The guys over at aint it cool news have been running a series of articles about the films of 1982, to many a boone year in terms of moviemaking and cinema going. Certainly, all horror/fantasy/science fiction fans were spolit that year: there was Conan and ET, plus the three films that Merrick discusses in the latest article: Blade Runner, released a quarter of a century ago this very day, Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and John Carpenter's The Thing, seminal movies one and all.
Merrick confesses that he didn't get Blade Runner the first time he watched it. Nor did a lot of people, I suspect, but the film lives on, with the long-promised DVD box set featuring The Final Cut out later this year. I, too, didn't quite know what to make of it the time; I loved the look, but also found it cold and and alienating. Like Merrick, it's a film I've grown to worship over the years, both the original cut and the not really Director's Cut released back in the early 90s, and understand it's genius. And my error.
The Thing, however, I did get. A huge Carpenter fan at the time (I've since been disappointed way too many times to call myself one now), I can still remember the sight of Norris' head coming off the table, sprouting legs and scuttling away, my jaw both literally and metaphorically hitting the floor in amazement. Back in '82, remember, there was no internet, few movie magazines and little to spoil the surprise of seeing a movie for the first time. The only shot I saw of The Thing prior to seeing it was in Starburst magazine, a black and white picture of a frost-bitten Kurt Russell his beard. And, not having then read the short story the film's based on, my young mind actually comtemplated the fact that he might well be the thing. How wrong I was.
Will have to dig out the DVD tonight and give it a watch. Again...