(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – Yes, good remakes do exist. In 1982, “The Thing” was released to theaters. The movie is a remake of the 1951 film “The Thing From Another World” is one of them. It has the same plot from the original, or at least the short story it was based on.
At an isolated science station in Antarctica, a group of researchers come across a mysterious alien. The creature can shapeshift into any life form, even people. The group fights for survival, being completely cut off from help, and not knowing which one of them is real.
Surprisingly, this horror classic was not successful when it first premiered. It performed less than expected, and was not appreciated by audiences or critics. This might have happened because “E.T.”, an iconic and fan-favorite movie, was released right before hand, which had a much more positive message about aliens.
Many viewers are familiar with horror clichés: they split up, the black guy dies first and only the virgin lives. This movie has none of those clichés. I daresay this movie is one of a kind.
The atmosphere is tense; it’s one of the best parts of the film. There’s this constant ominous feeling of uncertainty. Every time the music score is played, tension fills the scene. It’s the feeling that something isn’t as it should be, and the dreaded alien is about strike.
Another high note are the characters. Despite some not having much scene time, everyone has their own different personality, it creates a unique group dynamic. Some characters are stereotypes, but it’s how they interact as a group that makes them more than just one dimensional characters.
There’s Kurt Russell’s character, MacReady, the tough guy, action hero; and Blair, a scientist that begins to lose his sanity. Besides their general suspicion, they all stand out. Unlike other horror films, you care about these people, even though they are given no backstories. It’s how they act with each other that makes up for it, especially later on when the group members start accusing one another.
I have never seen the original, but I can say it doesn’t have the remake’s special effects. To this day, the effects for the creature are still impressive. Their use of animatronics, makeup and prosthetics make the creature terrifying and disturbing, yet amazing at the same time. Every time it appeared on screen, I had a smile on my face. I love how it moves and shapeshifts, along with the unholy roar it releases.
A word of warning though: If you are not into body horror, which is the unnatural distortion of a physical body, you will not like this movie. The monster is pure body horror.
For those people that have a strong love for animals and cannot stand to see them hurt, you won’t like this movie either. Several dogs get killed by the creature.
Try your best not to make fun of the dated 80s technology that appears once or twice. Also, pay attention to which version of “The Thing” you watch. A prequel of “The Thing”, with the same title, was made in 2011. A remake was made for a remake, go figure.
The director, John Carpenter, was a fan of H.P. Lovecraft. The film takes a lot of inspiration from horror literature, such as Lovecraft. Any fan of his style – the terror of uncertainty that is space and insignificance of humanity – are subtle themes in this film.
You don’t have to have a love for horror to appreciate this movie. I have never been the biggest fan of horror, but I’m a big fan of “The Thing”. Honestly, it’s not that scary. There are a few jump scares every now and again, of course, those might be the best moments of the film.
The body horror isn’t that scary either. It might give some people nightmares, but I felt fine watching it. I highly recommend watching this film; it’s literally a classic.