The Thing

The Thing ★★★★★

I dunno what the hell's in there, but it's weird and pissed off, whatever it is.
-Clark

In 1982 The Thing got mixed reviews and bombed at the box office opening the same weekend as Blade Runner while going up against the still phenomenally strong E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial that had opened two weeks prior. Makes me wonder if there's any films I'm missing out on today because of similar circumstances that I'll regard as a masterpiece years from now as well.

The combination of state of the art gory special effects with quality film-making in acting, directing, writing and cinematography have never been melded together like this before or since. Maybe that confused critics in 82, because films like this aren't supposed to be well made. It might also be the fact there is practically no humor or happy moments in this film.

A film this gory or violent usually has some comedy in it to lighten the mood, but this film plays it serious to the bitter end and it works because of it's high quality. Too often horror films try to be serious and they can't pull it off because there isn't enough talent behind and in front of the camera. The Thing doesn't have that problem.

While the film is perfectly paced, it doesn't have much time to waste on character development. The film is smart enough to bypass this by going for well placed characterization instead. Everyone in the film is either giving a great performance as a well written character, or the character was written to their strengths as an actor. Which ever one it is, it works to perfection in solving the lack of time for development. As a viewer you're dropped into this group of men that have clearly been living in this compound for months, and not a bunch of actors that only met a few weeks prior.

It's a claustrophobic paranoid masterpiece, not of horror, but of film. The fact you witness some of the most disturbing images involving various body parts, some you can't even identify, to ever be committed to celluloid shouldn't mean the film itself is held in lesser regard. It's not a great film for a horror, it's a great film period.

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Horroctober II: Bride of DuLac

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