John Carpenter’s The Thing – Rewind


John Carpenter’s the Thing dates back to 1982, i first watched it over 10 years ago on tv and it stuck in my head then and does now. This was down to its atmosphere sense of paranoia, split loyalties between the cast, some rather good special effects for the time and a very cool Antarctic setting.

We join the story in the Antarctic where an American research station is the home of the films main characters, including John Macready played by Kurt Russell. Their routine is upset by a Norwegian helicopter that flies over their camp chasing a husky dog, the helicopter lands and the Norwegians attempt to shoot the dog and are greeted by Macready and the Americans outside in the snow at their research station. This leads to a stray bullet hitting one of the Americans and as the dogs run away the Norwegians are intent on killing it, throwing a grenade which ends up dropping out of the hand and into the vicinity of the parked Norwegian helicopter which then blows up. The remaining Norwegian is shot dead by name name another of the American crew for fear of their own safety and the dog is taken inside. The story continues with the Americans trying to find out why the Norwegians were intent on killing the dog and why they had seemingly lost their sense, reason and calm.



The Americans who man the Antarctica station in The Thing are a mixed bunch of people who seem bored, annoyed and restless with their situation, well at least until the tedium is broken by the events after the dog chase. All the crew are given some character and as the movie unfolds we see the previous loyalties and minor niggles between the crew becoming more frayed and stressed, your in the action with them compelled to watch. They don’t know who to trust and you wont know who to trust either.

The special effects in The Thing are dated sure, but there still pretty good, and while some things in the movie have dated badly like the computers, some thing haven’t due to the location. Notably the Music score is done by Erico Mocoroni, who has done various classic music scores and this one features prominently even though you may not notice it adding to the atmosphere. Well worth a look if you see it appear on tv or at the dvd store, its a John Carpenter classic, tense exciting and you don’t know who to root for.