Classic Horror: The Thing (1982)

While on an expedition in Antarctica a group of scientists realise that within their midst lies an otherworldly being who is killing members of the team one by one and taking their form afterwards.

I love The Thing. I love it because it is so rare to see a film that manages to mix both atmospheric and visual scares. Usually in a horror film you either do one or the other, or you try to do both but they undermine each other. In the thing the atmosphere never really lets up but you also see parts of the creature really close up. Here the mastery of plastic effects is so phenomenal that the contortions the creature makes as it changes form are genuinely gasp worthy. It has aged impeccably well not least because it feels kind of timeless. Yes the technology is kind of eighties but you never really think that it’s a film particularly set in any time it could conceivably be a modern movie just with a nuts and bolts expedition.

I also love the general aesthetic to this film, the kind of bleak whiteness that surrounds the base managing to create this claustrophobic aura despite being dully out in the open. This is never more prominent than the scenes that take place at night, with these huge tall walls of blackness set against the perfect white of the ground is not only gorgeous but ominous as well.

There is a reason The Thing is regarded as John Carpenter’s best film (by me anyway): it’s an absolute masterpiece. A film that I almost want to watch about 12 times in a row so I could watch each individual character closely just to look at all of the details in their performances. To see if you can tell when one character changes from human to not. I love this film, and if you haven’t seen it you really should.


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