Horror-meister John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York) teams Kurt Russell’s outstanding performance with incredible visuals to build this chilling version of the classic The Thing. In the winter of 1982, a twelve-man research team at a remote Antarctic research station discovers an alien buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Once unfrozen, the form-changing alien wreaks havoc, creates terror and becomes one of them.
- U-Control: Picture in Picture
- Feature Commentary with Kurt Russell and Director John Carpenter
Howard Hawks’s original 1951 production of The Thing from Another World can be glimpsed playing on a TV that fateful October evening in John Carpenter’s blockbuster hit, Halloween (1978). A few years later, Carpenter reteamed with his Escape from New York star Kurt Russell to do a remake. But while the first movie version of The Thing was in atmospheric black and white, Carpenter’s 1982 version is in widescreen, full color, and features some of the most revoltingly explicit, surreally imaginative special effects (courtesy of FX-meister Rob Bottin) that have ever been seen on the screen. Researchers in the remote Antarctic dig up the remains of a spacecraft that has long been frozen in the ice. But the alien life unthaws and infects the living (not only humans but sled dogs too), living and gestating inside them. (This horrific concept was also explored in the two versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the Alien movies.) This Thing is chilling in every sense of the word, with plenty of terrifying, adrenaline-pumping moments that build it to a powerful and shockingly nihilistic conclusion. It’s a harsh and uncompromising movie (hewing more closely to the original 1930s story “Who Goes There?”)–so much so that it probably never would have been given a green-light by any studio in the more cautious and doggedly upbeat 1990s. –Jim Emerson