Writers: Bill Lancaster, John W. Campbell Jr.
DOP: Dean Cundey
Cast: Kurt Russell, A. Wilford Brimley, Keith David
A crew in Antarctica finds a neighbouring camp destroyed and its crew dead. Whatever killed them is nowhere to be found, unless it is hidden in plain sight.
'Thing' in the thing is a parasitic alien being that can assimilate into its victim and thus form an imitation. Once the crew figures it out, what follows is paranoia as they are not sure who among them is an alien victim. The situation was an inspiration for Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and there is an even more direct connection to the Hateful Eight as well. Ennio Morricone's unused work from 'The Thing' was largely used in the latter and 'Beastiality' also made an appearance in it.
Alien being was created using practical effects which was not quite as good as Ridley Scott's Alien. There was also this very badly executed computer exposition scene where the probability of infection and time taken to infect the whole of earth is spelled out. I was feeling that the film had not aged well during the initial parts of the film but it was misplaced as it improved vastly once it began focusing on the paranoia aspect. The production quality towards the end with the night sequences in snow is really great with flares and all that. The dog in the beginning is one creepy fucker.
It had released two weeks after ET along with Blade Runner. It bombed both critically and commercially as the gory unfriendly alien in grim settings turned the audience off. It has since been hailed rightly as a masterpiece. I actually enjoyed it much more than Alien and it should be more interesting on rewatch as well.