Friday, 3 May 2013

The Thing [1982]

White, ironically, has been deftly used by filmmakers time and again as a motif for stark horror, bizarre developments, and violence, in reversal of the general connotations of peace and purity generally associated with the colour. John Carpenter’s sci-fi horror film The Thing, adapted from the same novella that was made into the film The Thing from Another World three decades back, was a fine exercise in grotesque extra-terrestrial terror reminiscent of the Ridley Scott classic, Alien. It begins in a startling fashion with a couple of men randomly shooting at a dog and a group of American scientists stationed in the Antarctic. As it turns out, an alien creature, that has the grotesque ability to engulf other organisms and take their shapes, has been let loose, thus making it nearly impossible to differentiate normal humans from those affected. Thus begins a highly suspenseful ride for the group of people – not just because no one can now identify friends from foes, but also because they are in a cold, isolated and hostile terrain completely cut-off from the rest of the civilization. MacReady, a gung-ho chopper pilot, ends up becoming the leader of the fast shrinking pack of men even though, before long, others start doubting him as well. The suspense and terror associated with idea of a spontaneously morphing organism, nicely rendered by the CGI artists, was accentuated through a combination of good pacing, austere visuals, minimalist score by Morricone, and a sense of fear and helplessness. Even though the mannerisms of some of the actors appeared tad too in-your-face, the sense of doom and moodiness made this a highly engaging film.

Director: John Carpenter
Genre: Horror/Sci-Fi
Language: English
Country: US


Sam Juliano said...

Atmosphere and building tension are wed here superbly, and at the end of the day this remains one of Carpenter's best film.

Excellent piece here!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. I particularly liked the way Carpenter juxtaposed grotesque horror, menace, helplessness & claustrophobia with the pristine white backdrop.