The Thing (1982)

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Flack
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The Thing (1982)

Post by Flack » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:44 am

I gave ICJ a heart attack and made Pinback relapse by mentioning to them that I had never seen John Carpenter's classic film The Thing. Pinback insisted that I right this wrong as soon as possible, and not watch a 320x200 rip in a small window like ICJ apparently did. Two GB later, I had a 1080p rip queued up and ready to go. With a glass of calorie-free Crystal Light to my left and a bowl of hot air popcorn devoid of butter, salt or taste to my right (God this diet sucks), I nestled into my favorite movie chair and pressed play.

---

It's rare that I fall in love with a movie so quickly, but this one begins with a guy firing a rifle at a dog while flying overhead in a helicopter. As a dog owner for 48 hours now, I saw nothing wrong with this scene and found myself rooting for the Swe-- Norwegians. The only reason I haven't shot my dog from a helicopter with a high powered rifle is because I don't have access to a helicopter.

In The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino included incredibly wide and beautiful shots of the unsettled landscape as his film's setting before compressing us into a one room pressure cooker. Carpenter uses a similar tactic in The Thing. As two members of a South American research team (MacReady and Dr. Copper) use the camp's helicopter to check on the neighboring Norwegian team, we see white, forever. This is one of the most claustrophobic films I've ever seen, set in the largest setting imaginable. "Water, water, everywhere," so to speak. When the horror arrives, the team members are forced to face it because escaping the base means freezing to death. Then again, as we soon learn, there are many fates worse than freezing to death.

Through a series of coincidences and bad decisions, the American scientists accidentally expose themselves to an alien life form that has the ability to perfectly mimic other life forms. The alien arrives disguised on four legs but quickly morphs into two as it begins assimilating members of the twelve-man crew from the inside out.

In Carpenter's style of horror, "why" is rarely explained, nor is it particularly important. Why does Michael Myers have supernatural powers? Why does he want to kill people? Uh... he's evil. Boom, go. Similarly, what is the Thing's motivation? Is it to spread itself, to survive, or simply escape? Does it have to turn into whatever it eats? What would happen if it ate a fruit salad? None of those things are explained and none of them are important. All you need to know is, right now, the Thing isn't just coming, it's already here -- and it could be anybody. Or anybodies.

The Thing's biggest competition are the humans, who become so paranoid that they begin to turn on each other faster than the Thing can get to them. The movie turns into a lethal game of hide and seek, where the losers get eaten and occasionally turned into weird things like giant spider monster things.

Eventually the (remaining) researchers come to the conclusion that the battle is futile. The enemy is impossible to see, and has existed for tens of thousands of years frozen in the ice. By damaging the camp's generator (which will quickly plunge the temperature to a hundred below), the Thing reveals that its version of "wait it out" is vastly different than the researchers'. Like Blade Runner (which was released on the exact same day), the film's ending is ambiguous. Do any of the researchers survive? Does the Thing? Does it matter? Sometimes, death is the easy way out.

Wargames showed us that sometimes, the only winning move is not to play. The Thing teaches us the same lesson with a game people are forced to play.

5/5 stars.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Post by pinback » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:58 am

Yaaaay!

Where does it RANK on your Sci-Fi list?! (Excluding Star ____, as previously discussed.)
Above all else... We shall go on... And continue!

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:14 pm

5/5 stars. Aces!

It's my favorite movie. Part of me wonders if this is the case because I desperately would like a week alone now and then.

I am going to put it in again right now.
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Post by RealNC » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:29 am

It was one of the worst movies of 1982. Everybody thought it sucked.

It's a great movie. It's just that everybody are idiots.

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Post by RetroRomper » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:40 am

Ya, which sadly includes Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China. Four cult classics that apparently were just way too ahead of their time.

Then we got Escape from LA and Ghosts of Mars.
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Post by Billy Mays » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:49 am

Every movie with both Carpenter and Russell is genius, and any criticisms of any of them is solely at the fault of the individual not being able to recognize this.

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Post by pinback » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:20 am

RetroRomper wrote:Ya, which sadly includes Escape from New York
Terrible.
Big Trouble in Little China
Probably terrible.
Above all else... We shall go on... And continue!

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Post by Jizaboz » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:45 pm

RetroRomper wrote:Ya, which sadly includes Escape from New York
Sadley? SADLEY?!

Image

How could looking at that possibly make you "sad"?

Also, Big Trouble in Little China? That movie is a riot, man!

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Post by Jizaboz » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:47 pm

Btw RR I'm not directing that at you!

Also, The Thing is one of the greatest movies!

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Post by AArdvark » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:42 pm

Can we play The Thing again? That was fun.




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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:53 pm

I don't know, good question, though. Retro, can we try playing BBS: The Thing again?
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Post by RetroRomper » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:37 am

Now that I'm on the right meds, sure!
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Re: The Thing (1982)

Post by Flack » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:57 pm

I found a used copy of The Thing on Blu-ray this week for $3 and immediately grabbed it. This movie looks so, so good in true HD. As a bonus, the Blu-ray comes with a feature length commentary track by John Carpenter and Kurt Russel. I watched the movie twice this weekend -- once last night with the commentary track on, and another time this morning without it. Fantastic movie. 5/5 stars, still.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Re: The Thing (1982)

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:38 pm

I think it needs to be stated that RetroRomper asked me to upgrade the BBS software for three years and has made two posts after I did so.

Aardvark: we do not have enough forum denizens to play BBS The Thing, unfortunately.
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Re: The Thing (1982)

Post by AArdvark » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:43 pm

Howabout: The Thing Lite?

Six people and we elect Tdarcos as dungeonmaster.

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Re: The Thing (1982)

Post by AArdvark » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:53 pm


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Re: The Thing (1982)

Post by Flack » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:05 am

Outpost 31, the largest Thing fansite, is planning a trip to the real Outpost 31 (or at least where it stood) for the film's 40th anniversary in 2022. Register now and you can join the group, camp on the site where Outpost 31 stood, and visit the movie's filming locations. Sounds fun and cold.

https://www.outpost31.com/2022
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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