Tag Archives: The Thing


Just hear me out.

Before we begin, however, I acknowledge this method could be applied to any number of films and probably work just as well, but THE FIRM (1993) is my favorite Tom Cruise movie and after rattling around in my head for years, it’s nice to finally put these thoughts to paper.

If you’re reading this, I assume you know THE FIRM, but here’s a brief synopsis in case: Mitch McDeere (Cruise), an eager young attorney fresh off graduation from Harvard, chooses a small law firm out of Memphis, Tennessee from a seemingly endless line of suitors only to discover that when something seems too good to be true…

Oh, and a quick thought on the ranking breakdown: roles in THE FIRM was weighed more heavily than their contributions to the horror genre. If you wonder why Cruise is absent despite INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (1994) and LEGEND (1985), or why Holly Hunter was excluded with titles like THE BURNING (1981) and COPYCAT (1995) under her belt and knowing good and damn well that Tammy Hemphill is THE FIRM’s undeniable MVP — well, hopefully you’ll understand more after reading the article. QUICK CLUE: with this writer, a certain sci-fi television series will always win a coin flip).

Now, shall we join Bendini, Lambert & Locke for a little barbeque?


The least sinister or shady (insert whichever adjective you prefer that begins with the letter “S” here) amongst the firm’s hierarchy, the reality is that “any lawyer worth that offer” should’ve had Mitch sniffing things out when Hardin said he’d bribed a clerk in the Harvard law office so he could add 20 percent to MiDeere’s tender. Alas, that’s not what we’re here for. Hardin appeared in 11 episodes of THE X-FILES as the mysterious Deep Throat, who provided Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) cryptic information in the early stages of a show that, if you’re of a certain age, was without question appointment viewing.


Asking “why are you asking questions about dead lawyers” whilst brandishing a silencer and wagging a finger like a disapproving Dikembe Mutombo would send a shiver down the spine of the most stoic among us, but let’s get down to brass tacks. Look, the Nordic Man’s albino ass was absolutely terrifying, but as discussed in the open — it’s about the heft of character from THE FIRM — so as a trigger man, Tobin lands (rather appropriately) in the clean-up spot. Bell is certainly the heaviest-hitter on this list as the anchor for one of horror’s goliaths. Beginning with the OG in 2004, Bell has starred in the dual role of Jigsaw / John Kramer in eight of the SAW franchise’s nine films to date and is reportedly tied to the tenth installment due this October. Because, if you’ll recall, “if it’s Halloween, it must be SAW”.


At first glance, Holbrook cut quite a father figure, one that held sway with McDeere, but it didn’t take long for Mitch to learn that Lambert was behind the wheel of a deep, dark motor vee-hick-uhl chase that resulted in crash and burn for four lawyers–none of them over the age of 45–in less than ten years. Holbrook was nominated for an Oscar (INTO THE WILD, 2007) and his trophy case required Emmy and Tony Awards be dusted, but we’re going to focus on a pair of performances where you wouldn’t have expected him to be the bad guy: Father Malone in John Carpenter’s THE FOG (1980) and Henry Northrup in George A. Romero’s CREEPSHOW (1982). Holbrook just had a gentle way about him, and much like his role in THE FIRM, so why would you even consider this dude was up to no good? Well, some menacing mariners and Fluffified Adrienne Barbeau would like a word.


As our fearless leader Patti Pauley often points out, Gary Busey wrestled a godddamn werewolf. Do me a favor and read that out loud again, Maybe three times. But before I forget, Busey played a seedy private detective who had done time with Mitch’s brother Ray (it was so hard to leave David Strathairn off this list because DOLORES CLAIBORNE, 1995). Busey only got two scenes, but made the most of them, and brought Mitch and Tammy (Hunter) together, which if we’re honest, was why Mitch’s “more of a way through” succeeded in the first place. That said, back to wrestling a werewolf. Busey’s Uncle Red keeps us coming back to SILVER BULLET (1985). The one-liners — “I feel like a virgin on prom night” — never get old and though he took a bit of convincing, Red never lost faith in his niece and nephew when he easily could have just buried himself in a bottle of booze — which as I believe you do recall — Uncle Red was very good at. And if we could get back to wrasslin’ for the briefest of moments? It took a lot for me to rank anyone above Busey. I just needed to say that.


Even if Brimley had only been provided the opportunity to appear in the scene featured in the GIF above, he would have nailed the role of the firm’s frightening head of security. Not-so veiled threats and that glance before asking a question that required no answer. Don’t, for a single, solitary moment, allow yourself to believe that a dude who once peddled oatmeal (and battled diabeetus) couldn’t scare the ever-loving shit out of you. When it comes to Wil’s horror pedigree, we needn’t look further than Outpost 31. As Blair in John Carpenter’s THE THING (1982), Brimley again made the most of few words: “how long were you alone with that dog?”, “that thing wanted to be us!” and “I said watch Clark and watch him close.” The good doctor not only believed in the voodoo bullshit–but to bring the Quaker Oats full circle–knew sabotaging his own crew was the right thing to do. Brimley ripped the spotlight away from superstars like Cruise and Kurt Russell in both roles and stands atop the medal podium for his efforts.

