100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Eighty-Eight - "The Thing!"


"WARNING! UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS AND UNIMAGINABLE NIGHTMARES AWAIT YOU! CAN YOUR SOUL STAND IT! WATCH AND SEE!"

Ghoulish greetings on his Terrible Tuesday here at the 100 Days challenge! We're entering the final run here, and the next few days are packed with top-notch frights!

So let us get right into the thick of this sucker, with yet another one of John Carpenter's scarefests - in fact, maybe his scariest yet! Sit back, shut your trap and be terrified by "The Thing!" Thanks as usual for playing along! I love you all!

The Thing (1982): Directed by John Carpenter. Starring Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilford Brimley, Charles Hallahan, Donald Moffat and Richard Dysart.

The Skinny: Based on the 1951 film "The Thing from Another Planet," this film by John Carpenter follows a group of researchers in the Antarctic as they battle with a strange presence that can assume any likeness and is bent on destruction.

What's Good: When I was younger (so much younger than today), I saw this film and had to turn it off, it was that frigging scary. It's enough that the claustrophobic setting - an Antarctic research station - is disconcerting, but you add to it the superior effects by Rob Bottin and Stan Winston, in all their horrific best, and you get a movie that a ten-year-old boy probably shouldn't watch alone. John Carpenter keeps the tension high throughout this apocalyptic thriller that has you guessing (by the very nature of the beast) as to what's coming next. And as the crew are picked off one by one, and the list of potential carriers narrows, it's up to Kurt Russell and Keith David to carry much of the film's weighty final third - something the two stars do with ease.

What's Bad: Nothing, really. Seriously. This fucker rocks. The only complaint I could possibly make is that the effects - while dated now - are absolutely the very best the times had to offer. And by that note, that means that they are both graphic and disgusting - heads split open and sprout spidery legs, a dog is partially transformed before being torched, and a man's chest bursts open and bites off another man's hands. Yeah, don't have a big sloppy dinner before you watch this one.

Why We Like It: For all the reasons above and more! When he's good, Carpenter is great and this is probably his finest film. Although "Halloween" was a reasonably scary thriller, it was also an independent film and suffers as such. This was his first big budgetfeature, however, and it's clear that he pumped every spare dollar into the effects. Winston and Bottin crafted some of the goriest effects still out there and Carpenter shows us every disgusting bloody inch. At times it's almost hard to take, but if you can get past the gore, there is a great "Ten Little Indians" sort of vibe here that keeps you guessing - right up to the downbeat ending that would likely be impossible to get Hollywood to agree to if this film were made today.

Memorable Stuff: All of the above special effects transformations are just top drawer. But perhaps the most chilling scene is when the crew returns to the site of the Norwegian crew that is killed prior to the film's events. There, they find a massive crater that is likely the creature's origin. And as they spread out their arms to try and get an idea of the size, it gives us - and them - the first real indication of what we're actually dealing with here. It's a great shot and a shock moment that sets the tone for the rest of this undeniably scary film.