(1982, Dir. by John Carpenter.)
Why It's Here:
Well, The Thing has won about every award FMWL has ever had, so the list certainly wouldn't be complete without it. Why it's ONLY number nine on the list is a much more difficult conversation for me to have with y'all. John Carpenter's film has long been a favorite of mind and I can't find a single friggin' technical flaw with the thing. I think that maybe sometimes it feels too sterile and not as human as some other horror films...but I've also argued at times that that's the point.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
From the first "bum-bum" of the Ennio Morricone musical score, the tension in The Thing is pretty darn high. But I can't deny that the film hits the lightning round of suspense right around the time the men perform their test to see who is "one of them." It's got manly debate, gooey special effects, people tied to a (expletive deleted) couch, and a flame thrower. What more can a scene offer?
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
The Thing is a remake of a very good movie, The Thing From Another World. 1978's Invasion of the Body Snatchers is also a remake and also a tale of shape-seizing invaders, and it's also a pretty effective chiller. I prefer the 1955 version of the story, but it's a better double feature with the 1951 The Thing. Heck, just watch all four of 'em and thank me later. (And then cap it off with Abel Ferrara's 1993 Body Snatchers for dessert.)
What It Means To Me:
John Carpenter has long been my second favorite director in the history of the world (Alfred Hitchcock can not be challenged, unfortunately), and The Thing has always been among his most profound works to me. I often find myself preferring some of his more lighthearted films, but when pure craftsmanship is the topic then this one just has to be part of the conversation. It's universally loved for a reason, and it's a true must see for anyone interested in horror. The only problem is...so are the next 8 movies I'll list.