Film & Water #189 – The Thing Commentary

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Rob welcomes back author Erin Entrada Kelly to Outpost 31 to present an audio commentary track for John Carpenter's 1982 classic THE THING!

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8 responses to “Film & Water #189 – The Thing Commentary

  1. the most amazing thing about The Thing movie are the practical effects in a time before bad (or good) CGI .. and TBH it all still looks so real n lifelike 20 years on . Lovecraft would have loved this movie imo

    P.s — im going off topic ,…if anyone loves the look of the parasite aliens in the movie .. y’all can check the manga/anime/live action movie of Parasyte (Kiseiju)

    1. … correction, i meant 40years on not 20years on,
      guess it just shows that my subconscious self wishes i was back in the early 2000s lol ( back to my early twenties ..(sigh) current age sadness lol)

  2. I’ve always felt it was Palmer who we saw in shadow and was the first to be infected by The Thing.
    I first saw The Thing on a weekend afternoon on basic cable in the mid 80s. I thought it was pretty cool. Maybe just a year or two later I really started getting into film. I’ve collected several book over the years that year this film apart! I remember thinking, “I’ve seen this movie. It wasn’t bad. What’s the problem?” By the early 90s I had a copy on VHS and once again, wondered why it was so maligned, of course, in the 80s the critics were well known for their hatred of genre films. It took about 15 years, but The Thing started building a cult following, and is now recognized as one of the best sci-fi horror films ever made.
    By the late 80s I was a devoted John Carpenter fan and made a point of seeing all his films. The Thing is my 3rd favorite of his films, after Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape From New York.
    I’m also a huge fan of the original Thing from Another world. I love how it almost feels like MacReady and Doc were visiting the original movie when the make their expedition to the Norwegian outpost. I can see James Arness laying down in that hollowed out ice block.
    There’s a video game made for the original X-Box that’s a sequel to this film where you are able to explore the Norwegian base and find that block of ice as well. It’s quite chilling (no no pun intended)

  3. Great commentary! The Thing was the first true horror film I ever saw. After famously wimping out after the first few minutes of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein at age 4, I was a total weiner about horror films. I hid from commercials, like Magic, but I think that was before A&C. I know I used to run from the TV when An American Werewolf in London was advertised. Fast-forward a few years to 1984 or 85 when I was 9 or 10, and my friends wanted to rent The Thing. They had seen it on HBO and said it was awesome, gory, scary, you name it. I did NOT want to rent or watch this, but I was bascially bullied into it. Peer pressure!

    Talk about ripping a Band-Aid off! This movie melted my brain, much like the bodies of its victims. After sitting through this, I could pretty much watch ANYTHING, and did.

    I actually haven’t watched this movie in a long time. I think my initial, visceral scare reaction is still with me to a point. I enjoy the film, but I’m not comfortable enough with it to make is a frequent viewer. I need to see it again.

    I get what you were saying about Kurt Russell. He’s a movie star. A leading man. He’s a damn good one, but he’s never been “critically acclaimed” really. But he elevates everything he’s in none the less. I automatically like what he’s in, because he’s in it.

    As for older movies that actually scare me, I have to mention The Innocents. That film is genuinely unnerving, and quite literally haunting. It sticks with you for days afterwards.

  4. Great episode. I can never get enough The Thing talk.

    It was great moment as a parent the first time I watched it with my son, particularly because my daughter and wife will never watch it.

    I have mixed feelings about the prequel/sequel. It’s definitely not as good, but in a world where this one never got made, it would be more appreciated.

    I often feel like watching 30 Days of Night after The Thing. I think that’s a pretty good film serving suggestion.

  5. I really enjoyed listening to your commentary on the Thing. Really well done.

    I was new to horror movies when I first saw the Thing via VHS rental in 1988. My friends had just finished renovating a small apartment over their parents garage as their “Movie Night Hangout”. It was small, cold, dark and creepy and I LOVED the movie, but did not want to leave. I had to walk to my car and drive the small, pitch-dark roads of Clifton, VA all the way home.

    Almost 30 years after that fateful first viewing, I was showing the Thing to my teenage son and daughter. My youngest protested, but got put to bed early anyway. I was intently watching their faces as the blood test scene started up. They were totally absorbed in the terrifying high tension moment. I was eager to see the surprise on their faces. BUT…. at “the” moment, my wife who was sitting on the other side of me screamed. Causing the cat to launch off her lap, digging it’s claws into her legs. So she screamed again. Which made the kids scream. All the screaming. Moment ruined or enhanced? You decide.

  6. I love word origin stuff. Arctic does come from bear, but not because of the presence of bears per se, rather it was named after Ursa Major (the Big Bear constellation) which is the North sky. Antarctica only means Opposite of the the Arctic, but the thing with the actual bears makes a nice geographical pun.

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