The Untold Truth of John Carpenter’s The Thing

Taking the words of film critics as facts can sometimes be tempting. After all, they see almost every movie that comes out. They are paid to share their impressions with their readers. Surely they know what they are talking about. While these things are true, it’s important to remember that critics — while highly qualified to weigh in on the subject — are just people. The observations they share are only opinions.

For example, when discussing the characters in “The Thing”, Dave Kehr of The Chicago Reader wrote, “Although the band members are played by familiar and well-defined character actors, the terse banality of the dialogue makes them all sound and look alike – it’s hard to tell who’s being attacked and hard to care.” That may be his view, but there are probably thousands of viewers who would disagree.

Similarly, Roger Ebert called the film “July’s puke bag movie”. Perhaps the most interesting idea, compared to a modern audience’s opinion of the material, came from Vincent Canby of The New York Times, who wrote: “‘The Thing’ is a stupid, depressing and overproduced that blends horror with sci-fi to make something fun like neither.” He then criticized the special effects and concluded, “There may be a metaphor in all this, but I doubt it.”

About Monty S. Maynard

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