Over the weekend I watched John Carpenter’s The Thing for what probably is the 10th or so time, since being nothing short of terrified by it as a child of 8 or 9 years old.
While we can discuss one of Carpenter’s seminal piece of work from the eighties, when he could seemingly do no wrong, until the cows come home; I wanted to discuss the work done by special effects guru Rob Bottin.
Rob Bottin – SFX Master
The horror genre is one of the particular genre where special effects work is really lauded and praised to the heavens, because the best kind of effects make for the scare or the gore which the fans desire.
Tom Savini is lauded for his work on such high profile franchises as Friday the 13th, with Bottin’s work not forgotten but not talked about in the same terms.
Lest we forget before his work on The Thing he had previously collaborated with Carpenter on another fine genre piece in the guise of the seaside revenge thriller The Fog.
It was Carpenter who took a chance on Bottin for The Fog, which in turn lead to The Howling a year later and then returning to the Master of Horror for The Thing twelve months later.
We sometimes forget that The Thing was a remake of the 1950’s The Thing From Another World, and a very risky project for all involved.
The shameful thing if you can excuse the pun, is that it bombed big time at the Box Office after being released around the same time as Spielberg classic E.T The Extra Terrestrial.
But with over 30 years on the clock and counting, the film has gained notoriety and is arguably one of the finest science fiction films ever made.
For Bottin there was some challenge effects to conjure up, including the infamous chest chomp as well as the head crawling off using its extended tongue.
How can we forget the two heads melted into one, a truly horrific and yet wonderful piece of special effects.
Bottin did go on to work on classic films such as Robocop, Total Recall and Fight Club, but he always stated how grateful he was to Carpenter for the opportunity to showcase his talents on The Fog and The Thing.
So just remember the next time you’re looking for your gore fix with the added bonus of an actual plot to go with it; look no further than John Carpenter’s The Thing; a true classic.