Kurt Russell stars as an Antarctic scientist trying to discover the identity of a mysterious alien that slaughtered a neighboring research team. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’ve never seen John Carpenter’s The Thing, and you call yourself a horror fan, you are in for the biggest pants-shitting session of your life. This movie does two things extraordinarily well. It transports me and it terrifies me. Before anything scary even happens, Carpenter already succeeds in creating an atmosphere of mystery and suspense that locks me into the movie and chills me to the bone.
The story unfolds brilliantly, begging your participation. Your mind starts trying to fill in the gaps from the first frames: Why is that helicopter chasing that dog? And then, what killed all those scientists? What did they find in the ice? At the height of the mystery, with the Thing’s identity still in question, the characters are no longer sure who to trust. They begin suspecting each other. The horror, which had already been pushing in on them from the outside, is suddenly among them. That’s when things get really good.
Don’t let me give the impression that The Thing is all psychological horror. Far from it. Makeup effects genius Rob Bottin (RoboCop, Legend) conjures some of the most horrific special effects you’ll ever see — I’m talking about stuff that would give Francis Bacon and H.R. Giger nightmares. And when I say The Thing transports me, I should also say that it’s a one-way trip. It’s a dire film that offers no glimmer of hope, where the happy ending is that you get to die. It’s serious shit, and one of the best horror films ever made.
Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)