Scariest Movie Countdown #28: The Thing

The Thing (1982, Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter)

Man is the warmest place to hide.

Quick plot: A group of Antarctic researchers uncover a deadly alien that can imitate the human form.

Scariest moment: The funny answer would be when we see Wilford Brimley turn psycho. Man, I didn’t even want to look at oatmeal after that! But seriously, this is one of the best slow burns in horror cinema. Every scene drips with tension and distrust. But that blood test scene, when Kurt Russell’s character has tied up his fellow survivors and tries to determine who is still human, is incredibly punishing.

Final say: It’s hard to believe now, but when John Carpenter released his remake of the 1951 classic (which itself is based on a John W. Campbell story) it was ignored by audiences and reviled by critics. But the good stuff never dies. Not only does Carpenter supply innovative, shocking gore, but the man knows how to build suspense. This is a scary movie that is about being scared. These men never know who is human and who is not. Hell, we don’t even know if Kurt Russell is telling the truth. And the ending is pretty much a downer, but you gotta love it for not copping out.

Just for fun: Check out this reenactment of The Thing featuring G.I. Joe figures and some groovy synth music.

See for yourself: Catch The Thing this month at 8pm and 11pm Oct. 17 on Chiller, and at 5pm, Oct. 30 on SCI FI. All times Eastern.