THE THING - COLLECTOR'S EDITION
Thing - Collector's Edition (1982)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford
Director: John Carpenter
Encoding: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada
Format: Colour, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby
Rated: Not for sale to persons under age 18.
Studio: Universal Studios
Available subtitles: Spanish, French
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby
Digital 2.0 Surround)
Commentary by director John
Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell, "John Carpenter's The Thing: Terror
Takes Shape", Production Background Archives, Casp Production Photographs,
Production Art and Storyboards, Location Design, Production Archives, The
Saucer, The Blairmonster, Outtakes, Post Production, Production Notes,
Cast and Filmmakers, Theatrical Trailer
critics upon its initial release (Ebert dismissed it as a “freak show” for
instance) and doing badly at the box office, this 1982 horror movie by
cult director John Carpenter has undergone a bit
of a rehabilitation recently – partly because of Gen X fans who recall it
vividly and partly because horror flicks strangely enough became more tame
and predictable with the years.
societies would also recently vote The
Thing – released in the same year
as E.T.! - onto their list of Top 100 Sci-Fi
Movies of All Time (the Online Film Critics Society for example voted it
partly because Carpenter’s own further output became progressively worse.
Ghosts of Mars, anyone?
Yup, The Thing
is still quite gory and violent even by today’s standards. One critic
called Carpenter a “pornographer of violence” and the accusation must have
stung because Carpenter mentions it in his director’s commentary on this
disc. Violent it is though, and more sensitive souls are obviously advised
to stay clear of this Alien-like tale about an
alien creature that can imitate anyone at a deserted Antarctic base.
Horror and sci-fi
fans who haven’t checked it out though should. Same goes for Gen Xers who
recall the movie fondly – this is one case where your memory serves you
well, unlike those Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
episodes which you thought were so cool as a kid
. . .
For me personally,
this is a movie that actually improves with age (read an extended review
of the movie and The Thing From Another World
of which it is loosely a remake written in 1999 – the previous time I saw
it - here) as
movies grow more predictable and CGI effects get even crappier. Yeah, that
severed head spurting spider legs is as freaky as you remember it!
DISC: This so-called “Collector’s Edition” is indeed that. It has
everything from a making-of documentary (titled "John Carpenter's The
Thing: Terror Takes Shape" featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Kurt
Russell, make-up designer Rob Bottin, matte artist Albert Whitlock, and
other cast and crew members) to outtakes, work-in-progress special effects
footage and behind-the-scenes footage.
Best of all though
is the director’s commentary with Carpenter and star Kurt Russell (who
laughs throughout the movie’s goriest scenes). A nostalgic look at the
film, their commentary may not supply you with all the questions you have
about this film, but at least Carpenter keeps the commentary going: there
are few silent pauses, which one often finds in
such audio tracks.
The image (preserving director Carpenter’s fantastic widescreen
compositions) and sound looks fantastic for a movie of its age (22 this
year!), there are loads of extras – what’s not to like?
Add it to your horror/sci-fi collection today.