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The Thing

USA 1982
produced by
David Foster, Lawrence Turman, Wilbur Stark (executive) for Turman-Foster Company, Universal
directed by John Carpenter
starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis, Thomas G. Waites, Norbert Weisser, Larry Franco, Nate Irwin, William Zeman, Adrienne Barbeau (voice)
screenplay by Bill Lancaster, based on the story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell jr, special makeup effects by Rob Bottin

review by
Mike Haberfelner

The almost boring calm at an US research station in Antarctica is disturbed when a man (Norbert Weisser) from the neighbouring Norwegian station comes charging onto the grounds chasing after a dog with the express intention to shoot it, and when members of the US crew step in out of curiosity more than anything else, he shoots at them to and has to be killed in self defense. The team's pilot MacReady (Kurt Russell) and its doctor Copper (Richard Dysart) then fly over to the Norwegian station to find out what drove one of theirs quite that mad - but only find death and destruction there.

Back at the American station, the dog the Norwegian had been chasing has turned into some tentacled thing that attacks and kills the other dogs and later also the station's crew, but can be destroyed via flamethrower. One of the scientists of the station, Blair (Wilford Brimley), then does an autopsy on the remains and find out the "thing" (in lack of a better name) that attacked them was an alien organism that attacks and dissolves other lifeforms to then take on their shape and form to perfectly pose as whatever was for dinner. And the thing has a high reproduction rate, so it could take over the earth in a few years if let loose on humankind. Blair pretty much loses his mind over this and goes completely bonkers, killing all sleigh dogs, and sabotaging all vehicles and helicopters beyond repair - so there's no way to get off the station. He's restrained though and locked up in a shack, but the problems only start there, as the others soon find out some of the thing (or maybe another thing) has survived and it's probably one of them. What makes this even more distressing is that an arctic hurricane is about to hit, forcing all men on the station into the main building, all suspecting one another, and the thing pretty much lying in the waiting, its attacks coming mostly unawares. Sure, it's eventually found out the thing can be killed by fire, but that knowledge is only minor consolation with the situation becoming more and more desparate ...


Back in the day, The Thing was mainly criticized as an Alien rip-off - and despite it being based on a story predating that movie by decades and its earlier adaptation The Thing from Another World, one can't but notice similarities, and The Thing might not even have been greenlit without the success of Alien - but the term rip-off denies the film it's own genuine qualities, as it's basically a movie without heroes, just a bunch of paranoid and claustrophobic guys trying to get it together, and director John Carpenter does a great job bringing their despair across while neither forgetting to create tension, atmosphere and suspense in all the right places and treating the audience to some gruesome bits whenever the time is right. And Carptenter's uncompromising B-movie style really fits this movie well.

While panned upon release, this has since become a genre classic - and deservedly so.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD