on 6 March 2013
One of John Carpenters best movies, underrated on its initial release (summer of 82) is considered to be one of the finest and scariest horror movies of all time, with top notch directing, acting, an eerie synth score and wild special effects that put to shame today's bland CGI, this is a cult classic( a modern update of the 1950s film " The thing from another world") that shouldn't be missed.
On the minus side of this version I have to say is the cover art, for those that collect these steel-book cases I assume "outside looks" also plays a part too in buying these "limited" editions. The cover art here is just..bad. In the movie there is no green blue eyed "thing" as is so proudly shown to us on the cover art..plus its sort of a giveaway for those who haven't seen the film. Better stick with the original cover art next time..
John Carpenter's remake of the Thing From Another world was a significant box-office underachiever when it was released in 1982 but found a new lease of life on home video and has proved a perennial ever since, going from panned-and-scanned video to letterboxed laserdisc special edition to DVD and now Blu-ray secure in the knowledge that its fans would upgrade to each new format. There's nothing new here that wasn't on the exhaustive laser disc special edition or the DVD, and the improvement in picture quality from DVD, though noticeable, isn't huge, but the region-free European release is a considerable improvement over Universal's US release. Where that only offered the feature-length 84-minute making of documentary Terror Takes Shape as a picture-in-picture feature, the European disc allows you to watch it separately in fullframe as it was meant to be seen. It's also got nearly all the extras from the previous special editions - out-takes, stills, storyboard, production design and conceptual art galleries and original theatrical trailer - with only the extensive production notes failing to make the transition. Added to that, it's still a terrific bit of sci-fi horror even if it is a shame that its success has overshadowed Howard Hawks' terrific original version.
I have been a huge fan of this film since I first saw it in the eighties.
And as much as I enjoyed the VHS I used to own with all its imperfections, scratches and grain this is the way to see the film.
I have been a fan on most of John Carpenters films, and throw in Kurt Russell and I reckon I'm in for a good film. This film delivers by the bucket load, the effects still stand up pretty well and the excellent cast deliver some equally excelent performances.
As mentioned above I enjoyed the film when I saw it on a well worn rented VHS, I then enjoyed it more on the new VHS I later bought and then loved it on DVD. And to be honest I thought that was as good as it gets, how wrong was I!
The Blu-ray disc delivers unsurpassed quality with detail showing up that was just not visible on DVD, ok I'll admit that in a few of the helicopter shots you can see a bit of grain/imperfection but those times are minimal.
The detail seen in shots such as when MacCready is in the dark holding a flare is superb.
I would even go as far as to say that this copy makes the film look bang up to date and its hard to believe its been around so long.
I would recommend that any fan of this film rush out to buy a Blu-ray player so they can eperience the best ever version!
And any sci-fi fans or even horror fans who have never seen this film then give it a go, I think you'll like it.
"You'll never, ever, see anything like The Thing again."
-John Carpenter, 1997.
He's absolutely right. No one would have the nerve to make a film as disgusting as this in the current "let's not offend anybody at all, ever" climate. Without a single frame of CGI, the Thing shoves our faces right into Rob Bottin's gruesome make-up effects and proves that genuine, tangible prosthetics and monsters are a million times scarier than a cheap, obvious effect done on a computer in post-production.
I don't understand why people keep referring to this as a remake. It's far, far removed from Howard Hawks' version. Even Carpenter himself, a Hawks admirer, says that The Thing is it's own movie, and much closer to the original novella 'Who Goes There' by John W. Campbell Jnr.
Set in the lonely Antarctic, The Thing takes the form of a wolf and bounds across the snowscapes to a US research station, pursued by frantic, half-mad Norwegians. Unable to communicate with the English-speaking American team they end up dead before being to warn them that the cuddly dog is actually a hideous shape-shifting monster. The team eventually discover the wreck of an alien spaceship that has been entombed in the ice for at least 100, 000 years before the monster begins to wreak havoc at the research station, intent on consuming all of the humans and making it to civilization where it can take over the entire planet.
