I bought a wonderful version of John Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing for my mum for Christmas this year. It came in a gift box, exclusive to HMV, that looks like a VHS when you pull it out the sleeve. I completely fooled her. She’s a lover of the good old VHS casettes and she said “Thank goodness I’ve still got my VHR.” Then she realised that it wasn’t a real VHS but 2 DVDs, one blu ray and one Ultra HD DVD (to future proof the ‘VHS’ even further). I’m terribly saddened that HMV has gone into administration again, I’ll go and buy a load more VHS gifts from the Staines store before it closes because these gifts are diamonds.
Anyway, onto the film. It was our Christmas day film. We put it on once my dad had gone to bed, we’d completed our puzzle and settled down on the sofa for our evening chill; full of food and port. I’ve never seen The Thing so I was keen to watch it and David and my mum were excited to see it again and share it with me.
The film is based in an Antarctic research station, which hosts Kurt Russell’s character and his crew of scientists. It starts off with a helicoptor trying to shoot a husky running through the snow, which I must admit which upset me slightly, (I’m glad they missed!) before I started to realise there was something a bit weird with the dog. Without giving away all the details, but it’s hard not to, it’s a film about aliens and the fight for survival when the aliens try to take over using humans (and any creature they can find!) to disguse themselves. It reveals an unnerving way that aliens could potentially trick people into thinking they weren’t there when they were really taking over the world!
It’s quite a gory film and I do love a bit of gore. However, I do not recommend it when effectively in a food coma and feeling slightly nausious already after too much Christmas food & drinks. For his time, The Thing‘s director, John Carpenter, was incredibly inventive in his use of special effects and filming techniques to get superb effects. They get some fantastic shots of aliens attacking living beings and getting inside people and copious amounts of blood, guts and gore without using the usual boring CGI that we see all the time now. I’d recommend the film on these grounds, it’s a wonderful specimine of fine film making.
Another thing (lol), apart from the special effects, that makes this film scary/thrilling is that it’s set in the Antarctic, so far far away from the rest of the world that there is literally no hope for rescue or survival. This group of men, who don’t normally work together, need to work together, putting their egos aside, to figure out who could be disgused as an alien and who isn’t, in an attemp to save the world and stop the aliens from reaching civilisation.
It is very clear throughout, to us and the characters, what their fate is, yet they never give up, try to put their emotions aside, work together (eventually!) and is a real test of their strength and humanity. It was a hugely enjoyable film.
As mentioned above, this was a special addition DVD set from HMV (hugely recommend this collectors addition, but go and buy it asap!). It is also available if you have a free trial or subscription of Studio Universal Classics (via Amazon Prime) otherwise you can rent it for £3.49. It’s available currently for free included in Sky Cinema or if you have Now TV.
All my love & films