JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING – COLLECTOR’S EDITION – Movie Review

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JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING – COLLECTOR’S EDITION

  • RELEASE DATE: Available on Blu-ray October 11th (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
  • WRITTEN BY: Bill Lancaster
  • DIRECTED BY: John Carpenter
  • STARRING: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David

One of the best parts of bein’ a revoltin’ reviewer in the ol’ horror biz is turning you fine fiends onto little known gems like the subject of this piece; namely JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING. Let’s see if this obscure film by an unknown director has what it takes to hang with the horror heavyweights!

If you believed anything you read above about JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING you seriously need to stop reading this website. Ol’ THINGy-baby is one of the singular greatest genre flicks ever produced; and I’d bet demons to donuts 99% of you have seen it, own it, and love it! So the real question is, should you double dip on this release or just hold tight to the version(s) you already own? Why are you still on this paragraph? I’m not going to tell you yet…we got like 600 or more words before we get to that…

For the one percent of you that haven’t seen the film; here’s what goes down. A dog from a Norwegian Antarctic outpost finds its way to a nearby American facility where a small group of men stand around and talk. The End.

Oh, wait; there’s one tiny bit more; that dog was actually an alien shape-shifter retrieved from a downed flying saucer; and it is pissed beyond all reason. It then begins to work its way through the cast in a non-stop phantasmagoria of outrageous mutations and madness…seriously folks; never have such large quantities of gorgeous practical effects been seen on the silver screen before or since as each new scene brings yet another indescribable horror (while the tension builds to unbearable levels).

Now that we’ve tackled that; let’s talk about exactly what you get on this release (besides the feature flick ‘natch; which by the way is presented in a gorgeous 2K scan). In the “new to this release” column you get; an audio commentary with director of photography Dean Cundey, an audio commentary with co-producer Stuart Cohen, interviews with stars Keith David, Thomas Waites, Peter Maloney, Wilford Brimley (more on that in a bit), editor Todd Ramsay, visual effects artists Peter Kuran, Susan Turner, special make-up effects artists Rob Burman and Brian Wade, supervising sound editor David Lewis Yewdall and special sound effects designer Alan Howarth, and novelization author Alan Dean Foster (saying this release is thorough doesn’t begin to cover it).

As cool as that is; the best material from past releases is included as well including the classic audio commentary by director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell, and the exhaustive 84 minute doc JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING: TERROR TAKES SHAPE.

Rounding out the package are a collection of outtakes, vintage featurettes from the electronic press kit, a pair of vintage featurettes – The Making of a Chilling Tale and The Making of THE THING, a vintage Product Reel (which contains a promotional condensed version of the film with additional footage not in the finished flick), a short collection of Behind-the-Scenes footage, a nearly hour long annotated production archive (loaded with art and behind the scenes photos), a revisiting of the film’s shooting locations, the network TV broadcast version of THE THING (again, more on this in a bit), trailers, TV and radio spots, and some still galleries.

As you can see that is a shit-ton of bang for your beastly buck; but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the additional unexpected “special feature” this release has; namely the comedy gold! Now I can hear your grumbles of confusion; but trust me…in among the grim apocalyptic goings-on, and the volumes of information about the flick’s creation you will find moments of side-splittin’ hilarity. Don’t believe me? Let’s talk about the interview with Wilford Brimley (who appears to be in danger of permanently sinking into his shirt at any moment). As the man speaks, two cats decide to have an epic battle upon his lap. There’s no warning or context; it just happens, he grimly accepts it, and the interview continues. Not enough knee-slappery for ya? Then why not throw on the aforementioned TV version of the film? While dealing with the most shit-tastic (and unnecessary) overdubbed narration you ever did hear, the people in charge of sanitizing the language drop some real sparkling gems like; “voodoo bullstuff”, “Fry you, Palmer”, and my personal fav, “Yeah, blast you too”! At the rate they were going I’m surprised they didn’t change Fuchs name to “Jones”.

I’m damn certain that after reading all of that beautiful and eloquent prose above that you can ascertain that this Collector’s Edition of JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING is an absolute essential release for any fright fan; from the quality of the transfer to the absolutely astounding breadth of bonus features this HAS to occupy a space in your collection my creeps!

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