| John Carpenter is unafraid when it comes to
remaking Hollywood horror classics. The Thing is an excellent rewrite of the spare
and stark black and white horror/scifi film made in 1951. The new look is quite excellent,
taking the best elements of the original and successfully adding layers of
characterization for a fuller experience.
The setting is a bleak Arctic observation station. A madman arrives at the camp attacking members of a research team for no apparent reason and is killed. An investigation reveals the man had been working at another bleak ice covered site where a huge crater was discovered in the ice. The ramifications of the visit continue to build as one by one the scientists at the station are attacked and killed. What or who is the killer becomes the shifting focus of the group. Suspicion shifts with each new incident. Finally, all eyes turn on MacReady, the tough-minded helicopter pilot. The operative factor here is dont turn your back on anyone.
Carpenter assembled an
excellent team to make The Thing. Dean Cundeys blue-tone photography creates
a chilling atmosphere and his camera movement adds to the chills. The Ennio Morricone
score compliments the stalking images to perfection. And the creature effects, while they
may have borrowed heavily from an Alien inspiration, are slimy and add the right
amount of disgust. Bill Lancasters (yes, Burts son) adaptation from the short
story is outstanding. And Carpenter is at his best directing The Thing. The pacing
is perfect, the cuts magnify and maintain suspense. The actors stay within their