The Thing Returns to Theaters in June for 40th Anniversary Celebration – MovieWeb

2022 is a milestone year for several 80s classics. One of those will be a film that has a rocky history but a major legacy, that film is John Carpenter’s 1982’s sci-fi horror The Thing. Last week, Carpenter himself announced that the film will be brought back to theaters courtesy of Fathom Events this June to celebrate 40 years!

Director John Carpenter (Halloween) teams Kurt Russell’s outstanding performance with incredible visual effects to create a chilling version of the classic The Thing. Set in the winter of 1982 at a research station in Antarctica, a twelve-man research team finds an alien being that has fallen from the sky and has remained buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Soon it is unfrozen and unleashed, creating havoc and terror as it changes forms and becomes one of them. This special event will also feature the Terror Takes Shape documentary!

The Thing was a passion project for director John Carpenter. Based off of the 1938 novella Who Goes There? By John W. Campbell Jr, The Thing is a story of tension, survival, and isolation. The movie stars Kurt Russell (Escape from New York), A. Wilford Brimley (Cocoon), T.K. Carter (Punky Brewster), David Clennon (The Right Stuff), Keith David (Platoon), Richard Dysart (Pale Rider), Charles Hallahan (Dante’s Peak), Peter Maloney (Requiem for a Dream), Richard Masur (Rhoda), Donald Moffat (The West Wing), Joel Polis (The Rookie), and Thomas G. Waites (The Clan of the Cave Bear) as a team of researchers isolated in Antarctica as they desperately try to survive an invasion unlike any other.
What makes The Thing stand out among countless other alien invasion stories is how the monster itself chooses to hide in plain sight. The creature is actually a parasite that can take the body of other organisms. You think you’re talking to a friend, when in reality it’s the creature. Another aspect of this feature that especially made the movie stand out was its special effects. As the creature is fought back against, its shape morphs and shifts until it becomes a nightmarish tangle of body parts and flesh. This made the film especially earn its infamy, as well as its R rating.

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Terror at the End of the World

While The Thing was a labor of love for Carpenter and his team, audiences didn’t agree with them. The film was released on June 25th, 1982, and took the number eight spot at the box office. At the time, audiences were still riding the high from Spielberg’s alien romp, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Critics considered the film boring, excessively gory, and nihilistic. Many critics compared Carpenter’s film to the first adaptation of the novella, 1951’s The Thing from Another World, which leaned more into the suspense and less on the alien.
Carpenter was devastated, while he continued to make movies, the failure of The Thing left hindered his self-confidence. It was some time before he would work up the nerve to talk about it openly, one of those moments was in 1985 to the monthly sci-fi magazine Starlog.

“I was called ‘a pornographer of violence’. I had no idea it would be received that way […] The Thing was just too strong for that time. I knew it was going to be strong, but I didn’t think it would be too strong […] I didn’t take the public’s taste into consideration.”

Thankfully, like a lot of unrecognized brilliance, The Thing was able to gain a resurgence with the rise of home media. As time moved on, critics and audiences have since turned around to recognize The Thing for what it is, a masterpiece of suspense, special effects, and science fiction. You can catch this bit of horror history on June 19th and June 22nd of this year, and tickets are on sale now from Fathom Events!

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