Box art for The Thing

The Thing

horror, sci-fi & fantasy

In the winter of 1982, a twelve-man research team at a remote Antarctic research station discovers an alien buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. The form-changing alien wreaks havoc, creates terror and becomes one of them.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

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common sense

PAUSE for kids age 17
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
5 out of 5

Gory fear fest is a classic the faint-hearted should skip.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is graphically violent, gory, grisly, and frightening, though it's so over-the-top and dated that the gore is almost campy. Humans and dogs are the victims of monstrous alien beings attempting to destroy them. They are hideously ugly creatures with slimy tentacles, pulsing muscles, jagged teeth, and screeching howls. They imitate other life forms and take over living beings suddenly, turning a beautiful dog into a raving, slathering beast, or a man into a giant, multi-limbed, oozing mass of pus and muscle. The movie has occasional swearing ("f--k," "ass," "d--k," "s--t,") and the leading man drinks whiskey straight from a bottle several times, others drink occasionally, and one character smokes a marijuana cigarette.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the use of frequent use of violence and gore in this film. What do you think the filmmaker's purpose was?
  • Were the scariest moments because of onscreen mayhem or because of suspense-filled moments when you didn't know what was going to happen? Describe your feelings about and reactions to each type of "horror." Why do people like to be scared?
  • Did the ending surprise you? Did you find yourself projecting what might have happened afterwards? Is that projection a measure of a movie's success?
  • How does this version compare to the more modern one?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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Audience Reviews

5 stars

Worth the five stars just for Rob Bottin's amazing FX work that to this day still hasn't been topped but upon repeat viewings I've come to appreciate the film even moreso for its pessimistic and paranoid themes.

- thefog1331, Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3 stars

"You think that thing wanted to be an animal? No dogs make it a thousand miles through the cold! No, you don't understand! That thing wanted to be US!" I'm definitely going to see the upcoming prequel of The Thing (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 'nuff said) so I thought that it would be wise to see the 80's remake (the original movie came out in the 50's) before hand. And I'm glad I did. It may be a little dated by today's standards, but it's still a solid exercise in paranoia-fueled monster movies. An isolated Antarctic research station on the cusp of polar winter becomes a battleground for a handful of people and a terrifying alien. One that has a unique ability that quickly causes the humans to not be able to trust one another. They have to remain on the lookout for danger from their fellow humans, as well as the creature. The two aspects of The Thing that are most worthy of mention are the gory and impressive special effects, and the believable tension between the actors as they realize that there is no one they can trust but themselves. The creature design for the Thing truly is memorable, and if you have an aversion to copious amount of blood or tentacles, this will be a nightmare for you. The dynamics between the characters is what most of the story focuses on, and without that, this would just be a mindless movie about people being killed. But instead, it almost becomes a race between the viewer and the characters to figure out who is a threat and who (if anyone) might survive this whole thing. Pretty cool. I think if you're a fan of movies like Alien, you'll like this. It doesn't quite have the timelessness of that movie, and it's not quite as frightening, but there's a similar vibe that the two share. If the upcoming prequel is at least as good as this one, it'll be worth watching.

- lewiskendell, Tuesday, August 17, 2010

3 stars

There are no real performances in "The Thing", the iconic sci-fi horror film from the 80s, but there is a hell of a lot of great gore. The insane special effects still hold up well today and the plot is a gripping exercise in paranoia and claustrophobia. What it's lacking in characterization, it makes up for in spades with Kurt Russell being cool and some really affecting scares. (Plus, how can you go wrong with a tagline like: "Man is the warmest place to hide")

- stevenecarrier, Sunday, July 4, 2010