John Carpenter’s The Thing is certainly one of the best sci-fi horror/thrillers out there and just might rank behind Alien and Aliens, though I still prefer those two. Where this succeeds, much like those two, is the claustrophobic atmosphere with the added subtext of paranoia.
— Collector’s Edition —
Genre(s): Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Shout Factory | R – 109 min. – $34.93 | October 11, 2016
Date Published: 09/15/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 4.5/5
John Carpenter’s The Thing, the cult classic of 1982, is a great claustrophobic horror-thriller film that has similar feel to Ridley Scott’s Alien, a confined space with a freaky alien, the one here far more chilling with its ability to morph itself into human appearance, and now going on 30+ years, the film still works so well today and might just work its way as a Halloween staple, alongside, well, Halloween.
It’s a simple story centered on a group of scientists in the remote and cold Antarctic when an apparently madman in a helicopter attempts to shoot down a dog. He’s eventually stopped, the chopper crashes and this man’s behavior is chocked up to something akin to cabin fever. Well, as it turns out, this pooch was infected with some sort of alien life form, an alien unearthed by a Norwegian research team some miles away and now the members at this site are in serious danger. Leading the way to find out what’s going on is R.J. MacReady (KURT RUSSELL) and soon paranoia and suspicion becomes rampant in this confined space.
I hadn’t seen The Thing in many years but seeing it again after so much time and I loved just about every bit of it. Kurt Russell delivers yet another great performance for John Carpenter and the supporting cast all do good work, heck it reminds me that Wilford Brimley was indeed once young (well, younger). Not sure how this ranks with Carpenter’s others, though Halloween in all regards tops this one (acting, story and music with only atmosphere going to Thing), but its well worth a watch and certainly one that goes well as part of a Halloween viewing bloc.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside there is a reversible inner cover revealing the original poster artwork.
Also included: Theatrical Trailers (3:27), German Trailer (1:47) and Teaser Trailer (1:22), TV Spots (1:35), Radio Spots (2:27) and Still Galleries.
The Men of Outpost 31 (51:14; HD) with actors Keith David, Wilford Brimley, David Clennon, Joel Polis, Thomas G. Waites, Richard Masur, and Peter Malone
Assembling and Assimilation (11:09; HD) with Editor Todd Ramsay
Behind the Chameleon (25:26; HD) features Peter Kuran (VFX Supervisor), Susan Turner (Miniatures Supervisor), Brian Wade (Special Make-up Effects) amongst others going through the more technical aspects
Sounds from the Cold (14:53; HD) covers the sound design with Alan Howarth (Special Sound Effects), etc.
Between the Lines (15:58; HD) features author Alan Dean Foster
Back Into the Cold (11:16; HD) is a slide show that revisits the filming locations.
Outtakes (5:19; HD)
Vintage Featurettes (13:20; HD) from the 1980s and done as adverts than provide any meaningful info but cool to see some archival interviews with John Carpenter, Kurt Russell and others.
Vintage Production Reel (19:38; SD) is more promotional material from the ‘80s.
Vintage Behind the Scenes Footage (2:02; SD) is a compilation of on-location footage.
Annotated Production Archive (54:12; SD) is more compiled bits and pieces like production notes and BTS stills.
More From The Thing:
John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape (1:24:03; SD) is an extensive, if not older, archival featurette with interviews by Carpenter, Russell and others (including Stan Winston). In conjunction with the commentaries, this really gives you everything you wanted to know about the movie.
The Making of a Chilling Tale (5:14; SD) is another promotional featurette from the 1980s.
The Making of The Thing (9:20; SD) is another older promotional featurette.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Shout Factory, through their Scream line, releases The Thing onto Blu-ray presented, in its original 2.35 aspect ratio, with a new transfer from a 2K scan of the interpositive. Having not compared it with my HD-DVD or Blu-ray copies, this one looks pretty dang good; colors appear well balanced and vibrant without looking overblown and detail is relatively sharp throughout. I didn’t notice any major instances of dust marks, scratches or other film damage so it would seem the studio did a nice job.|
AUDIO – 4.0/5
|The disc comes with no less than three choices: DTS-HD Master Audio 4.1 (default), 5.1 and 2.0 and honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them, though I honestly couldn’t discern that much difference between the first two. Still, dialogue levels sound pretty good and any audio effects come through well enough however it’s Ennio Morricone’s score (via way of John Carpenter as he took inspiration from Halloween) shows some nice depth.
Note: I did receive the replacement disc which corrected an audio issue with the 4.1 track.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, John Carpenter’s The Thing is certainly one of the best sci-fi horror/thrillers out there and just might rank behind Alien and Aliens, though I still prefer those two. Where this succeeds, much like those two, is the claustrophobic atmosphere with the added subtext of paranoia. The performances aren’t anything spectacular but no surprise that Kurt Russell stands out. This “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray offers good video and audio transfers but the bonus material is fantastic, albeit I would’ve liked some new interview footage with Russell.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.