It's tough to believe that John Carpenter's The Thing, a remake of 1951's The Thing From Another World, was indifferently received upon its 1982 release. Perhaps the world simply wasn't ready for Carpenter's masterpiece, which took the bones of the original's plot—a stranded group of researchers in Antarctica face off against a deadly alien being—and turned it into a master class in relentlessly escalating tension, coupled with some of the most insane, stomach-turning gore and makeup effects that have ever been put to film.
Gone are the plodding pace and lumbering plant-monster of the original, replaced with an intensifying, paranoid claustrophobia and a shape-shifting nemesis that might be standing right next to you in the form of a trusted buddy or an innocent dog… until it's exposed, and the madness begins. Rob Bottin's bizarre special effects setpieces, featuring such famously insane sights as a severed head sprouting spider legs and an open chest cavity becoming a giant, gnashing mouth, are still considered among the greatest ever 35 years after the fact.
Carpenter's direction was never more disciplined, and the stellar cast includes Keith David, Wilford Brimley and Carpenter muse Kurt Russell at his steeliest and most badass. The world may not have been ready in 1982, but perhaps no film has undergone such a dramatic critical reappraisal. Originally dismissed as "instant junk" and a "geek show," The Thing is now widely recognized as one of the best horror films of all time.