The freezing cold of the Antarctic tried do it, a team of twelve hardened researchers tried do it and even Kurt Russell’s huge hat and 'great big bushy beard' tried do it, but did they succeed? In the movie the actual thing was unstoppable but at the box office it only took a few tears over another alien, who was less likely to turn your head into a spider, to bring it to its assimilated knees. The audiences of the time just didn't like the fact that The Things alien wouldn't follow you to eat a few M&M's it was more likely be the M&M and eat you.
But just like the cells of the badly burned and mangled remains of the creature, this movie wasn't dead yet. As the years went by it became a beloved cult classic and has spawned (pardon the intentional pun) a prequel, a computer/console game, a comic series and I personally think one of the best movie commentaries of all time.
The characters MacReady and Dr Cooper fly to the Norwegians Camp to see if they can help any remaining survivors. But all they find is a warning in the form of mutilated corpses, video footage of a previous expedition and a large block of ice thats been excavated from somewhere outside the camp, that had previously had some'thing' inside it thats not there anymore.
They arrive back with specimens to examine that they hope may win someone the Nobel Prize but in reality they only lead to friendships being tested, trust mutating into a dirty word and everyone looking suspiciously at what they hope is a man next to him.
The all male team comprises of MacReady (Kurt Russell), Blair (Wilfford Brimley), Garry (Donald Moffat), Clarke (Richard Masur), Childs (Keith David), Palmer (David Clennon), Norris (Charles Hallahan) Copper (Richard Dysart), Nauls (T.K. Carter), Bennings (Peter Maloney), Fuchs (Joel Polis) and Windows (Thomas G. Waites). I apologies as lists are not the most entertaining of reads but each one of these actors deserve a shout-out because of the powerhouse performances they have brought to this movie as you feel the warmth of the groups comradery slowly freeze to death as if it was left outside the camp walls.
Based more on the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr. rather than an out and out remake of the 1951 movie The Thing From Another World, it was filmed in the frozen sound stages of Los Angeles where actors had to sometimes place a small bag of dry ice in their mouths to help recreate the breath vapour while simultaneously trying not to get burnt while waving flares around and also in Northern British Columbia, where the research camp was built months in advance so the snow would cover it naturally. The production crew even mirrored the testosterone overloaded cast by having the only female member of the production go home due to maternity leave.
Blasted on its original release with comments like 'A barf-bag movie' and 'A wretched excess' the viewer is put through some very tough hitting scenes that originally did not sit well with the unsuspecting audience of the time but by todays standards they could be called tame. I personally feel the special creature effects by Rob Bottin and the late Stan Winston stand up against the best CGI creations of today and truly are breathtaking and gruesome in equal measure, the only thing that lets the side down is the stop motion scenes but luckily these are used very sparingly.
This movie has some of the best gory moments of any horror movie with a superb cast and a haunting soundtrack. So turn the lights down low, make sure the flamethrower is close to hand and charge the defibrillator because when the tensions rising and the temperature is plummeting man truly is the warmest place to hide.