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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Thing

Having a directors name before a movie title is usually a sure fire sign that the movie in question is crap. "Wes Craven's this . . . " or "David Cronenberg Presents that . . " are the kind of things I'm on about, but "John Carpenter's The Thing" is one of the few exceptions to this rule.

If you've never seen it, the year is 1982 and it's the story of a group of American scientists stationed in the Antarctic. They discover that an alien that crash landed on earth thousands of years ago has awoken and infiltrated their camp due to its ability to absorb and imitate any living thing it touches.
This is definitely one of John Carpenter's finest films from a very long list of fine films.
He directs the cast on a downward spiral of mistrust, chaos and onwards to the eventual anarchic yet bleak ending. It's also one of the few films that Kurt Russell fits like a hand in a glove, given that he can only ever play one character, that being Snake Plisskin/Jack Burton.

It's also a bit special as it marks one of the last hurrahs for animatronics as the main special effects in a Hollywood movie. 'Tron' was released the same year and 'The Last Starfighter' was just around the corner. Soon all directors would be eager to find out what the new fangled digital CGI technology could do for them, but if you ever need reminding of just how good old fashioned fake blood and latex could be, look no further.

My local multiplex is showing a series of classic films and tonight it was a packed house for Mr Carpenter's dark sci-fi masterpiece. The sad thing is that there's probably a script for a CGI infected remake in a Hollywood producers in-tray as we speak. Which will be shite.

Not everything in the eighties was rubbish.


Steve said...

Totally agree. Own this on DVD. It is essential. I watch it even now and am amazed at how little it has dated. Up there with Bladerunner in my opnion.

Löst Jimmy said...

I am green with envy!

I saw this was coming up to some venues unfortunately not near me. I would have loved to see this classic on the big canvass once more. It remains one of my all time favourite films, well of all time!

Talking about the DVD release, I'm not one for those commentaries but the Russell/Carpenter chatter is well worth a listen.