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The Thing  

USA 1982 Directed by John Carpenter. Starring: Kurt Russell, Keith David.

The place is a snow-covered Antarctic. A chopper is flying around and search for something. Suddenly are they get sight of a dog, that they immediately start shooting after. The dog runs for dear life and find refuge in an American science institute station. The Americans catch the noise and runs out to see what´s going on. The chopper lands at the science station, and out runs an old buffer and begins to hunt the dog. He has explosive in his hand and is so ardent when he throws it, that he drops it behind himself instead so the chopper blows up. The dog runs to the Americans to seek protection. The old buffer shouts something in Norwegian that they doesn´t understand, and begins then to shoot wildly after the dog. One American gets hit in the leg by a bullet. The Yankees get hard pressed and feels forced to shoot the Norwegian in the eye.


This is the beginning of John Carpenter´s remake of "The Thing". What the polar explorers not know, is that the Siberian husky dog is a creature from outer space which has taken a dogs shape. The creature can transform itself to an exact copy of the lifeform it kills. It does so when it is alone with someone, and soon are the polar explorers doesn´t know any longer who´s friend or enemy.

"The Thing" was a dead failure when it was released at the cinemas in 82´, but has later on been a gigantic cult film on video. The reason for that it didn´t went home at the pictures, was that it was released at the same time as "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial". Whereas "E.T." was warm and gentle and was about an extraterrestial being who wished everyone well, was "The Thing" the direct contrary. Most criticism got the dabbling special effects, which was considered to be immoral. John Carpenter oneself think that "The Thing" is the best he´s done. See for that reason his powerlessness, when no one in Hollywood were willing to touch him even with a barge-pole after the movies release. Carpenter went without work for a couple of years. Luckily has "The Thing" been revaluated, and Rob Bottin´s effects are now considered to be among the most sensational that ever been beheld.

"The Thing" is Carpenter´s darkest film. There is no room for any laughs or any romance (all roles are played by men). The whole film is permeated with a dreary and dejected atmosphere, that only becomes worse and worse when the polar explorers realize that they probably are finished. The monotonous score goes a long way to that impression, and for once isn´t it Carpenter who´s made it, but Ennio Morricone. But it sounds like Carpenter.

Kent Palmgren

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