John CarpenterUSA109 minutes1982ColourEnglish
Kurt Russell swills J.B. and grills E.T.s in John Carpenter's spectacularly icky remake of Howard Hawks' 1950s sci-fi classic.
As opposed to Star Trek's aspiring towards interspecies harmony, John Carpenter's big-budget remake of Howard Hawks' 1950s classic urges us to watch out for the unfriendly skies: the human-alien encounters in this film are purely, irreconcilably violent (and slimy). After a bizarre run-in with a fleeing husky and a helicopter full of manic, trigger-happy Norwegians, the crew of an American research station in the snowy wastes of Antarctica realizes that they have been invaded by a deadly alien parasite which can ingest and perfectly imitate any biological organism. Led by boozy chopper pilot MacReady (Kurt Russell, in sombrero and windswept hair), the men desperately try to determine which — or how many — of them are "the thing" before they are all taken over. Released in the summer of E.T. to resoundingly poor box office and critical reception, Carpenter's Thing has since been reclaimed as a modern masterpiece of sci-fi, both for Rob Bottin's astonishing (and astonishingly repulsive) special effects and Carpenter's brilliantly atmospheric direction.