I don’t scare easily, but I’ve watched a few movies over the years that, for one reason or another, disturbed me; these movies include Hollow Man and Alien, which I had the good fortune to see on opening night. (Remember the scene in Alien where the facehugger leaped out of the egg? It rained popcorn in the theater on that day.) Those two films are on my list of top 10 disturbing geek movies, but both pale in comparison to my number one pick: John Carpenter’s The Thing. If you’re unfamiliar with this movie, consider yourself lucky.
The story is about being trapped and never knowing who can be trusted, who is what they appear to be, and who is some sort of thing. The movie starts out showing men on an American research base going about their normal tasks, but things don’t stay normal for long when a dog being chased by a Norwegian helicopter appears. Through an accident, the helicopter is destroyed, and one of the two surviving Norwegians is killed. Perhaps if one of the Americans knew Norwegian, they would have understood this warning, “Se til helvete og kom dere vekk. Det er ikke en bikkje, det er en slags ting! Det imiterer en bikkje, det er ikke virkelig! KOM DERE VEKK IDIOTER!!” Unfortunately, the Americans only learned in hindsight that the Norwegians were saying, “Get the hell outta there. That’s not a dog, it’s some sort of thing! It’s imitating a dog, it isn’t real! GET AWAY YOU IDIOTS!!”
Though it’s not apparent at first, one by one, the Americans are replaced by The Thing until only a handful of humans remain. It is only when the situation begins to deteriorate that there is a glimmer of hope, which is quickly extinguished because you never learn if one of the two survivors has a surprise for the other. However, after reading John W. Campbell’s novella Who Goes There? years ago and Peter Watts‘ short story The Things on Clarkesworld Magazine a couple of months ago, I suspect that there’s a surprise in store for MacReady.
And, because I know readers will ask, the other seven titles on my top 10 most disturbing geek movies list are Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, I Am Legend, Predator, the original The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Matrix, and Jumper.
What geek movie do you find most disturbing? Tell us in the discussion.
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