Fear and paranoia grow among the team as they desperately try to prove who is biologically human and who has been assimilated by The Thing. It's utterly horrific stuff, but it's not without its illogical moments and massive plot holes. The universal adoration of The Thing seems to forget that it doesn't make complete sense. Carpenter admits he lost track of who is and who isn't, which seems kinda lazy. Ambiguity can be a cheap way of maintaining uncertainty and Carpenter should have delivered a more focused and precise plot. Plus the paranoia was way overdone. By the halfway mark I reckon the fear among the men should have been merely implicit rather than verbally delivered at every opportunity.
It's rather strange, and fitting, that this movie also comes across as a big-screen adaptation of HP Lovecraft's 'At the Mountains of Madness', which also features research scientists in Antarctica discovering an ancient shape-shifting lifeform and losing their sanity.
Despite the problems, this is Carpenter's direction at its best, with long, slow, tracking cameras in gorgeous anamorphic Panavision, evocative lighting, and lonely minimalism. Even Ennio Morricone's score is very much restrained. The cast have their defining features mostly hidden beneath thick facial hair, but Kurt Russell once again proves why he is Carpenter's favorite lead, and the awesome Keith David provides plenty of badassness just with his mere presence.
The Blu Ray is in lovely 2.40:1 1080p with DTS HD-MA sound. Plenty of extras, and that weird U-Control 'thing' are also included.
on 22 November 2011
Im fairly new to blu ray, but the thing being one of my favourite horror movies i just had to get it.
Seen it countless times on tv, vhs, and dvd, but nothing could have prepared me for this. The quality of the transfer has to be the best i have seen in blu ray so far. both sound and visual get top marks.
If you can remember Alistair McLeans "Ice Station Zebra" then "The Thing" will really grip you with some stunning special effects and a superb atmosphere throughout the entire movie.
A group of scientists who have travelled to this remote ice station to carry out research discover a massive Flying Saucer imbedded in the ice, but unknown to them its occupant is hiding in a dark corner at their ice station base waiting to inhabit a human body and digest it from the inside out.
It is the suspense of not knowing what will happen next that makes this a trully great film.
The Alien creature has made its home inside the living body of one of the research scientists, and who do not know which one, until it breaks free in an incredibly graphic nature, hence the spectacular special effects associated with this Kurt Russell movie.
Possibly due to its slow pace it may not appeal to everyones taste, but when the alien form makes its apearence you soon realise this is a superb film with some simply stunning special effects.
Each member of the team soon realise that THE THING may be lurking in any one of their team and the not knowing who gives it a 5 star rating.
The scene that really steals the show has a canine flavour to it, and to tell you what happens will spoil the entire film.
If you enjoyed Alien then this film will certainly make the grade, but if a slow paced gripping drama is not for you then look elsewhere, but for gripping drama with incredible special effects this film is amongst the best out there.
Based on the 1930's short story "Who Goes There" by John W Campbell Jr (as was the 1950's film The Thing From Outer Space), "The Thing" is a masterpiece of horror movie-making.
The film has it all - action, suspense, paranoia and a great story-line. Carpenter's direction has never been better before or since and I think that is because the materials he had to work with were so inspired to start with.
Kurt Russell is comfortabe with his role as McCready and Wilford Brimley is excellent as Blair. In fact, the entire cast give strong performances as the men of the arctic base suddenly don't know who to trust. And that is what the story is essentially about - trust and not being able to rely upon appearances.
The film's sense of claustrophobic paranoia is excellent, and the story will keep you guessing right up to the end (and beyond).
If youhaven't seen "The Thing", I highly recommend you buy this DVD version of a classic horror tale.
on 2 November 2011
The Film: A masterpiece of claustrophobic science fiction directed by John Carpenter at the height of his powers.
The BluRay: I missed The Thing at the cinema. I saw it on TV, and I've owned it on VHS and DVD. The DVD transfer was no more than adequate. This BluRay transfer is a revelation. I never thought I would see The Thing look and sound so good. It's superior to the DVD in every imaginable way. The print appears to be flawless. Detail, contrast, color balance and black levels are all superb. You can see details of the sets - and of Rob Bottin's creature designs - that on previous releases were lost in shadow. Sound effects and the Morricone score are all clearer than ever before.
