The Thing [Collector's Edition] [DVD] [1982]

Although given a lukewarm reception by critics and the public upon its release, The Thing, like so many of John Carpenter's films, has since acquired a fiercely loyal cult following, and MCA Home Video will have fans of the chilly sci-fi horror in rapture with this outstanding reissue DVD. Originally released in 1998, this Collector's Edition is an exact replica of the previous disc, except for the chilly slipcase packaging. Picture-wise, the film's immaculate whites and cold blues are clean and sharp, and the polar landscapes are awe-inspiring in widescreen. Carpenter is renowned for his inventive use of sound effects and music, and the Dolby 5.1 Audio truly heightens the film's suspense. There is also a mind-boggling array of extra features on the DVD. The theatrical trailer, production notes, and biographies of Carpenter and star Kurt Russell are welcome, but they pale in comparison to most of the other additions. The production archives section, for example, is an extensive combination of text and photos that concentrates on Rob Bottin's eye-popping special effects, and equally interesting is the production art showing early designs of the alien creature. The background archive will interest would-be screenwriters, as it uses pages from the original draft to show how the film took shape. Of the countless other bits and pieces, the outtakes section is surest to please confirmed fans, even though the stills and deleted scenes here are of a mainly expository nature (though at least one deleted scene will delight fans of the movie's sardonic humor). Yet even if it had none of the aforementioned special features, this would be an essential DVD due to the commentary track and 80-minute documentary "Terror Takes Shape". The latter, featuring contributions from all the main players, is an utterly engrossing background to the conception and production of The Thing, and also includes spectacular stop-motion footage that was not used in the final version. The commentary by Carpenter and Russell, meanwhile, is a winning blend of astute analysis and warm recollection that is always enjoyable and occasionally hilarious. This is a wonderful DVD package that will give pleasure to even casual fans of the film.
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Overall Customer Rating:
Rating 4.9 out of 5 stars.
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (218 out of 219)

Special Features

  • All-new digitally remastered picture
  • Feature commentary with Kurt Russell and director John Carpenter
  • John Carpenter's The Thing: Terror Takes Shape, an 80-minute original documentary featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, special effects make-up designer Rob Bottin, legendary matte artist Albert Whitlock, plus other members of the cast, crew and special effects team
  • Stop motion animation cut from the film
  • Exclusive work-in-progress visual effects footage
  • Behind-the-scenes location footage
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Outtakes from the film
  • Behind-the-scenes photographs
  • Storyboards and conceptual art
  • Annotated production archive
  • Closed Captioned


The Thing
John Carpenter's The Thing is both a remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 film of the same name and a re-adaptation of the John W. Campbell Jr. story "Who Goes There?" on which it was based. Carpenter's film is more faithful to Campbell's story than Hawks' version and also substantially more reliant on special effects, provided in abundance by a team of over 40 technicians, including veteran creature-effects artists Rob Bottin and Stan Winston. The film opens enigmatically with a Siberian Husky running through the Antarctic tundra, chased by two men in a helicopter firing at it from above. Even after the dog finds shelter at an American research outpost, the men in the helicopter (Norwegians from an outpost nearby) land and keep shooting. One of the Norwegians drops a grenade and blows himself and the helicopter to pieces; the other is shot dead in the snow by Garry (Donald Moffat), the American outpost captain. American helicopter pilot MacReady (Kurt Russell, fresh from Carpenter's Escape From New York) and camp doctor Copper (Richard Dysart) fly off to find the Norwegian base and discover some pretty strange goings-on. The base is in ruins, and the only occupants are a man frozen to a chair (having cut his own throat) and the burned remains of what could be one man or several men. In a side room, Copper and MacReady find a coffin-like block of ice from which something has been recently cut. That night at the American base, the Husky changes into the Thing, and the Americans learn first-hand that the creature has the ability to mutate into anything it kills. For the rest of the film the men fight a losing (and very gory) battle against it, never knowing if one of their own dwindling number is the Thing in disguise. Though resurrected as a cult favorite, The Thing failed at the box office during its initial run, possibly because of its release just two weeks after Steven Spielberg's warmly received E.T.The Extra-Terrestrial. Along with Ridley Scott's futuristic Alien, The Thing helped stimulate a new wave of sci-fi horror films in which action and special effects wizardry were often seen as ends in themselves. ~ Anthony Reed, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Kurt Russell
    Kurt Russell - MacReady
  • Wilford Brimley
    Wilford Brimley - Blair
  • T.K. Carter
    T.K. Carter - Nauls
  • David Clennon
    David Clennon - Palmer
  • Keith David
    Keith David - Childs

Overall Customer Rating

4.9 out of 54.9
219 Reviews
100%of customers recommend this product.

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