John Carpenter’s The Thing is showing this Friday at the Duke of York’s and it’s a late night screening. Carpenter is in town next week, performing at the Brighton Dome. It’s great to be able to see his horror masterpiece on the big screen before hearing from the auteur himself. So, this is a film version of a warm-up gig; the Duke’s have chosen the first in the Apocalypse trilogy to mark Carpenter’s visit to Brighton.
The film was first released in 1982 which came to be recognised as a great year for film. However, The Thing battled Blade Runner and E.T the Extra-Terrestrial in the film charts and it was not a critical or commercial success. Thirty years later and The Thing is firmly established as one of the greatest horror films ever made. It delivers bottomless suspense, to the point of distraction, even the most sturdy horror fan will find a moment to refresh the popcorn. I first saw the film late on, having mainly watched (and loved) Asian horror films; the film has held up over the years and I could see the influence Carpenter has had on the horror genre.
It’s set in the frozen tundra and isolation of the Antarctic and the iconic score by Morricone, haunts the scenes. Gruesome and nihilistic, 34-year old Carpenter’s initially-panned film caused him to lose confidence in the years that followed. It was only on video and TV that a dedicated fan base grew for the The Thing and Carpenter must feel pretty vindicated now. If you’ve not seen it before, now is the time. Amongst the highlights are the cast’s nuanced performances, who deliver the fear, the distrust, the growing paranoia and build the apocalyptic tone. Needless to say, it’s going to be incredible to see this outstanding tome from the horror master.
The Thing shows this Friday at the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Friday 14 October at 23:00