The Thing: One of the Greatest Horror Films Ever Made
Updated: Mar 23
The Thing is a 1982 horror film directed by the man himself, John Carpenter. It’s about an American research facility in remote Antarctica that is infiltrated by a shape-shifting alien. It’s adapted from the short story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr. It’s also technically a remake of the 1951 film The Thing From Another World. This film is not only the greatest remake of all time, but one of the greatest horror films of all time.
I first watched this film a few years ago after hearing so much about it. I still remember my first viewing and being immersed in this well crafted and terrifying story. After it ended, I already knew it would be one of my favorite horror films. If you haven’t seen this film then stop reading this and watch it IMMEDIATELY. There will be spoilers.
I love the story. It starts off with a helicopter chasing down and shooting at a husky. The dog makes it to the American base and shit hits the fan from there. As the story goes on, the story gets more and more intense.
The characters feel real and I think that’s due to the filmmakers hiring not as known actors. Their chemistry feels legit, as does their banter. Kurt Russell is the standout, of course, as R.J. MacReady. He’s fucking awesome. I love the tension of not knowing who the thing is. The film has many scenes with the characters trying to figure out who’s real and who’s an alien. The film also loves to trick the audience and the characters into thinking who’s real and who’s not. It’s absolutely brilliant.
John Carpenter is one of my favorite filmmakers and I think this is his best film. His direction is top notch. The way he’s able to balance the tension between the characters, showcasing the alien, and telling a straight narrative is very impressive. What helps is Dean Cundey’s gorgeous cinematography. Those two combined are a match made in cinema heaven. This film is technically well made in every way.
This film has the greatest practical effects ever in my opinion. Rob Botin is the man responsible and his work will live on forever because the effects in this film are so goddamn insanely good. There are only a few scenes with the thing on screen but it grows more and more repulsive and impressive as the film goes on. My jaw drops everytime I see the effects on screen to this day. It just shows how practical effects are timeless and always the right choice.
The legendary Ennio Morricone did the score and it’s amazing. It sounds like his own rendition of a John Carpenter score. It’s subtle but very effective. RIP to Ennio Morricone.
I love the ending. It’s ambiguous because we don’t know if the thing is Childs or MacReady. We watch them share one drink as the fire slowly burns out at the blown up American facility. I always love these kinds of endings because they always lead to discussions.
The problem was audiences and critics didn’t like this film when it came out in 1982. Critics bashed it to death and it only grossed 19.6 million dollars on a 14 million dollar budget. It’s a shame because this should’ve been a smash hit and it deserved to win an Oscar for visual effects. Luckily, the film found its audience on home video and now it’s regarded as a classic.
This is a film I’d recommend to anyone. It’s perfectly made and it’s horrifying. It’s one of my favorite horror films and I think it’s one of the greatest horror films of all time.