20 Socially Conscious Horror Movies

15 of 21

The Thing (1982)

The Issue: Communism, the Red Scare

The Movie:

In Antarctica, a Norwegian helicopter is chasing a dog to a nearby American research station. The helicopter crashes and a man gets out and continues shooting at the dog. One of the Americans shoots the Norwegian and kills him. Several of the Americans head to the Norwegian camp to look for an explanation but find the place destroyed and a burnt corpse with two faces. They bring the corpse and a series of videotapes. They perform an autopsy on the corpse and find it to have normal human organs.

The Norwegian dog is placed in a kennel with other dogs, where it transforms and attacks them. The crew manage to incinerate the creature and perform another autopsy. They come to the conclusion that whatever the creature is, it can perfectly disguise itself as other organisms. They go over the Norwegian’s team research and find a flying saucer that is 100,000 years old. One of the team members fears the alien could destroy all of civilization if it escaped their base and destroys all communication and means of escape.

MacReady (Kurt Russell) is believed to be the create after someone finds his torn shirt. They decide to take a blood test, as the creatures blood will react to heated copper wire, while human blood would not. MacReady’s blood is fine, but another crew member is infected. They kill him and MacReady discovers the station’s power generator has been attacked. MacReady believes the alien is trying to hibernate at the base until the rescue team arrives, so he destroys the base. One other crew member survived and neither trust that the other isn’t the alien. Since they have no hope for survival anyway, they warily share a bottle of whiskey.

What It’s Saying:

Do you really know the people around you? Are they who they say they are? Is it possible they are sleeper agents? Or is this whole ‘Cold War’ thing just about mutually assured destruction and we should relax and split a bottle of whiskey together?