Happy Halloween! While our past performances would dictate that we would skip a holiday podcast because we were busy or something horrible had happened, we decided for once not to let anyone down! So, for Halloween, and to close out our Decades of Horror podcasts, we give you 1982’s The Thing, a John Carpenter directed practical effects extravaganza (provided by Rob Bottin and a team of MILLIONS!) that is still more than worthy of your time today!
Kurt Russell leads an ensemble cast of nothing but men in the ultimate survival horror where our monstrous villain can look like anyone or anything. There’s a reason this movie is remembered as a classic, but was derided on its initial release (something that still baffles me to this day). Tight, claustrophobic sets expertly directed by Carpenter that are still somehow made beautiful by DP Dean Cundey and a great minimalistic music score by consummate veteran Ennio Morricone render this movie a must-see. The lesson is that you shouldn’t open your grotesque alien invasion film anywhere near E.T. While The Thing was criticized for its violence and gore, the truth is nothing is out of place in this fantastically tense and paranoiac film. Yes, there’s violence. Yes, parts of it are gross. But it all happens in support of the story. There’s nothing out of left field simply so the movie can be grosser or uglier.
A word of warning. An attempt to revisit this film and fill in some of the narrative gaps (that didn’t need filling) was made in 2011 by a film with the EXACT SAME NAME! This film, 2011’s The Thing, suffered from a lot of studio involvement that wanted its practical effects covered with CGI at the last minute. Do not confuse these movies! You want The Thing from 1982. The one where both Keith David AND Wilford Brimley both get to be badasses somehow!
Grab your J&B, your computer chess set, a flamethrower, and a length of wire and find what is simply one of the best horror films ever made! The Thing! A perfect note for us to end October on, and indeed, a fantastic film to find for Halloween!