Jessie’s Saturday Night Fright Flick: John Carpenter’s THE THING

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Movie junkie Jessie Robbins picks a fright flick for a Saturday night.

It’s Saturday, and for some of us that means getting together with our friends and going out and having sexy drunken social lives. But for a select, elite, few, Saturday really means getting together with our equally depraved friends and watching films of a bloody, strange, phantasmagorical and sometimes supernatural, nature.

Of course,when gathered together, It can be difficult for a group of diverse people to decide what movie to watch so I’ve decided to make that decision a little easier for you, and essentially tell you what film to watch on every Saturday from here on in.

So celebrate your weekend like the cool kids at SHOCK do and welcome to my space, home of Jessie’s Saturday Night Fright Flick!

Today where I am, in the snow-shining wildernesses of Ontario, Canada, the forecast is a horrid juxtaposition of dismally dark skies and blindingly white snow. To combat the winter blues sometimes I turn to one of the best winter themed sci-fi horror films of all time. This week we are going to watch the 1982 John Carpenter classic THE THING.

A loose remake of the 1951 film THE THING (FROM ANOTHER WORLD), directed by Christian Nyby and produced by Howard Hawks, itself based on the short story “Who Goes There?” written by John W. Campbell Jr., THE THING (which is cloer to Campbell’s story than Nyby’s movie) introduces us to a scientific research base in the Antarctic who’s members slowly learn that cabin fever is not the worst thing to fear in the cold, dark landscape.

Carpenter co-hort Kurt Russell (ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA) stars in this sci-fi thriller, battling a possibly alien “thing” that can assimilate anything and everything it comes into contact with. Adding to the researchers’ growing sense of isolation in their bunker is an element of fear and distrust in their fellow man as it becomes more difficult to discern which of these men have been overtaken by “the thing”.

The score, surprisingly not one of Carpenter’s own (though Carpenter’s style is all over it) , is an ominous and beautiful work by Italian film music legend Ennio Morricone (THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, THE EXORCIST II). The gripping soundtrack is haunting and, fitting the wintry backdrop, effectively sends shivers up your spine.

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THE THING provides the perfect ammo for any argument pitting practical and CG effects against one another. Not only are the effects near-flawless in their execution, but in one scene in particular (the blood test) I actually screamed, out loud, in front of all of my friends, like an amateur horror fan, of which I am not. Rob Bottin, creator of the special makeup effects for this film was only 22 at the time of release and had already broke the rules at age 20 with Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING and that just makes me look back to where I was at 22 and wonder what the heck I’ve done with my life.

Uncredited by choice was the late, great Stan Winston who, when Bottin fell ill with exhaustion, took over the scene involving the dogs.

All these things, including surprisingly convincing animal acting by a half wolf/half husky named Jed, suspense to rival Hitchcock, and finally the sexiest hat I have ever seen on a man in my life (available for purchase here for “$335-$760”) makes THE THING not only an essential film, but a great film for those of you freezing to death on the Eastern seaboard to watch this time of year.

 

So cuddle up by the fire with your sweetie, turn off all the lights, turn the sound way up (trust us) and lose yourself to a film whose tagline reads, “Man is the warmest place to hide,” and feel slightly conflicted and confused and perhaps, intrigued about what that might mean to you. *wink*

Find more Jessie Robbins by going here.

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Weekend: Sep. 19, 2019, Sep. 22, 2019

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