Saturday, October 31, 2015
The Thing (1982) ***1/2
John Carpenter's The Thing is cold, unsettling, extremely gory, and unabashedly nihilistic. One can see Carpenter honing the techniques he developed in Halloween: empty rooms, long silences, Kubrickian tracking shots - an atmosphere suggesting the evil is everywhere and nowhere. An all male (adding to the sense of doom) research post in the Arctic gets infected with an alien entity able to imitate its victims. Watching The Thing I was struck at how much it resembled Ridley Scott's Alien: the claustrophobia, the paranoia, the assault on the body, and even the use of computers as agents of doom (the terror of a computer basically saying you are screwed). Kurt Russell's stoic performance is as chilly as the Arctic itself. Pay attention to Ennio Morricone's subtle score - only there if you notice it. You really feel like the world's ending after watching The Thing. So much fire and ice, fire and ice, fire and ice. Not a fun trip, effective cinema nevertheless.