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I have a tradition — every year, on Halloween Night, I watch this film. It is easily my favourite horror movie, and with good reason. It was made incredibly well, and with genuine passion from its creators.
The plot is standard horror fare, but with a twist. Rather than a bunch of idiotic teenagers stuck in a cabin in the woods, its a group of very intelligent scientists stuck in Mysterious Antarctica. They're shown to be good at their jobs, but are unable to contact anyone for help (which possibly ended up saving the world in the end).
Each of the characters is likable, or at least sympathetic. Windows, Mac Ready, and Childs can be jerks sometimes, but never so much that you fail to care about what happens to them. Others, such as Fuchs, Copper, and Clark, are genuinely Nice Guys whom you want to see survive. Even at their worst, you understand why the characters are acting the way they do (the monster is just that dangerous, and the situation is growing more dire by the hour). I've seen far too many horror films dominated by stupid teenagers who only know how to get laid, and whom I couldn't care about in the slightest.
The Thing itself is a fascinating monster. Instead of being Dumb Muscle so common in the genre today, it's very intelligent, if not outright sapient, and can remain Hidden in Plain Sight. This makes it all the more threatening.
Finally, the special effects and music are top-notch. Ennio Morricone's score is both an Ear Worm and Awesome Music, being simple but effective. Stan Winston's puppetry and models are second-to-none. This was a big budget film back in the day — it cost $15 million USD in 1982. It's not hard to see why.
There are very, VERY few things I have to complain about. The only truly stupid moment is that one where Windows stares at The Thing as it prepares to kill him instead of using his flame thrower on it, or even just running away.note EDIT: It's occurred to me that, perhaps — just perhaps — he isn't being idiotic, but has in fact crossed the Despair Event Horizon and is choosing to end his life sooner rather than later. Brrr.... There's also the fact that it's bright and sunny in the first week of an Antarctic winter — which, when you think about it, is a huge blow to a horror movie. Other than that, it's pretty much perfect.
If you can stomach one of the scariest movies of all time, you need to watch this film. It's not just good, or even just great — it's superb. They don't make horror movies like this anymore.
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