My Favorite Horror Movie
I’ve been writing for awhile now, long enough to get a bit wistful from time to time. Now that my first novel, Still Dark, has finally released, it’s fun to look back on the many influences that got me here.
I’m not so different than most horror fans when it comes to what I like. Books, movies, music, and games all sort of just blend together. From time to time, people ask me. “What’s your favorite (fill in the blank).” In most cases, I don’t always have a great answer. In all honesty, there are plenty of times that the last really good piece of entertainment I consumed feels like my favorite. In other words, my ‘the best thing EVER’ in my mind changes with the wind.
Except for horror movies. I always have a good answer for when someone asks me what’s my favorite horror movie. Oh, it might change at some point, and there could be a new flavor of the week to bump it off the list from time to time. But at this point, after a solid decade plus of watching this film at least once, maybe twice per year, I’m quite certain that my favorite horror movie is…
I know, it’s not the most original answer, but dammit, it’s a good one. John Carpenter’s remake of the classic story Who Goes There is seeped in dread and paranoia. Scene after scene unfolds giving us just enough information to make us think we know what’s going on, but we never really do. The whole movie is a puzzle, and we keep getting pieces that don’t quite connect. I’ve watched The Thing so many times now, and I almost always get something new out of it.
It’s a subtle type of storytelling, one that I still don’t think I’m confident enough to attempt. Carpenter trusted his audience to fill in the blanks, and years after the film’s sputtering at the box office, a thousand in-depth essays and studies have proven his faith well founded. It’s been picked to pieces by people far smarter than me, and my favorite read of the bunch is of the ending.
After destroying the research station and leaving the thing no place to hide, MacCready rests out by the burning ruins, waiting to die. Then, Childs emerges from the ruins and the two decide to wait together, neither sure if the other is the shapeshifting thing. Taken at a glance, it’s a nice, ambiguous ending, but some think it hides the truth in plain sight.
Before the movie ends, MacCready offers Childs a drink, which the latter happily takes. Keen eyes noticed that the bottle matches the Molotov cocktails that MacCready used to burn down the station. Was it liquor or gasoline? And more importantly, would the thing know the difference? It sounds far out, but watch it again and notice the little chuckle Kurt Russell gives as Keith David takes a sip.
The movie is full of stuff like that, little choices that the actors make based, no doubt, on the direction they were given from Carpenter. It takes The Thing from being just a good horror movie to a legitimately good movie on its own terms. If you haven’t watched it in awhile, give it another shot. It’s a hell of a good flick.
When a thunderous explosion rocks an idyllic cabin resort in the Great Smoky Mountains, animals and humans alike begin to act strange. Jim, along with his wife Laura and son, Sam, are cut off from the outside world, but they soon realize the true nightmare is just beginning…
Deep in the snow-covered woods, something is waiting. The creature calls itself Apex, and it’s a traveler. Reading the minds of those around it, Apex brings the terrifying fears hidden in the human psyche to life with a singular purpose: to kill any that stand in its way.
Locked in a fight for their lives, Jim and his family must uncover the truth behind Apex, and stop the creature from wreaking a horrifying fate upon the rest of the world!