- Series: BFI Modern Classics
- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: British Film Institute; 1997 edition (October 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0851705669
- ISBN-13: 978-0851705668
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Thing (BFI Modern Classics) 1997th Edition
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"A stunning account of the facts and theory behind Carpenter's classic yuckfest." -- Empire
From the Back Cover
An alien entity that can take any living form invades an isolated scientific research station in the Antarctic. John Carpenter's "The Thing "is best known for some of the most startling visual effects - surreal, lurid, shocking perversions of the human body - ever committed to celluloid. At London's National Film Theatre in 1995, Quentin Tarantino named "The Thing" as one of his favorite films. Yet when it was released in 1982, it fared badly against another alien encounter movie, "E.T.," and critics panned it. But "The Thing "has aged well, and its influence can now be detected in everything from "Seven" to "Red Dwarf "and "The X Files." In her elegant and trenchant study, Anne Billson argues that "The Thing" has never been given its due. For Billson, it's a landmark movie that brilliantly refines the conventions of classic horror and science fiction, combining them with humor, Lewis Carroll logic, strong characterizations and prescient insight. The idea of an alien species mutating and inhabiting humans resonates all too chillingly with the mad cow disease crisis and today's new and ever more powerful genetic technology.
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Top Customer Reviews
In a nutshell, Bilson asserts that the film critics who panned the film upon its initial release completely missed the boat and the point. This film was original in so many underappreciated ways, and it remains to this day a standard-bearer.
The author explores the idea that the titular Thing may as well be, for all intents and purpose, female. That, and that Carpenter and screenwriter Bill Lancaster were both very brave and correct to dodge conventional Hollywood wisdom by casting the film with all-male and mostly lesser-known actors, and that the timing of the making of the film thankfully preceeded the political-correctness period that now practically mandates a Rainbow Coalition of skin colors. Clearly, Carpenter was focused solely on the story, and kept all other interferences at bay.
One of my favorite assertions that Bilson makes, and I am certainly in agreement with her, is that if the AFI list of Greatest Film Quotes of All Time allowed for profanity, "The Thing" would be well-represented!
This isn't the most thought-provoking BFI entry, but it is affectionately written, for sure, without being kissy-kissy.
I still love this book series, however. I always ask for a BFI book for my birthday. Next BFI books up for me: "The Shawshank Redemption", "Crash", and "The Thin Red Line".