Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Retro Review: The Thing (1982)
I have said in previous reviews how much I cherish practical effects on film. The Thing really makes me appreciate my love for practical effects as it features realistic-looking aliens that blend in smoothly with a film that has an atmosphere that is as chilling as the film's cold setting.
The Thing follows the story of an expedition team in Antarctica led by a man named MacReady (Kurt Russell). Together, they discover a special alien organism that has the ability to genetically replicate whatever it touches. Eventually, as this special alien life form is released, the explorers become increasingly paranoid once they become unsure of who is the Thing or not.
The thing that I loved the most about The Thing was how it relies on the use of practical effects rather than CGI. Of course, CGI wasn't really utilized back when the film was made, but still. As I've mentioned before, I prefer practical over CG because I find practical effects to look more realistic and the different aliens created for the film have distinctive designs done amazingly by Rob Bottin (The Howling, Legend) and I loved that.
Not only did I feel The Thing was such a unique monster movie, but also works as a classic "whodunit" thriller. Part of the reason this film creates such a chill is because you are unsure of who has become the Thing. As the film progresses and everyone becomes more paranoid, each one of them becomes suspicious of each other as they are held up together inside their camp amidst the snowy weather. Even at the very end, you are left wondering what will happen with whoever is left. It doesn't end on a bad note, but it doesn't necessarily end on a happy note either. I actually thought that was very neat. Most horror films either have a "The Worst Was Over" or "You Thought The Worst Was Over" type ending, but here you are just left wondering "Is The Worst Over?". I just loved how even though the monster isn't hidden in the shadows, the film is just shrouded in mystery.
Overall, The Thing is an incredible and atmospheric exercise in sci-fi terror. If you love horror or sci-fi, I would put this HIGH on your watch list. In my opinion, this is an essential film for the horror genre. Also, if you are looking to get into film and do visual or makeup effects, look no further because this film really shows the wonders of practical effects. The nightmarish atmosphere and aliens certainly make one amazing "thing".