The Thing

Weekly Alibi

DIRECTED BY: John Carpenter

REVIEWED: 06-06-97

Part two of Scott 'n' Emily's Thanksgiving Cold 'n' Claustrophobia Double-Feature! I spun the laserdisc up for this one, and after giving Emily a quick lesson in "Letterbox vs. Pan and Scan" (not as filthy as it might seem), we settled in for some slimy thrills. Look, this is director John Carpenter's best movie, but Emily sez I gotta preface that bold statement with "I daresay," so consider it done. But I'll still fight anybody who says otherwise. The Thing tanked big-time thanks to the earlier appearance of that little turd from space, ET--nobody wanted their aliens nasty for a while there, remember? At any rate, the movie is beautifully constructed, from the first shot of the alien spacecraft skipping across the earth's atmosphere to the downbeat (and deliberately vague) ending. Carpenter builds the tension quietly, then goes nuts with the first scene of the shape-shifting alien in action. From that point on, the movie is a rollercoaster ride of paranoia and effluence. The sight of oatmeal-master Wilford Brimley being pensive threw us off (though I was far more disturbed by his role as the Cajun grampa in Hard Target), but we managed to get our wits about us once again and enjoy the flick. If you wanna see outstanding makeup effects, a dog acting and hear yet another haunting Ennio Morricone score, for Pete's sake, rent this movie. (MCA Universal Home Video).

--Scott Phillips

Capsule Reviews
The Thing

Other Films by John Carpenter
Escape From L.A.
In the Mouth of Madness
Prince of Darkness
They Live
Village of the Damned

Film Vault Suggested Links
Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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