The Thing (1982)
Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
As a pre-Halloween celebration, my friend and I watched a bunch of really good horror movies, and honestly it freaked me out a little. Not the horror aspect of the movies, but that I watched so many GOOD movies in a row. That never happens to me! Also, I’m amazed I haven’t reviewed this movie before now, it’s fantastic.
Kurt Russell and a group of scientists stationed in the Antarctic come across a stray dog being chased by a bunch of Swedes. They try to figure out what happened, but everybody is dead at the Swedish camp, and there seem to be no clues. At least, until the “dog” they brought in turns into a huge horrifying monster and tries to eat them, that’s a bit of a clue. It seems like they kill it, but this… “Thing” has the ability to look and act like anybody, turning the group against each other.
This really is a great horror movie. The effects are awesome and the timing is perfect, the script is just tight enough that there aren’t any extra bits that don’t add something to the story or are necessary to establish the mood. If I had any complaint, it’s that they show a spaceship at the beginning and the Thing is apparently trying to build it’s own spaceship to leave as well. That just… didn’t seem very relevant. It takes up all of half a minute of film and isn’t harped on or anything, so it’s easy enough to just not pay attention to or care about. That’s it, that’s my complaint. This is a very good movie.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner
Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter
Planet of the Apes is one of the most well-known, classic science fiction films ever made. Seriously, it is. I know, it’s goofy as hell and there are literally people in monkey suits everywhere, but the fact that it uses those silly elements to its advantage and has become so ingrained in our popular culture is amazing.
Four astronauts set off from Earth to a distant planet in cryogenic stasis, but something goes wrong and they’re in stasis for much longer than they expected. Also, they crash land on a planet and one of them dies immediately. They eventually find some primitive humanoids… who are treated as animals by a more advanced race of ape-people! The one astronaut left alive (Heston) becomes the pet project of a pair of ape scientists until he speaks and is tried for blasphemy by an orangutan court. He escapes with a hot, mute lady and they discover that the apes probably evolved from a more advanced human species.
I don’t want to spoil the ending… hahaha, what am I saying, every person in the world knows Rod Serling’s twist ending to this film. IT WAS EARTH ALL ALONG! MY GOD, THEY FINALLY DID IT! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELLLLL!!! Apart from the ending and a million other lines and situations in the film that are so often parodied or alluded to that you’re all familiar with them, this movie is great for the costuming, set design, score, and yes, even the acting. Charlton Heston is a ham, but he’s a damn good ham, and Roddy McDowall is no slouch himself. It’s really too bad that this movie spawned a million awful sequels/remakes/TV show spinoffs/whatever else, because it almost makes you forget that this is a legitimately great movie.
Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Starring: Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, Honor Blackman
In my opinion, Goldfinger is the best Bond movie. It’s a damn good movie on its own merits, even. I put Goldfinger up there with Raiders of the Lost Ark when it comes to fun and cool action/adventure movies. Stop reading this and go out and watch this movie right now, actually.
James Bond has to stop a madman named Auric Goldfinger, who has some massively evil scheme that, of course, involves gold somehow. Bond gets captured by Goldfinger and his mute henchman Oddjob and has to get aid from Goldfinger’s personal pilot, Pussy Galore. Ian Fleming sure knew how to name a character, you gotta give him that.
There are a lot of classic Bond elements in this film (LIKE GOLD! AHHHHH HAHAHAHA), lasers, Oddjob throwing his hat, that fight at Fort Knox, the dead naked chick covered in gold paint… Damn, this movie is so good. I don’t want to say anything else about Goldfinger before I start looking like a complete fool.
Blade Runner (1982)
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
I watched two really great movies back-to-back yesterday, this and Nineteen Eighty-Four. I’m gonna have to watch so many Italian horror movies to make up for this…
In the future, a company has made a bunch of humaniform robots, but they’re too good and also kinda murder-ey, so it’s illegal for them to be on Earth. When a group of them return to try and figure out a way to expand their four-year lifespan, a specialist is sent out to capture or kill them: a Blade Runner.
This is the most beautiful movie I’ve ever seen. Ridley Scott applies a film noir style that works perfectly with the futuristic cityscapes and creepy robot parlors… I obviously can’t explain it very well. As a human monster with only blackness in my heart, I just lack the faculties to describe true beauty. Instead, why don’t you just go ahead and watch Blade Runner yourself. You can consider it pre-gaming for Prometheus when it comes out, if you want, since the ads seem to be close to this than Alien.
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Directed by: Michael Radford
Starring: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a really great movie based on one of the most culturally relevant books of the 20th century. As such, I really don’t feel qualified to say anything about this movie. I mean, thirty minutes ago I was describing Hercules: A Sex Adventure, what could I possibly say here? Just warning you, so you can go read something else.
In a desolate future controlled by the state and a figure named Big Brother, John Hurt falls in love with a woman, which is entirely forbidden. The two of them explore all the emotions and thoughts that the state considers “thoughtcrimes”. Of course, they get caught, and are sent to “rehabilitation”, where they’re tortured and manipulated into accusing each other, confessing to crimes they didn’t commit, and eventually they even love Big Brother.
If you’ve never read the book this is based on, you’re missing out on a lot. If you’re not the reading type (c’mon, you know you want to be the reading type), this movie is a pretty good substitute. John Hurt and Richard Burton are both amazing, and the set design is beautiful. It’s all so dingy and run-down, it builds up this distinctive style that seems so… possible. I think Nineteen Eighty-Four is a perfect example of how powerful science fiction can be, it’s really one of my favorite movies.