UTG’s 31 Days Of Halloween: ‘The Thing’

The thing feature

Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no single day is more loved by the UTG staff than Halloween. With the arrival of the year’s best month, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a plethora of features and special announcements we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day, including the one you’re about to read.

Now in its third year, 31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring feature that will run throughout the month of October. The hope and goal of this column is to supply every UTG reader with a daily horror (or Halloween-themed) movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your All Hallows’ Eve festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you’ll follow along at home.

[Warning: the material within is likely NSFW]

the thing body

Day 20: The Thing (1982)

When it comes to horror films, I think there are really two categories: horror films that are for horror fans, and horror films that transcend fans of the genre. More often than not, horror filmmakers create films for the people who like them, and as such, have very little appeal outside the niche community of freaks and weirdos. However, every once and a while, a filmmaker will make a horror film that transcends the genre, and is an absolute necessary watch for every fan of the cinema. The greatest example that I personally know of this is John Carpenter’s masterpiece, The Thing.

The Thing is one of my favorite films of all time. Note that I do not qualify that last statement with horror films, but rather, my entire film-watching career. There is a lot that Carpenter does right in The Thing, to the point where I could write an entire dissertation on the film. So instead, I’m going to focus in on a few elements. First of all, let’s set the stage. For those of you who aren’t aware, The Thing tells the story of a scientist (the beautifully-bearded Kurt Russell) and his crew who find something at their research base in Antarctica. What they seem to unearth isn’t anything nice however, but rather a shape-shifting parasite that is hellbent on making a home inside of the crew’s warm, fleshy, human bodies. The film deals mainly with paranoia, and is a perfect metaphor for the Cold War that was still underway when the film was released. When watching horror films, I’m not incredibly picky about the storyline, however, when one really shines, it makes the film that much more enjoyable. The Thing‘s replay value is insane, and I find myself noticing different nuances with each and every viewing.

I want to show you disgusting shots from the film so bad but I don't want to ruin it. So here's the tight title graphic.

I want to show you disgusting shots from the film so bad but I don’t want to ruin it. So here’s the tight title graphic.

However, the element of The Thing that makes it truly special is the special effects work. Without the aid of computer-generated imagery, The Thing creates absolutely breathtaking monsters, deaths, and gore-fests, that filmmakers today still can’t replicate. Frankly, some of the scenes in this film are absolutely disgusting, which is all due in part to the masterful work of the special effects team. Because of the kind of person that I am, I wish I could go into more detail about the different set pieces and goring the film contains, but your viewing experience is much better off if you just watch the movie. Simply, The Thing‘s special effects work is second to none, and as the slaughter continues to unravel, the deaths get more intricate, and the gore gets gorier. As a young filmmaker, The Thing is a film that I hold in really high regard, as Carpenter uses the kills not just for sadism’s sake, but rather to elevate the tension onscreen, so that the quiet moments are that much more unnerving.

The Thing will always hold a really special place in my heart. It’s one of the first horror films I remember watching, and along with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it will always remain a film I go back to when I’m trying to find inspiration for my own work. I never was a huge fan of horror films growing up, but I can say that The Thing made me reevaluate what horror films could be. John Carpenter will always be one of the masters of the genre, and while more casual horror fans will remember him as the guy who made Halloween, I will always remember him as the man who drew me in with The Thing, kept me firmly in my seat, and finally made me understand what made the horror genre truly special.

Editorial Written By: Tyler Osborne
Last year’s Day 20 film: The Conjuring

Tyler Osborne

Live in DC, grew up in PA. I specialize in writing, filming and taking pictures about punk, pop-punk, and hardcore music, and I also have a huge background in film as well. When not on the site, i'm running my own internet radio show, ToZ's Edge Radio (www.facebook.com/tozedgeradio). I also love stage diving and goldfish.
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