The Thing (1982)
Director: John Carpenter
Even with being over 20 years old, I still think this is one of the best true horror films ever made. It takes a lot of characters in a confined space and emotes the true essence of primal terror. While being pretty gory at times, it is truly in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft, which Carpenter revisits quite a bit in the years to come, most specifically with In The Mouth of Madness. I think it still stands up pretty damn well with effects, and definitely as the it lays out different pieces of the puzzle. It takes the story in a very serious light, and plays it well considering there are so many characters in the film.
This is a movie you have to pay attention to, despite its "horror" connotation. After the odd opening sequence, the story takes place in the American outpost in Antarctica, 1982. It's within these remote confines that the helicopter pilot of above-average intelligence Mac Cready (by Kurt Russell in one of his best roles, I think), encounters a strange occurrence while holed up with the other members of the exploration team. A Norwegian helicopter ends up at their camp while chasing down a dog with the intent to kill it. It rouses the curiosity of Mac Cready and the rest of the team, and they investigate what brought this all to be. They find out, and bear the consequences.
This is a damn fine movie. It still holds the intrigue and suspense after all these years, at least for me. But then again, I'm a bit biased here (I do have the original movie poster hangin' on my wall here above my computer). But it doesn't detract from the fact that this is truly one of the most horrific, suspenseful movies out there, and I definitely recommend this film to anyone. Some great sets and cinematography to boot. I can't say enough about the ensemble of actors (including Wilford Brimley and Keith David) and the claustrophobic atmosphere. I cut it short here, because the story itself is something you just have to experience for yourself.
Great Scene: When they're trying to resuscitate Norris after his heart attack. It's a wham-bam-pow-Holy Shit! kind of scene.
DVD Notes: The crazy-great commentary with Carpenter and Russell is only the beginning of this excellent Collector's Edition put out by Universal. It's entertaining and gives some great insight into the production of the film. Also included is a very thorough 83-minute documentary with pretty much everyone involved with the film that is both very informative and intriguing. Extensive production notes on the history of the film (from the original 1938 short story Who Goes There by John W. Campbell and the 1951 film The Thing From Another World), changes to the script, location design, and production art/storyboards. Outtakes, post-production, cast & filmmaker bios, and of course the original trailer, all top-notch.