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THE THING (1982)

During their adventures in the Antarctic wasteland, a group of American scientists espy some presumed Norwegians pursuing a dog.  But when the helicopter escorting the Norwegians crashes the Americans are left to ponder the mystery surrounding the dog without any additional
information.  Meanwhile, the Americans have taken the dog into their camp… big mistake. Overnight the dog seems to mutate, attacking the other dogs in the shared cage.  As the scientists begin to investigate the mysterious happenings they soon realize they are dealing with an
alien life form that possesses the ability to take over other life forms, using their shell as a sort of host.  But with the “dog” on the loose, there’s no telling who may be infected and who, or how one can stop it before it spells death for all.

The powerhouse cast includes: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat, T.K. Carter, and David Clennon.

Director John Carpenter's "The Thing" is a powerful, if gooey, earthmen versus alien spectacular.

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A Sci-Fi/Action Classic


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The basic story deals with an Antarctic research team's attempt to cope with an alien invasion. Since the alien can make itself resemble anything, and anyone, paranoia reigns supreme.

"The Thing" has been unfairly put down, in some circles, for its gooey, gross special effects, favoring the 1951 version instead. While the 1951 version creates much suspense, when you finally do get to see the alien clearly, late in the movie, James Arness' Frankenstein monster-type alien is disappointing. In addition, the original story BOTH films are based on, "Who Goes There?", by Sci-Fi legend John W. Campbell Jr., had a gooey, repulsive, shape shifter in it, but the monster was cleaned up for the 50s.

Kurt Russell is well cast as a long haired, bearded, hard drinking helicopter pilot. In some ways its Snake Pliskin ("Escape from New York" and "Escape from LA"), with two good eyes and a less raspy voice, and that's part of the fun.

The "gooey" special effects are by FX wizard Roy Arbogast and makeup wizard Rob Bottin. While some might feature the alien transformation and attack scenes as gross, might not a true alien seem repulsive to us, and isn't this perhaps the choice.

My favorite scene takers place early on. We see a helicopter flying low over the snowy terrain. A snow wolf runs ahead of it, with someone on the helicopter shooting at the dog. It's a strange, mood setting sequence, letting us know were in for a strange adventure ahead. The atmospheric photography was by Dean Cundey.

There is something fascinating by taking a group of people, then cutting them off from society, on an island, or a spaceship, or at an arctic research station. A mini-society comes into being, with everyone being tested by the extreme conditions. And if there's an alien among you, who might be your buddy, or boss, or even you, you're in for one entertainingly titchy, paranoid entertainment.

If you enjoyed THE THING (1982), you may like STARGATE, ALIENS, PREDATOR, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, and the original 1950's Black & White classic... THE THING.