The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982) — So the second film in my Halloween Movie Marathon [last week] was one of my all-time favorites: John Carpenter’s The Thing.  I love movies about paranoia and from the 1950s to late 1980s there were a lot of good ones (gee, I wonder why).  There are just so many things this movie does right.  First off it’s set in Antarctica so there’s no help coming no matter how bad things get.  Seconds it’s set in a very tight space.  You almost get a bit claustrophobic just watching it.  I love that this is about a shape-shifter but not the clean liquid metal shape-shifting that those of us in the post-T2 generation have grown up with.  This is flesh reshaping itself from one form to another often taking some grotesque intermediate form that has eyeballs in shoulders or bizarre flower-like growths of tongues and teeth.  It’s freaky shit.  Fortunately, Carpenter’s favorite badass, Kurt Russell, is there to kick some shape shifter ass but even such a man as Kurt might not be able to handle it.  The ending to this movie… is pretty dark, man.  It’s ambiguous but even the happiest possible interpretation isn’t really an upper.  I saw this movie for the first time about 20 years after it came out and have watched it at least once or twice a year since.  If you haven’t seen it (and don’t scare easy at freaky-looking things as described above), check it out.

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