The Thing—Universal (Blu-ray)

Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4.75/5
Extras: 3.25/5

In the winter of 1982, a twelve-man research team at a remote Antarctic research station discovers an alien buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Soon unfrozen, the form-changing alien wreaks havoc, creates terror and becomes one of them.

Without a doubt one of my favorite horror films of all time and in my opinion the greatest re-imagining of a sci-fi horror film. The Thing is a masterwork of tension, horror and imagery. Even today the insane make-up work and creature effects are unbelievable, and considering this film is over 25 years old, that is amazing. John Carpenter raised the bar with this one in so many areas that even today most films of this genre don’t come close. If you haven’t experienced this one yet, RUN out and get it now.

Universal did a great job with the HD DVD of this release and this Blu-ray looks to be every bit as good. The master used for this transfer seems to be in impeccable shape with great detail and dimension. The print shows very little wear and tear and the contrast levels and color balance are excellent. I was thrilled with the depth of image and how well shadow detail is preserved. You would never believe this film was shot in the early eighties. None of the bad color or softness so often displayed in that time period is there.

The DTS-HD Master Audio mix is outstanding in its delivery of Carpenter’s moody score. From the first pulses of the synth to the unsettling screams of the beasts, this track does a great job of effectively holding you in suspense from beginning to end. This was a film that understood atmosphere and used the sound design perfectly to hold you in utter suspense. The mix has a bit more dynamic punch than I remember the previous releases, almost to the point of being a bit overcooked. The sound doesn’t have a dated feel, which was nice, and the balance of sound effects and dialogue is excellent.

Universal has changed up the special features on this one compared to the previous HD DVD. The excellent documentary that was included on the special edition DVD and HD DVD is broken up and put into picture-in-picture form. You can access it using Universal’s U-Control interface and turn it on and off as you watch the film. A feature commentary with Kurt Russell and John Carpenter is also included.

Universal has done a superb job with the A/V presentation of this gem. This is a film that should be on every horror fans shelf. Highly recommended.