The Thing (1982) Movie Poster Image

The Thing (1982)



Gory fear fest is a classic the faint-hearted should skip.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1982
  • Running Time: 109 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.


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.

Not applicable

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


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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 25, 1982
DVD/Streaming release date:September 25, 2011
Cast:Keith David, Kurt Russell, Richard Dysart
Director:John Carpenter
Studio:Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Run time:109 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong, bloody violence and gore, grisly and disturbing images, some language and drug use

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Teen, 16 years old Written byDrSoup007 January 31, 2016

The Thing has the most perfect execution of terror and bone chilling ambiance.

This has instantly become one of my favorite horror movies, and probably one of my favorites of all time. The Thing has the most perfect execution of terror and bone chilling ambiance, using Ennio Morricone's heartpouding rhythmic beats to drive this constant feeling of dread into you. And John Carpenter's directing certainly doesn't go unnoticed, he is brilliant in his construction of this tale and his willingness to go after something so bizarre and simple. I had to look up his name, but Rob Bottin, is the heart and soul of this film. His breathtakingly horrific practical effects are so disgusting and beautiful it honestly makes the movie as perfect as it is. There are small issues, the writing hands everything to the audience on a silver platter, not leaving to much to the imagination, but most other complaints about this are borderline nitpicky. I would watch this again in a heartbeat, no questions asked.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byXtreme101 October 13, 2015

John Carpenter Cult Classic Is Frickin' Scary!

John Carpenter's The Thing is a terrifying experience. A feat that it accomplishes only too well at some points that it stops being a fun mystery and instead just feels negatively scary. But if pushing-the-envolope scary is your cup of tea, then go at it. The whole movie feels like this: One scene is kind of boring or uninteresting, while the next is intriguing, scary, and suspenseful. But, credit does have to be given to the Direction. John Carpenter tries to squeeze every last bit of suspense out of every scene. Also to Kurt Russell, who plays the main character, is confident enough that you can rely on him to not be "The Thing". And finally, for better or for worse, the makeup and animatronics are astounding and creative at the same exact time. They are so good that they lead to the "So scary it isn't fun anymore" point I made earlier. As for what is inappropriate, there is a ton of violence and gore. I cannot think of another movie that is more violent or gory. It's enough to make the faint of heart puke. Secondly, the language. There are a few uses of F--k but it's all but overshadowedt by all the violence and gore. Overall, this is a love it or hate it film, and I just happen to be in the middle.
Adult Written byoscar11111 January 25, 2016


Its a fantastic movie that is not a scary or gory as you may think. Definitely a classic and a must-see!