Wednesday, October 31, 2012

PCP - I Finally Watched The Thing

Thanks for dropping by CRAPOLA for another hit of PCP.  I'm now 20% complete on my list of 15 movies I was embarrassed to have never seen.  John Carpenter's The Thing was the film that inspired my post in the first place, so I'm glad to say I was finally able to watch it.  I had seen the recent prequel first (review in this post here) but had never seen the original film.  I've now seen the original and I am glad that I did.  As with any review of an older film (this one is 30 years old) there will be some minor spoilers in my review.  So, in honor of today being Halloween, I give you my review of The Thing.

The Thing - 1982, rated R.  109 minutes.  Starring:  Kurt Russell, Wilford "Diabeetus" Brimley, & Keith David.  Directed by John Carpenter.  My rating at the end of the post.

The Thing is considered by many to be a horror classic.  It is the story of an outpost in Antarctica that has been infiltrated by a shapeshifting alien.  The alien is able to infect others and assume their form, so a lot of the horror and tension is in trying to figure out who is still human and who has been taken over.

John Carpenter is a master of horror films (he also directed the original Halloween, among others) and The Thing definitely stands heads and shoulders above the majority of his film work.  The tension is so thick it can be cut with a knife, and the suspense will leave you on the edge of your seat.  He does a great job with the limitations of the special effects of the 1980s as well, having some horrors happen off screen or in shadow so they are more in your imagination than on the screen, which can often be far more powerful and terrifying.

Read the rest of the review after the jump -->

Aside from Kurt Russell and Keith David, I didn't really recognize too many of the other actors in the film (Wilford Brimley's walrus mustache was not on his face so I didn't recognize him at first).  This helped with the tension for me, as I had no clue who would be killed off and who would survive.  It's like watching a foreign film for me, not knowing who the big name stars are and who are the also-rans helps to build tension because you don't know who is just a redshirt and who is going to make it to the 3rd act of the film.  The movie also has characters periodically disappear and reappear for various reasons, and you (and the characters) are left guessing about whether or not they have been replaced by the alien.

If you are going to watch The Thing, I do recommend you also watch the prequel as it helps to fill in some of the blanks in this film, explaining what happened to the first outpost to encounter the alien (seen in this film merely as wreckage) and the prequel film actually ends exactly where this film begins so it bridges perfectly.

All in all, The Thing was a great horror movie, one I can see myself watching again and again, especially if I am in the mood for a horror marathon.  It's nice to have a horror film that isn't the usual slasher psycho, instead having a monstrous alien creature instead.  The film is a bit of a Debbie Downer though, unlike most other horror films.

Rating the movie if it came out today:  8 out of 10.  The only thing that doesn't hold up is the special effects.  Because of the available technology of 1982, the film feels extremely low budget and slightly cheesy at times when they do show the alien in full, giving the monster the appearance of something you'd see in an indie or student film.  Aside from that though, everything else holds up great - the acting, the tension, pacing, and shots are all outstanding.

Rating the movie if I watched it in 1982:  10 out of 10.  Outstanding film and for the time it was a great film (even though it wasn't as appreciated then as it is now).

Overall rating:  9 out of 10.  Great film and I highly recommend it to all horror fans (though I'm sure most of you have probably already seen this).  As I said, this will be going into my horror marathon playlist.

Alright, that's all for today, thanks for dropping by!  Have a happy and safe Halloween!

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