THE THING
1982, Universal, 109 min, USA, Dir: John Carpenter

Director John Carpenter took the 1951 sci-fi classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, produced by Howard Hawks, and turned it into something darker, fiercer and altogether more disturbing, pitting sombrero-wearing helicopter pilot Kurt Russell and a crew of Arctic scientists (Wilford Brimley, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart) against a ravenous, shape-shifting alien being. From the haunting opening shots of a sled dog fleeing across the snow, to the apocalyptic, fire-and-ice ending, this ranks with Ridley Scott’s ALIEN as one of the finest (and most beautifully crafted) sci-fi films of the past 30 years. The film was terribly underrated by critics on its initial release, but its stock has constantly risen in the ensuing decades as one of the most intelligent, scary and uncompromising horror films of the 1980s. Also starring Keith David and David Clennon.


THE FLY
1986, 20th Century Fox, 100 min, USA, Dir: David Cronenberg

This new version of the 1958 sci-fi hit isn’t just a remake but a complete reimagining, with director David Cronenberg mixing in his own sensibilities about organic life and its startling mutability. Teletransporter inventor Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) inadvertently mixes his genes with a house fly’s when he decides to use himself as test subject. His future as a human being, including his romance with science writer Veronica (Geena Davis), changes forever as he begins a slow slide into a gooey half-man/half-insect, complete with superpowers and messianic delusions of grandeur. Chris Walas and Stephen Dupuis won Oscars in 1987 for Best Make-Up.


FLATLINERS
1990, Sony Repertory, 115 min, USA, Dir: Joel Schumacher

An all-star cast of med students (Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt) experiment with death, stopping each others' hearts and "flatlining" before being revived. Until, that is, they discover their exercise has unleashed the secrets of their past in a supernaturally terrifying manner.


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