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The Thing (1982)  rating

Review: written Aug 2009

80’s Style Suspense Horror

The Thing (1982)

It's been so long since I last saw this movie, I was not so sure what I expected, given it’s an effects movie over a quarter of a century old. High definition transfers can really pick holes in an aging movie. Surprise, surprise though, it's a great transfer, and the movie is still suspenseful and effectively ratches up the tension. The in camera effects have not dated as much as earlier cgi effects or optical effects have, and any lack of effectiveness is purely down to different audience expectation rather than problems with the movie. .. though those early scenes of Russell tapping away on a huge chess playing machine and the doctor's computer program investigating the prognoses for the team (which he times on his pocket watch!) all do date the movie more than the effects do. Dark scenes with lighting by flares or torches shows up clearly, and the wide external shots of snowbound British Columbia (filling in for Antarctica) look fantastic.

The movie itself is a great example of festering paranoia, as the research team are infiltrated by a `thing' which can take the shape or form of anything it comes in contact with (via some extraordinary squelchy and messy intermediate phases of course). No-one knows who is real and who is not, as exemplified by the still classic blood test scene, one of Carpenter's best. Even the ending is one that leaves question marks the likes of which few modern `safe' movies would try. It's as if Carpenter is more in tune with the uncertainty and paranoia of 70's America, and is unwilling to embrace the burgeoning confidence and success of the 80's.

It's not for the squeamish, and is of its time, but is a classic of its genre and a treat to see on Blu-ray

The Thing (1982)-01

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