The Thing…

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I got all excited yesterday morning when I read that The Thing was on TV last night, one of my all time favourite films, and one which I hadn’t seen for a good couple of years.

First released in 1982 and one of the last of the classic optical effects films (i.e. no digital effects) it’s a tense, claustrophobic ride which follows the trials of a US Antarctic Research team as they battle for survival against an extraterrestrial being, which assimilates the form of anything it kills… and boy does it like to kill: from the Norwegian shot in the face within the first 10 minutes through the shooting, and burning of virtually everyone else, this film is a full on gorefest which (I think) still shocks today

Today’s digital savvy film audiences, may find some of the animatronic effects a bit wooden and unconvincing, but to me as a sci fi obsessed teenager first watching it the mid 80’s, this was a truly scary and frightening thing, totally believable.

Theories abound as to whether The Thing survives (of course it does!) and if so which one of the survivors it might be. My personal theory has always been that it was Childs as his breath in the frozen air wasn’t visible, whereas Mac’s virtually fills the whole screen.

The (rather worryingly) in depth analysis of the film here  disputes this theory somewhat (but after 25 years, I’m sticking with it) and adds level of detail I hadn’t even thought about (for instance, if two of the three people who went to the crash site crater where already infected (Palmer & Norris) why didn’t they kill Macready there and then…..

This wonderful film also contains two of my favourite ever lines of dialogue: Palmers “You gotta be f**king kidding… ” when he sees Norris’s head sprout legs and try to escape, and then later when Garry’s blood tests negative, and he looks up at the others and says: “I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS F**KING COUCH!


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