#13 – The Thing 1982
Maybe we’re at war with Norway?”
The Thing opens with a shot of some UFO (Undentified Falling Object) from outer space entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Next, we find ourselves in Antarctica following an Alaskan malamute that is being chased and shot at from above by a helicopter. The helicopter chases the dog to an American research outpost where Kurt Russell is getting his ass kicked by a chess playing computer. The chopper lands, the gunman disembarks and starts yelling in Norwegian at the Americans. The pilot of the chopper gets out, pulls the pin on a grenade and then fails miserably at throwing it in the correct direction. He blows himself and the chopper up. The gunmen again tries to shoot the dog, misses, and is then shot and killed by return fire from the Americans. They take the dog in, which is of course a big mistake. Since it isn’t actually a dog. It’s a parasitic extraterrestrial organism that can assimilate other lifeforms and then mimic them.
Soon we don’t know who is still human and who isn’t. Cue the paranoia. Particularly from Wilford Brimley. After doing some science and math, he concludes that the possibility that one of his team members has been exposed is 75% and that the entire world population will become infected within 27,000 hours of first contact if the organism is allowed to reach civilization. Brimley can not let that happen. What would become of Quaker Oats?
Like An American Werewolf in London, that was released a year earlier, The Thing also has very impressive make up and special effects. It was however originally received with mixed reviews. One of the reasons for that seems to be because it was also released during the same year as E.T., which depicted a slightly cuddlier version of alien contact. The film has since become more appreciated with time, earning spots on many of best of sci-fi, horror, and other movie lists.
The Thing also inspired some badass action figures. Or should have.