#17: The Thing 1982 Dir. John Carpenter
Imagine being stuck at a base, in the arctic, for the entire winter. Now imagine that you're with a small group of people who share the base. These are co-workers and friends. These are people you've known for a while, and in such close quarters, you know them well. Now imagine that one of them might be an creature from another planet. A creature whose sole function is to assimilate new life forms. Your isolated base in the arctic now becomes more isolated. It becomes a prison. The frosted walls of this building might be the last thing you see. This is the premise for John Carpenter's long under-appreciated, horror masterpiece, The Thing. This film is a remake of the 1951 Howard Hawkes film The Thing from Another World which itself was an adaption of the novella by John W. Campbell, "Who Goes There?". The Thing is all about the inhabitants at an arctic base whose ranks get infiltrated by a creature, not of this earth. As the film goes on, the men begin to realize that one or more of them might not be who they say they are. Filled with cosmic imagery and hints of the Lovecraftian, this film is cold, dark and suspenseful. But it pays off all of its suspense with some of the best creature effects ever seen. The ensemble cast is powerful and features such great character actors as Wilford Brimley, Don Moffat, Keith David and Snake Plissken himself, Kurt Russell. Considered to be the first part in Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy, The Thing was derided when it came out for it's nihilism, it also didn't help that it premiered the same year as E.T. Bummer. If you're looking for a film that is steeped in tense paranoia and horrifying creatures, look no further than John Carpenter's The Thing.
Note: I adore this film and have spoken about it on WTF Are You Watching Podcast 2 Part John Carpenter Spectacular with hosts Lincoln Hayes and Kyle Anderson as well as fellow guest and The Thing expert Paul Heath, as well as its beautiful stop motion homage in an entry of Cinematic Music Videos. So if you didn't get enough Thing, there are definitely other avenues. Seriously just watch this movie.