailer to John Carpenter's 1982 classic: