The Thing (1982)

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
The Thing (1982) Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Gory fear fest is a classic the faint-hearted should skip.
  • R
  • 1982
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 50 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Trust is fragile. When faced with horror and death, the instinct for survival may overwhelm our innate or learned humanity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though several of the characters, including the lead player, show some admirable qualities, for the most part, it's "every man for himself," and people under stress and in fear for their lives exhibit selfish, untrusting, and unheroic behavior.

Violence

This film is about as gruesome as movies get, though it's so over-the-top, it almost becomes campy. Body parts are ripped off people and dogs. Humans, animals, and an alien life force are continuously blown up, mutilated, burned, strangled, and shot (including one man shot in the eye). Men and dogs are transformed into aliens by stretching, melting, sprouting tentacles, and forming hideous teeth. An autopsy is performed close up as organs are taken from it. Dogs are stalked and killed by aliens, other dogs, and by humans. There are many shots of the bloody aftermath of alien attacks including a decapitated head rolling around and grisly bodies found in grotesque positions. Dark, suspenseful music builds to scene after scene of sudden scary assaults.

Sex
Language

Occasional use of swearing and obscenities, from "hell," "damn," "ass" to "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," and "motherf--ker".

Consumerism

J & B Scotch whiskey, Chevron.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Leading character uses alcohol as a crutch in several scenes. Other players drink as the tension increases. One man smokes marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is graphically violent, gory, grisly, and frightening, though it's so over-the-top and dated that the gore is almost campy. Humans and dogs are the victims of monstrous alien beings attempting to destroy them. They are hideously ugly creatures with slimy tentacles, pulsing muscles, jagged teeth, and screeching howls. They imitate other life forms and take over living beings suddenly, turning a beautiful dog into a raving, slathering beast, or a man into a giant, multi-limbed, oozing mass of pus and muscle. The movie has occasional swearing ("f--k," "ass," "d--k," "s--t,") and the leading man drinks whiskey straight from a bottle several times, others drink occasionally, and one character smokes a marijuana cigarette.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymyopinionisbest May 23, 2017

One of the best horror films ever made

If you're a fan of claustrophobic, isolated thrillers and horror films, and you haven't seen this movie, get a copy and watch it immediately! I starte... Continue reading
Adult Written byKing Gerald May 23, 2020

This film is best viewed while eating noodles.

The creature unravels and stretches like spaghetti when it takes a new form, which is why you must eat noodles for an authentic viewing experience. Tomato soup... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 5, 2012

Goriest sci fi film ever

Even though it is 30 years old, the movie still has gruesome scenes. Half of the gory scenes are sudden and will make you jump. Surgeries are performed, heads a... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 21, 2020

Great story but extremely gory

Commen Sense have over rated this movie I have watched just over half of it and it doesn't seem that bad. However my dad doesn't let me see the really... Continue reading

What's the story?

Isolated in Antarctica, the scientists in a research facility are under assault from alien creatures released after a long burial in the icy terrain. As one by one, the men meet horrific ends, it's an increasingly terrifying and violent battle for survival.

Is it any good?

Made in 1982, before the explosion of digital filmmaking, this iconic combination of horror and science fiction is often considered a landmark achievement by famed horror director John Carpenter.

By today's standard, some of the grisly effects and the grotesque mounds of tentacles, teeth, and muscle that serve as the monster, seem oddly tame, though they would still be highly disturbing for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the use of frequent use of violence and gore in this film. What do you think the filmmaker's purpose was?  

  • Were the scariest moments because of onscreen mayhem or because of suspense-filled moments when you didn't know what was going to happen? Describe your feelings about and reactions to each type of "horror." Why do people like to be scared?

  • Did the ending surprise you? Did you find yourself projecting what might have happened afterwards? Is that projection a measure of a movie's success?

  • How does this version compare to the more modern one?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

Our editors recommend

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