For a 30 year old film, some BluRays are not an appreciable improvement on a DVD release. This is. It looks absolutely fantastic. If you're thinking of upgrading from the DVD, do not hesitate.
on 5 September 2007
I first saw Carpenter's version as a 13 year-old at secondary school
on a rained off playtime lunch break with about 30 other teenagers about
20 years ago,i crapped myself.I couldnt watch beyond the point where
Bennings is caught changing into the 'Thing'.
I made some excuse and left the hall. Over the years
(still mentally scarred) i managed to watch 10 minutes here and 10 minutes
there until i finally managed to sit through the whole film.I have since become
the 'Thing's' greatest fan (and Carpenter fan - Halloween,Prince of Darkness, the Fog and
the Mouth of Madness (my favs) and watch it about once a year around Halloween time.
It has a great ensemble cast with no hollywood big chinned stars apart from Kurt Russell,
whom Carpenter made several films with around this time.
The atmosphere in this film is what makes it superior to other horror/
gore films of the 80's. Its a study of mistrust and paranoia,
reflecting the then times (Russia,AIDS) with some great shock moments and
splendid SFX from make-up prodigy Rob Bottin. So impressive and thought provoking was
the story, that i decided to seek out the classic 1951 Howard Hawks B/W version.
I was suprised, although pleased, to see differences and similarities
between both versions. Both have a feeling of the 'End of the world is nigh'
(as in 'Night of the Living Dead'),both have the 'trapped in the
house with...' feeling of dread (as in 'Alien').
The B/W version does however slightly disapoint with its 'THING',a rather
Frankenstein's monster type of creation and not the shape changing alien
of the remake but still that's a very small gripe.
Both are rated 5 stars in my opinion, the 50's version for it's
influence on all other 50's paranoid, cold war horror flicks(i.e.Body snatchers,
The day the earth stood still)and Carpenter's 80's stomach churning cult classic.
I have since read the original source material, John W. Campbell's 'Who goes there?',
a short story that Carpenter followed more closely than Howard Hawks did.
So whether you believe 'Man is the warmest place to hide'
or we should 'Keep watching the skies',turn the lights down
and enjoy the 'Things'. eddy, london
on 23 June 2007
This 25 year old film in my opinion, blows ANY modern sci-fi/horror film right out of the water.
The special effects first; Mind-boggling even by todays standards, are NOT over used. They are used to tell the story, & never show the story up. Nor are they just a showcase for the incredible ROB BOTTIN'S work, just so he can progress his own career. His life's love went into this film! These creations are real?? tangible, physical objects that occupy a real space on set that the actors can react to and act with! NOT some ping-pong ball on a stick, with the beastie STUCK on months later in a computer suite.
The acting here is rock solid too, with characters you actually give a damn about. Even though there are no women in this movie (A bold and refreshing change) this film is well balanced. Unlike say; CLIFFHANGER with Stallone (A film I love by-the-way). Which is SO unbalanced with ALL the male characters given alpha male roles, no contrast! But in THE THING, the writing is superb as each person having a legitimate place in the movie, & not just a punchbag for the lead actor.
THE THING is also a superb mystery/thriller, with the monster hiding inside other people, you feel like YOU can't trust anybody. Together with JOHN CARPENTER'S masterful direction puts you the viewer, right into the movie. HITCHCOCK did this superbly, making you actually feel uncomfortable. I think CARPENTER nods towards HITCHCOCK more than once here!
The extras on the disc are 1st rate too.
Retrospective interviews with Carpenter, Russel and the totally exuberant Rob Bottin, physical effects man extraordinaire! (He did the monsters)
A rare treat also, an interview with Albert Whitlock visual effects master. Who has worked on films for 50 years with much of his work being invisible, because we had no idea we were looking at a special effects shot and not the real location!!!
Which all goes to make up the most intelligent, solid sci-fi/ horror/thrillers out there.