Directed by: John Carpenter
Release Date: 1982When I started writing notes about movies, this was the first movie I reviewed which was back in 2002. Nine years later, the movie is still one of my favorite suspenseful horror films (top ten) as well as one of the best in makeup effects in the genre.
Kurt Russell stars as R.J. MacReady, the reluctant hero in our tale. Set in Antarctica, a wolf dog is chased by a helicopter, bullets shot at every possible angle to terminate this dog's existence.
After a bloody misunderstanding, R.J. and crew survey the helicopter's remains. They find enough information to investigate former occupants' whereabouts and seek out their headquarters. They find frozen bloodied corpses and head back to their own living area.
This hunted wolf is captured and put in the cage with the rest of their dogs. The crew examine and check out the commotion when the dogs whine and bark as this wolf opens up and attacks one of the other dogs. Accusations, transformations, and deaths ensue.
The makeup team (headed by young Rob Bottin) created effects that hold up amazingly well by today's standards. Even now, I squirmed and screamed my head off when the iconic head grows legs and walks into the hallway. What the frak?!?! Sick, twisted, and perfect in all its glory, this movie's cult status is well deserved and forever cemented in horror film history. To go up against Spielberg's E.T. at the time was rough but damn, if this isn't one of Carpenter's top films to be watched and remembered.
What Carpenter was able to capture in this film has been emulated in the most bearish ways which is why this film is extremely effective in execution, effects, and acting. An impossible feat by most horror picture standards but then again, Carpenter has impressed us with tense and subtle horror pictures before (see Halloween II review here) so why would we expect anything less (let's forget Vampires even happened, okay?) from one of the masters of horror?
If you haven't seen this yet, go see it now! It won't change your life but if it doesn't make you squeam a little bit or at least make you appreciate the special effects, then you are made of steel. Or if anything else, it'll get you interested in the upcoming prequel which will be in theaters October 14. The trailer created the same eerie and creepy atmosphere the original movie created. The screenplay was helmed by one of the creators of my favorite science fiction show of all time, Battlestar Galactica, Ronald D. Moore, and one of the writers of the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, Eric Heisserer which so far doesn't sound awful. I'm wishing the best for this picture because I will be upset if this sucks.
To pique your interest, trailers for the new movie and the original, respectively.