Monday, June 27, 2016

Rewatch: The Thing

1982, John Carpenter (Christine) -- Netflix

Speaking of Kurt Russell's facial hair, here he is in an oldie with a full beard.

This movie is on our shelves in DVD format, a best example of a classic, quotable, truly scary horror movie that stands up. Seriously, this movie still creeps me out. But it was on Netflix, so that is how we watched it. But it's from The Shelf. Maybe someday I will do a series of rewatches from Top Left to Bottom right.  Have some bonus posts from the Pulled Aside.

Every rewatch, I am once again reminded it is almost a sequel to the original 30s movie. It is not about the discovery of the alien ship and the frozen creature but about the next camp infested. Which is probably why the remake was more a remake of the original, than this one was.

Anywayz, this movie begins with a husky running from a helicopter armed with a rifle. The dog looks back over his shoulder, eager to get to the American camp in the Antarctic (Marmy reminded me, no this is not the Arctic) and is eerily aware of the danger. When the helicopter lands, the Americans shoot back and the thing goes up in a grand explosion. Not the thing, just the helicopter.

Don't trust the dog !!!

But they trust the dog and into the kennel he goes.

I had an opportunity, as a young man, to take a posting in Alert, the most northerly point in Canada. I didn't take it because I had a new relationship and some university to finish. But I knew I could survive it; with a massive box of BFFs (big fat fantasies) and all my D&D supplies I knew I would be OK. How does Russell's McReady survive? 80s computer chess and booze. Well, until he pours the boozes into the chess computer. I would have also had the fledgling Internet, which was why I was offered the posting. And yes, I suppose I would have booze.

The arrival of the dog and the death of the helicopter crew leads the Americans back to the Norwegian camp, to find it burned out, frozen solid and full of some gruesome finds. Something deadly went on here. And they bring that something back to the camp.

Seriously, WTF. Haven't ANY of them seen a horror movie before? Or a scifi movie? Or read a book? You don't bring back the fucked up body of the something to your own camp and let it thaw out, let alone stick your hands into. Sure sure, autopsies are gross to begin with but that pile of melting flesh is obviously Not Of This World. And thus the thing, yes the thing is released.

The movie does a very good job of having us wonder who the thing has taken control of, right from the beginning. Apparently it can take control of you, from inside, as well as just duplicate you completely. There might be a brief period where you are still you, just feeling a bit off, but sooner or later IT is you and you are no longer. Then it gets icky.

The special effects in this movie are still shocking, gross and make an impact. Sure, you can see the rubbery bits and the sloppy bits, but when you can see that in the CGI of Captain America, you can accepted this from 30 years ago. When the dog explodes, when the head drips off and spider walks away, when the chest opens up and eats the doctor's arms.  Ick.

Eventually the thing has enough run of the camp and enough people have been killed / taken over, that we are man vs man, leading to the ending. The ending that leads many to debate. I think its the perfect ending. McReady has already been established as the not entirely well thought out responsive person --- he just reacts. And he has been reacting all night. He's had enough. Back to the booze, sit and chat and slowly die. Is Childs a thing? Maybe. Is it going to kill him? Maybe. Does it matter? Not at all. Both are going to freeze solid before morning. And the thing will be again locked away.

Until the rescue crew shows up.