WHERE THIS EVIL HAILS FROM: The Thing (1982)
WHY THIS EVIL MADE ME FILLE THE FEAR: As with most viscerally-memorable films seen in my youth, The Thing was brought into my life through my father. My dad has always had a charmingly persistent way of foisting movies on us and I remember him bringing this one home to the fam some weekend night, probably ringing his hands with delight at the prospect of seeing our little horrified faces. My young self never really took “older” movies very seriously, like, to the point of kind of zoning out unless nudity or spooks arose (I wasn’t alone here by a long shot, I don’t think). And so, as soon as shit got real during my first viewing of The Thing, that’s when memories were made. I found this film horrifying on a purely visual level–I don’t remember paying any attention to the plot whatsoever. The spider-creature (which now, hilariously, resembles Gene Wilder to me) is what terrified me the most. The dated effects didn’t even register.
HOW THIS EVIL STILL DOES: The antagonist in this movie is such an interesting one as it’s both faceless (in the figurative sense; obviously it does pretty well in the faces department) and very intelligent. It’s also hard to describe as one single entity and should instead be considered more as a virus that creeps in slowly and parasitically takes over. So when shit gets real, when this alien lifeform begins splicing itself into these hapless scientists and we finally see the first assimilation, it’s impressively terrifying, even for 1982. It’s fairly striking in the varied ways that it attaches itself to humans while killing others and all the while trying to hatch a survival plan.
Another aspect of this film and others like it which I find consistently horrific is when the credits roll on a hopeless outcome. No rescue helicopters. Nothing. I always imagine the characters living their remaining hours behind the credits, dying agonizing, lonely deaths.