The Thing (1982)

The Thing
Directed by John Carpenter
Written by Bill Lancaster based on the story by John W. Campbell Jr.
(number 295)

A classic of the ‘monster picks off the cast one by one’ genre, and also of gross out alien genre, and also of everyone in this movie is a man genre? Okay, that’s not a genre. Mostly this is another of those movies which makes me want to play Geiger Counter.

Content warning for violence to animals in this movie, lots of cute huskies in danger 😦

I like how quickly this movie cuts to the chase. There’s very little scene setting or world building before things start going to shit and getting weird. The characters, again, unsurprising that they rely hard on stereotypes for characterisation, it cuts out world building time so nicely.

The alien thing is pretty Lovecraftian and in turn made me want to play the Time Stories playset I played with Luke and Sam based on a voyage in the Antarctic as well. Carpenter has said this is a potentially apocalyptic film because of the implications if this alien made it to a more populated area. I guess with that in mind it’s scary but I dunno, I find this movie so predictable, so run of the mill kind of.. I didn’t find it too ground breaking. Probably I should have watched it as a kid and had the crap scared out of me, but thankfully I didn’t.

The suspicion between the characters is realistic. I think it’s probably the strong point of this film, the way they all tell each other to watch each other. The question of how do you know who is human and who’s a perfect imitation of one just chilling and trying to blend in. The blood test sequence was probably the most tense of the movie for me.

I don’t like body horror, it’s a big squick for me. But the special effects here were so dated that it didn’t even bother me particularly. Maybe I’ve become cynical over the course of this movie watching project? But I think more realistically is just that movies have moved on so far since this that the stretchy neck or the alien spider head thing just seem plasticky. Movies like the Saw are far more visceral – you can imagine the pain of that better than the weird Thing mutations.

Does it make me love the people? Mehhh? I’m inclined to like Kurt Russel because he’s the one I recognise. I don’t think that’s any kind of strength in the script or acting, it’s just casting.

Bechdel test: Nope, no women in Antarctica.

Best line:

So how do we know who’s human?

State of Mind: I like that there were two whole black guys, not just the token one, and that they didn’t die first. Overall for me this movie didn’t live up to the hype I’ve had over the course of my life. So much refers back to this film and so many class it as a classic but…I dunno. It just seemed like so much of the focus was on the weird SFX or the horror of the bodies twisting into something new. I feel like if the focus was more on the suspicion and the breakdown of trust and the nature of humanity it’d be a lot stronger. It was a miss for me, and I’m disappointed that it was a miss.

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