|The 2008 Blu-Ray edition. Source|
The basic gist: scientists at a research station in Antarctica are plagued by an alien monster that unfortunate Norwegian scientists (on a separate base further away) unleashed from the ice. What's scary about The Thing is that it can assume the identity of its victim, so you can't exactly tell it apart from humans or that cute Alaskan malamute that showed up at the base one day....
Let's talk about the creature that is The Thing. I know in my last post, reflecting on H.R. Giger's creature designs, that the Alien monsters leave me wondering, "What the hell was that thing?" John Carpenter's The Thing leaves me wondering, "WTF?" This is not a bad WTF. It's just that, like Alien, I've never seen a sci-fi horror monster like this before.
The creatures of Alien were disturbing because they were dark, absolutely inhuman and unrecognizable, weirdly sexual, bio-mechanical looking things. The Thing could be considered unrecognizable since it's an amalgamation of creatures it has tried to copy...but in The Thing I can at least recognize which part is the dog, which part is the human, which are the spider-like legs, and which is the leftover spaghetti noodle dinner (ha!). What you can't recognize is The Thing itself, because it's hidden behind all of those other things. That's pretty scary.
The Thing. Dir. John Carpenter. Perf. Kurt Russell, Keith David. Universal Pictures, 1982. DVD.