The more I rewatch John Carpenter’s The Thing the more I love the film. It’s a brilliant horror film. A group of men isolated in the Antarctic find themselves being attacked by a mysterious alien creature that can make itself look like anyone of them. The film is terrifying.
Carpenter’s film is a remake of the 1951 film The Thing from Another World and both films are based on the short novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr.
Members of a Norwegian research are chasing a dog across the snow in a helicopter trying to kill it. The dog runs to the America research base and the Norwegians are killed attempting to kill the dog. Dr. Copper (Richard Dysart) wants to fly over to the Norwegian base to see what has happened to the rest of the researchers. Pilot R. J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) aka Mac flies Copper there. Once there they find the place has burned to the ground and everyone is dead. Among the remains they find a strange corpse and a tape recorder.
They return the base and try and figure out what the Norwegians found. The corpse is not human but it was trying to look human before it was killed and burned. Meanwhile the dog has been wandering around the base free and is finally locked up with the other dogs. Once in the pen the dog reveals itself to be an alien creature and quickly tries to assimilate and become the other dogs. The dogs barking bring everyone to the pen to see the creature in mid transformation. They burn it alive.
After another autopsy Blair (Wilford Brimley) informs the group that they are dealing with an alien life form that is trying to take over and become everyone like a shape shifting virus. Soon members of the group are revealed to be the thing.
Carpenter crafted a perfect horror movie. It’s intense, scary and you are not sure who is human and who isn’t. Ennio Morricone score is perfect and Rob Bottin’s creature effects are still amazing today. I love this movie, I’ve talked about it a couple of times already, here and here. And here’s the original 1951 The Thing from Another World.