‘The Thing’ Remains a Wild Testament to Practical Effects in Horror
John Carpenter’s 1982 remake is visceral, uncomfortable, and masterfully shot.
NOTE: For the month of October, I’ll be watching and reviewing classic horror movies that I somehow never made it around to seeing. Bring on your commentary in the comments — and happy Spooky Season!
I’ve been watching horror movies since my mom let me watch Poltergeist as a kiddo. I latched onto the genre for the same reason people love roller coasters: It’s a safe way to be temporarily scared and thrilled in a controlled environment.
The best scary movies, though, don’t just specialize in one sort of terror. I like a zombie flick or a supernatural narrative as much as the next person, but what impresses me are films that build a story around multiple, organic sources of fear. They’re relatable ideas that viewers are already bothered by, and if done right, those ideas generate a much larger scope of dread, thick enough to give people something to shiver about on the way home.
First of all, I miss trailers like this that don’t fool around. Props to the creepy-eloquent voiceover that sends us straight into the tension and the stakes. Second of all, the tagline for this film is an all-timer: “Man is the warmest place to hide.”
In an American research lab in Antarctica, pilot R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) and a team of specialists are encountering some bad signs: like, neighboring Norwegian researchers blowing themselves up after frantically shouting in their native tongue and attempting to murder a sled dog sort of bad. MacReady and a teammate chance a trip to the Norwegian base to investigate — not only do they come across a slew of dead researchers, but they also find a… thing. Seemingly dead, large, and dug out of the ice before the team was slaughtered.