The Thing (1982)
If you are looking for classic knife wielding, running for your life style horror then this isn’t for you, more of a survival horror thriller, The Thing will keep you guessing all the way through.
However it does have some classic horror elements; aliens, gore, and plenty of character deaths.
Set in the Arctic you follow a team of American’s stationed at a science base who quickly find themselves drawn into a life or death situation brought to them from a nearby Norwegian camp, the opening scene is a man shooting at a dog from a helicopter.
After saving the dogs from the obviously mental traumatised Norwegians the Americans carry on life in the middle of nowhere.
However this being a horror and not a documentary you quickly find out there is more than meets the eye about this new addition to their team, the fact that it suddenly splits apart and starts to attack the rest of the teams dogs in a kind of tentacley 80′s graphics kind of way in order to absorb the dogs and make imitations. This process is of course stopped by the team and them being scientists and they are clever enough to realise what the alien/dog was up to.
From this moment on it’s a downward spiral of suspense and paranoia as everyone realises that the person next to them might not be them any more.
The effects of the alien and it’s imitation process is quite cheesy and old but you can see that at the time it would have been seen as quite creepy but it isn’t the effects that make this horror so good, its tense and very atmospheric right from the beginning, the scenes make you aware from the start that you are isolated, the musical score is fantastic and keeps up with the feeling of suspense and isolation. The cast is well picked with Kurt Russell being the unwilling yet cool headed hero, the dialogue from the rest of the cast is well thought out and flows quite nicely, something not all horror movies get. There are no women for any of the team to fall in love with and bore you with love scenes that take you away from the action, it’s slow to get started but once there the action never stops.
Other than the outdated effects The Thing still stands up now, even leaving you with an ending where your not sure even then that the survivors are human or not without being a cliffhanger.
It’s a great film to watch (or re-watch) and still get a good horror.
‘I don’t know what it is but it’s weird and pissed off whatever it is!’
When all members of the science team are all stood around the imitation Bennings who is knelt down in the snow, not fully formed, howling eerily in the night.
Scenes to watch for:
A severed head suddenly growing spiders legs and antlers scuttling around the floor.
The fingers through the face scene.