John Carpenter's "The Thing"

Of late, I have recently been on a kick to rectify some of my "card carrying geek" resume omissions. Things like, oh, the movie Conan the Barbarian (which I coincidentally watched the week after the Governator's affair became news - so good timing on my part), or reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, which I'll follow up with reading Saga of Old City by Gary Gygax.

There's too many things to really fill out your geek resume completely, but hey, at least I'm trying to hit some of the bigger ones. One movie I had neglected for a long time was John Carpenter's "The Thing." I liked Carpenter's other work (Starman, anyone?), love Kurt Russell (Tombstone, anyone?) and shit, the two of them together? Solid gold! (BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, EVERYONE!!!)

So, The Thing had to be awesome, right? Well... yeah, it kind of is. It doesn't hold up well in comparison to today's sci-fi thrillers or creepy crawly flicks. But, for it's time, it was a pretty cool use of technology, puppetry, and movie monster magic.

Of course, it's a Carpenter movie, so there's some cheese, some quite liberally spread around (the Norris head running around after Norris gets fragged always gets me in stitches). And I am still a little unclear as to who all is an alien, and when... even after the blood test, I think with the ending of the flick, you could make a case for both the incomparable Keith David (love that guy!!) and Kurt Russell are aliens. Are both aren't... or one is, but which one? MacCready (Russell) is suspect at points in the movie. Childs (David) disappeared before the final act, before strangely returning at the end.

What is a good movie review supposed to say? You should watch the film -- especially if you like science fiction, horror, alien movies, tension, and cheesey '80's movie magic. Oh, and you definitely need to watch it if you like John Carpenter and/or Kurt Russell. It's actually a pretty gripping movie - you get sucked in pretty quick, with the suspense/confusion building from the first scene and carrying the movie through to the end.

Be prepared for some creepy and gross effects -- if gore is not your thing, well, avoid this one. Most of the cheesey gloss is drippy, bloody, and tentacly. Yes, tentacly. But not in an anime/hentai kind of way, thank Zeus.

On my official Geek Must Die Movie Scale (that I just now made up), I give it a rating of 3.5 out of 5 Heads of Tiamat. Check it out!

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