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Movie Debate #92: The Thing (1982)


Reed Rothchild
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  1. 1. Rate based on your own personal preferences, NOT HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

    • 10/10 - One of your very favorite movies of all time. Top 10.
    • 9/10 - Killer fucking movie. Everyone should watch it.
    • 8/10 - Great movie. Easy to recommend.
    • 7/10 - Very good movie, but not quite great.
    • 6/10 - Pretty good. You might enjoy the occasional watch, or tune in if you happen to catch it on cable.
    • 5/10 - It's okay, but maybe not something you'll go out of your way to watch.
      0
    • 4/10 - Meh. There's plenty of better alternatives to this.
      0
    • 3/10 - Not very good.
      0
    • 2/10 - Pretty crappy.
      0
    • 1/10 - Horrible in every way.
      0
    • 0/10 - The Citizen Kane of painful experiences. You'd rather shove an icepick in your retinas than watch this.
      0
    • You haven't seen the movie, but you're interested in watching it.
    • You have no interest in watching it.


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  • The title was changed to Movie Debate #92: The Thing (1982)

Man, I'm gonna be flamed for this, but I only watched The Thing once, not that long ago, and it was alright, though it didn't really do much for me. I randomly happened to be discussing this just yesterday, so I'll try to just sum up the essentials.

There were actually a whole bunch of things that I felt were disjointed and inconsistent about the movie, but to be honest I can't remember much of it at this point, so probably take that with a grain of salt.
One thing that really stood out to me though, was how the whole drive of the movie is the central "imposter" premise of not knowing which people among you are "the thing", obviously lifted directly from the original short story.
The big issue that really threw me off, is that that aspect is never really established, every character just suddenly seems to run 100% with it. The only information you have up until then is that "the thing" is like a virus that effects its host organism until that one eventually gets deformed (the dog). So the assumption that the host is secretly hiding the information from the others is just such a weird leftfield assumption that I didn't really pick up on it until way too far into the movie - it comes across more like some character's paranoid idea than a straight up established rule.

So yeah I get that there's supposed to be an ambiguous mystery with a ton of unknown variables that never gets cleared up by the end of the movie, but it really throws me off when the movie just fails to establish what's clearly intended to be the central source of tension in the story.

Maybe I'll rewatch it some time and be able to appreciate it more when I go in knowing more about what to expect, but as it is I can't really give it more than 6/10. Like most other Carpenter movies I've seen, it has a lot of really cool individual ideas and setpieces, but kinda lacks a solid overall structure.

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Events Team · Posted

My favorite horror movie of all time, and one of my personal favorite movies of all time in general. Easy 10 for me, I've probably watched this movie at least half a dozen times and I never get tired of it. Plus it's one of those movies where every time I watch it, I notice a new tiny little detail I never noticed before.

Edited by ZeldaFreak
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24 minutes ago, Sumez said:

The only information you have up until then is that "the thing" is like a virus that effects its host organism until that one eventually gets deformed (the dog.)

What's supposed to be happening is that the thing is in imposter mode until it encounters another victim, in which it transforms into a Lovecraftian horror and infects that victim. Then it and its new victim go back to being imposters and blend in. When the dog scene happened, it was caught in mid-assimilation by Clark and MacReady and was forced to defend itself. It was hinted at by Wilford Brimley's character when they examined the charred dog corpses ("See this? That ain't dog. It's imitation. We got to it before it could finish." "Finish what?" "Imitating these dogs.")

There's an alternate take on that scene in some DVD/Blu-ray extras where they state it more explicitly. Specifically a line where Brimley's Blair says "If it finished, there would be three dogs here instead of this."

Edited by Tulpa
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There's also the later scene where he's watching the computer simulation, followed by his crazed destruction of the communication equipment where he also states "It wants to be us!" Granted, it's not the most explicitly stated of explanations.

Also, the scene where Fuchs and MacReady discuss Blair's research in the cab of the crawler.

Granted, yes, there's no one scene where they lay it all out.

Edited by Tulpa
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28 minutes ago, Gloves said:

All these spoilers for a movie I've never seen. Jeez. 

One sign of an alien is a lack of general cultural knowledge.  Just saying......

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A solid 9 from me.   This film is everything that the 1951 "The Thing"* wasn't and/or couldn't be for various reasons. 

This version was a redo that was much more faithful to the source - which was a 1938 novella (Who Goes There?)  by science fiction author John W. Campbell.  Anyone who likes this movie should take the time and read this - it is pretty amazing how it still stands up today.

*That film is a classic and is good in its own right - but comparing the two is really a case of comparing apples and oranges.

 

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5 hours ago, Sumez said:

Man, I'm gonna be flamed for this, but I only watched The Thing once, not that long ago, and it was alright, though it didn't really do much for me.

*puts Sumez on ignore for life* :classic_laugh:

9. I can’t really add anything more than hasn’t already been said and I don’t want to add to the spoilers for Gloves.

This movie is probably one of my favourites from Carpenter.

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55 minutes ago, DoctorEncore said:

Has anyone watched the prequel? Is it any good?

Main knock on it is that it tries too hard to explain exactly what happened at the Norwegian camp. Things (no pun intended) that were left to your imagination in the 1982 movie were suddenly all laid out. It's not the only prequel that has done that, but I always find that lame. It's like "we're out of ideas, so let's be totally beholden to the classic instead of being our own movie."

The CGI also doesn't fare well if you start comparing it to the groundbreaking practical effects of the 1982 one.

If you can get past that, it's an okay little monster romp.

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4 hours ago, Tulpa said:

Main knock on it is that it tries too hard to explain exactly what happened at the Norwegian camp.

The mystery of the Norwegian camp is already answered because we see it happening again in real time in the US camp in the 82’ film.  So it makes the whole prequel thing kind of redundant.

Also they originally hired an fx team and shot the prequel with practical effects but the studio covered it up with CG.

Edited by fox
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4 hours ago, Tulpa said:

Main knock on it is that it tries too hard to explain exactly what happened at the Norwegian camp. Things (no pun intended) that were left to your imagination in the 1982 movie were suddenly all laid out. It's not the only prequel that has done that, but I always find that lame. It's like "we're out of ideas, so let's be totally beholden to the classic instead of being our own movie."

The CGI also doesn't fare well if you start comparing it to the groundbreaking practical effects of the 1982 one.

If you can get past that, it's an okay little monster romp.

It seems there is a fine line between over-explaining and under-explaining and very few movies walk that tightrope with the finesse required to make it work. I'll still probably check it out someday, but I'm happy to ignore its existence altogether whenever I return to The Thing.

Another relevant question for this message board: Has anyone played the game?

Also, I kind of like Starship Troopers 2 which is basically a poor man's Thing. If it wasn't a sequel to an amazing, all-out action sci-fi movie, it would have fared a lot better.

Edited by DoctorEncore
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12 hours ago, Gloves said:

All these spoilers for a movie I've never seen. Jeez. 

I mean most of what has been said you could pick up on in the trailer.  The movie is very ambiguous and open to speculation.  Part of what makes rewatching and dissecting it so fun.

The special effects alone make it worth watching.  Highly recommended.

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