January 17th, 2011: The Thing (1982)

Cast and Crew: John W. Campbell, Jr. (original story); Rob Bottin and Stan Winston (special effects); Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T. K. Carter, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Richard Masur

What It’s About: It is the beginning of winter at Outpost #31, a remote American research station in Antarctica.  Just before a storm rolls in, effectively cutting the base off from the outside world, a group of Norwegians arrive shooting at one of their own sled dogs.  In their attempts to kill the dog, two manage to blow themselves up and the last is killed by the base’s CO, Garry (Donald Moffat).  Soon the residents of the station will be in a fight for their lives-and the lives of every living thing on Earth.

Why Watch it Today?: Today is the anniversary of Cold Sunday, a meteorological event in 1982.  Cold air swept down from Canada into the United States, resulting in record lows all across the country (including 52 degrees Fahrenheit below zero near Tower, Montana).  The Thing wonderfully evokes the harsh environment on Antarctica, and is suitably bleak for  the time of year.  It is one of John Carpenter’s best films, the rare remake that betters the original, and one of the best sci-fi horror films of all time.  Wonderfully creative creature effects, a great soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, beautiful cinematography by Dean Cundey, and a cast of character actors playing a group of men wracked by tension and paranoia in a situation far beyond what anyone could expect them to cope with.

Where to Get It: Your local library, Netflix (rental only), iTunes, Amazon

The Trailer:

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