‘I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is…’
Ahh Kurt Russell. He’s not so much a man as the embodiment of ’80s cinema. The muscles. The outrageous haircuts. The one liners. He is everything that made that decade so thrillingly unique.
And John Carpenter. Surely one of the greatest horror directors ever, responsible for not only Halloween but The Thing, Escape From New York and Big Trouble in Little China. The latter three all star Kurt Russell in a cinematic partnership that is up there with Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson in terms of its effectiveness.
I love Kurt Russell. I love John Carpenter. I love ridiculous haircuts. I especially love horror movies. So, why in the hell have I never seen The Thing before? As with many of my terrible life decisions, the origin of this one is murky and best ignored. I set about repairing this breach with my list of cinematic new year’s resolutions and now the day has finally arrived when I watched The Thing.
A research team in Antarctica is ambushed by a shape shifting alien and it’s probably all the fault of those goddamn Swedes or Norwegians or whatever the hell they are. Luckily, Kurt Russell, flanked by his best haircut yet, some beautiful dogs and a cast of stock ’80s action movie sidekicks, is here to save the day.
The astonishing thing about well… The Thing, is just how well it has aged. The special effects don’t just hold up, they are still chillingly effective, drawing from Alien, HP Lovecraft and an abattoir to produce something visually unforgettable.
The Thing is not just about visuals though, the claustrophobic atmosphere is ominously overbearing throughout, recalling that paranoid classic Day of the Dead and the tension is racketed up to an almost unbearable fever pitch in the run up to the many incredible action sequences.
It is mental that I have never seen The Thing until now but it is clear that it has influenced everything from Resident Evil to the work of Guillermo Del Toro. If you are a stupid imbecile like me, who had never seen The Thing, treat yourself this Halloween. It’s as good a horror/sci-fi crossover as you will ever find.