When it came to thinking of a horror movie I'd love to feature, The Thing (1982) was top of my list. It's not a movie most would associate with someone who admits to not liking horror, but the combination of science fiction and horror remains one of my favourite genre mixes (see also Alien!)
It's also a movie that continues to delight and terrify me. The practical effects, created by Rob Bottin (only 21 years of age at the time) still hold up as visually inventive, repulsive and unforgettable, almost 40 years later. It's an accolade that the recent 2011 prequel could never have lived up to (and yes, I saw it recently, so I will talk about it a little, if only to serve as a highlight to how excellent the 1982 movie really is!)
On the surface a graphic, gory body horror, but it's not the gore that makes it scary, it's the emotional and mental horror, as it depicts the descent into fear, madness and paranoia that this group of twelve men encounter and the toxic masculinity which prevents them from actually working together to face their fears.
The titular alien, nameless and faceless, remains sentient even at a cellular level, which adds to the fear factor. How do you know every cell of The Thing is dead? It's a stark contrast to 1982's other well-known alien movie, where that alien (E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial) is sweet, kind and befriends small children.
Then critically derided, now critically lauded; it's a true masterclass in showing the isolation and despair of the characters and the lengths to which The Thing will go to survive, gift wrapped in glorious nightmare-fuel special effects by Rob Bottin.
But how do you know this is the real episode 48? Could it just be a copy? Look for the light in my eyes....
The original Randall William Cook stop-motion Blair-Thing can be seen in this clip here
The Fangoria art contest entries from 1981 are available to view here!
I would love to hear your thoughts on The Thing! You can get in touch on
or you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:
Thank you to patrons Simon E, Sade, Jardiel, Claudia, Simon B, Laurel, Derek, Jason, Kristin, Cat, Andy and new patron Mike for supporting Verbal Diorama.
Thanks to the following for their contributions to this episode:
Theme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme Song
Music by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe Facebook
Lyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)
Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.
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