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October 11, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #9 - The Thing

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise  Number 39 - Dog Soldiers Number 38 - Pontypool  Number 37 - Dark Water  Number 36 - Army of Darkness Number 35 - The Legend of Hell House  Number 34 - Poltergeist  Number 33 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes  Number 32 - The Phantom of the Opera  Number 31 - The House of the Devil   Number 30 - Evil Dead II  Number 29 - Dead of Night  Number 28 - Carnival of Souls  Number 27 - Nosferatu  Number 26 - Candyman  Number 25 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre  Number 24 - Horror of Dracula  Number 23 - The Wicker Man  Number 22 - Suspiria  Number 21 - The Omen  Number 20 - Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told  Number 19 - Rosemary's Baby  Number 18 - The Devil Rides Out  Number 17 - The Blob  Number 16 - Gremlins  Number 15 - Targets  Number 14 - Fright Night   Number 13 - Frankenstein  Number 12 - Alien  Number 11 - The Shining  Number 10 - An American Werewolf in London 
The Thing
(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 are the next 8 movies I'll list.

1 comment:

Kev D. said...

Oh snap! I was wondering how high up in the list The Thing would make it... can't wait to see the 8 that beat it out.