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21 November 2011

The Thing (1982)

I was wondering just now what you might call the male equivalent of a chick flick. How about Blokebuster? Personally, I'd call it 'The Thing'. This film has got everything that any self-respecting bloke might need. There's snow, booze and spider-like aliens. There are also funny hats and fantastic beards. And get this... it's even got helicopters! Woot!

If only John Carpenter could have woven in some roller-skating... What? He did! It just gets better and better...

"Hey! Sweden!" – "They’re Norwegian, Mac."
The Thing, 1982 Universal Pictures

'The Thing' is set at an American Research Station down in the Antarctic. One day the hum-drum lives of the maverick crew are upset when a helicopter appears over the horizon. In a matter of minutes the helicopter is in a ball of flames and one of its passengers is shooting at them with a machine gun. What on Earth can be going on?

It's a slow builder, but after a flying visit to a 'rival' Norwegian research station - the home of the exploded helicopter - it becomes apparent that there is more going on here than meets the eye: The Norwegians have discovered a huge spaceship in the ice... and something bad was on that spaceship.

Little by little, they start to realise that whatever the Norwegians discovered is still alive and has entered their camp shaped as a Husky. They need to root it out and kill it before it kills them!

Kurt Russell stars as the hairy-faced R J MacReady. It's worth mentioning that his beard is truly magnificent in this film! We're talking Grizzly Adams magnificent. It's so magnificent that it's got its own Facebook page. Look here if you don't believe me.

Kurt plays with dynamite and a flame thrower
The Thing, 1982 Universal Pictures

The rest of the cast didn't ring any bells. I think that the only one that I recognised other than Kurt was Wilford Brimley. Funnily enough, he isn't sporting his trademark tash in this flick. Shame really... it would have fitted right in...

Wilford Brimley admires Kurt's latest find
The Thing, 1982 Universal Pictures

'The Thing' is very much a horror with shocks round most corners. I liked the sci-fi twist with the alien and some of the monster special effects are particularly gruesome. In fact I think when it first aired in the States, some of the alien scenes were cut for that very reason.

It's all very ambitious, but Carpenter manages to pull it off. Check out the spider-head scene for an iconic moment. Fantastic stuff!

Oh dear!
The Thing, 1982 Universal Pictures

Whilst I loved the location of the film, the fact that it's filmed in the early 80s is also a big plus for me. The fashion is unmistakable. And have a look at the state of the computers. I think that my ZX81 had better graphics than the kit these guys have got! It adds a whole different dimension to the film. But as retro as the film obviously is, I think that this story is timeless.

If I was a gambling man...
The Thing, 1982 Universal Pictures

Let me round off...

This is a cracking tale of paranoia that keeps you on the edge of your seat right up to the end. I've heard people mention that this isn't John Carpenter's best film. I don't know about that, but it's definitely a classic. You need to search this one out.

A spaceship beneath the ice
The Thing, 1982 Universal Pictures

On the Triple-B I'm going to shut 7 huskies away in the pen... and there better still be 7 there when I come back! Buy this film...

If you like snow then you might also like to watch Dead Snow or Dreamcatcher :-)