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What Critics Said About John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ Back In 1982

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21.01.2020
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John Carpenter has had a hell of a career. His run from the mid-’70s to the early ’90s is nearly flawless and capable of going toe-to-toe with any director’s filmography. He’s entertained audiences with thrills and chills while introducing many of us to some of our favorite screen legends. Generally speaking, he’s beloved in cinematic circles the world over, but his work hasn’t always felt that love.

In the summer of 1981, Carpenter embarked on his first big-budget, big-studio adventure. Following in the footsteps of his hero, Howard Hawks, the Master of Horror accepted a gig to direct an adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr’s novella, Who Goes There? Working with a budget of roughly $15 million — a major increase from the independently produced projects he was accustomed — Carpenter churned out what is widely considered his masterpiece, The Thing.

The sci-fi/horror mashup hit theaters on June 25, 1982, with hopes of being a summer hit. Helmed by a young director on the rise and featuring a manly cast of the manliest men to ever man a wintry outpost, all the makings of a hit were present. Unfortunately, the film never quite took off for various reasons including the arrival of another alien visitor to theaters just two weeks earlier in the form of Steven Spielberg’s gigantic blockbuster, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Despite opening on a respectable 840 screens, The Thing sputtered to an eighth-place finish on its........

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