HONORABLE MENTION — PAUL SORVINO as TOMMIE MOROLTO (with apologies to Ed Harris’ dance routine from CREEPSHOW)

“Avery, who’s in Chicago?” I’ll tell you who — a legend who gave us “we’re under attack by a popular dessert!”(THE STUFF, 1985) and knock-you-on-your-ass roles like Rotti Largo in REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA (2008). There was zero chance — ZERO — this scene didn’t make the cut.

Agree? Disagree? Have another non-horror movie in mind with a stellar spooky cast? Hell, shoot us ideas on topics you’d like to see tackled in this Quintessential Quintuplets series. Sound off in the comments and we’ll see you next week!


MICHAEL MYERS (RIP George P. Wilbur)



Welcome to 2023, Nostalgia Nuggets! It’s my New Year’s resolution to write more, so the curtain shall rise on a fresh top five from a new horror(ish) category every Sunday beginning right now. So, if you’d be so kind, come with me for a minute.

I am fully prepared for the crucifixions to come, beginning with this inaugural list you’ll be dissecting momentarily. But before we begin, just know two things:

First, I love alliteration (and JAWS) so for a serial that deals in fives the title and image just made sense. Second, though this piece pertains to characters from John Carpenter movies, I’d be remiss if I neglect to mention Debra Hill because without Debra Hill, there would be no John Carpenter.

Now, if you don’t mind, let’s dig in because “I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!”


Napoleon Wilson’s reputation preceded him. It was never specified what put him on death row, but it was clear that the mere mention of his name struck fear into the hearts of criminals and cops alike. Mysterious yet honorable with a dry sense of humor that pulled you in whether you liked it or not, Darwin Joston ATE as Napoleon Wilson. The man may have been a killer, but he had a code: give respect, get respect. Clearly disarmed when Bishop (Austin Stoker) apologized for not having a smoke, Wilson demonstrated courageous dedication to both the makeshift leader of Precinct 13 and Leigh (Laurie Zimmer), who finally provided Wilson with that long-awaited smoke. It was a loyalty that belied desire for pleasure or escape, because it was about the two things a man should never run from — and those two things landed Wilson on this list.


“I met him, 15 years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding in even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this… six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and… the blackest eyes – the Devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”

Some might call it fancy talk, but this single moment encapsulated Loomis’ obsession, the driving force behind one of the finest films (and performances) in horror history.


A former Vietnam helicopter pilot and functioning alcoholic who needed to get away from the world — only a little further than most. Mac just wanted to avoid whiteouts and sip J&B in his annexed shack outside Outpost 31 in Antarctica, but after setting out to “save those crazy Swedes” — one of whom shot Mac’s crew mate — strange discoveries began weighing on MacReady’s mind. When it becomes clear that an alien is targeting the camp to mimic and survive, Mac assumes the role of reluctant leader to a crew descending into desperation and distrust. In a stellar ensemble cast, Russell shines as the would-be hero in the wrong place at the right time.


“Who needs books?” We thought we were getting to know Lynda when P.J. Soles delivered that dialogue, but in a way she was describing Laurie: never judge a book by its cover. Audiences were led to believe that Strode was apprehensive and meek, but nothing could have been further from the truth. When the chips were on the table, the old Girl Scout not only protected the children under her care but outfought and out-thought the Boogeyman. In the process Laurie Strode became the blueprint by which all horror heroines are judged. As James Jude Courtney, Blumhouse’s Michael Myers has said, Jamie Lee Curtis is “the poster child for an empowered woman”, and has silver on lock.


We weren’t given much. Michael Myers stabbed his sister to death on Halloween night in 1963, spent the next 15 years at the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium waiting for a silent alarm to trigger him off, and apparently he could drive. But the absence of background and development was why we were fascinated in 1978 and remain so today. In the Haddonfield created by Carpenter (and Hill), evil was a force of nature. Forever lurking. Everywhere. Unstoppable. As a fleshed out character, The Shape has no business on this list let alone topping it, but 44 years after The Babysitter Murders we remain fascinated–nay, obsessed–with a character who has come to define the genre.

Agree? Disagree? Who’d we miss? The floor is open for debate, but know this: my original intent was to drop five characters from five different flicks. However, there was no way I could justify abandoning one of the immortal classic’s three titans.

Till next week…ta-ta.

Creature Feature: The Skeevie Inducing Norris-Thing

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Creature Feature: An ongoing tip of the hat to some of horror’s greatest monsters throughout the genre that don’t seem to get the recognition they wholeheartedly deserve.

Last October, some friends, the better half, and myself witnessed the glorious spectacle of John Carpenter live in concert. Now, normally I never bother to leave my Gollum cave of gloom and somber for shows and concerts these days unless it’s totally worth sliding some pants on for. But hey, this was John fuckin’ Carpenter and his orchestra playing the theme songs to some of horror’s finest films- his films. I sure as shit wasn’t going to pass this up and just as I had expected, it was a night to never be forgotten. From Halloween, They Live, and of course today’s focal point The Thing, it was a perfect way to head into Devil’s Night last October.

#thething #johncarpenter #horrormovies

A post shared by Patti Pauley (@misshorrorghoul) on

With what is arguably (I guess) one of John Carpenter’s greatest pieces of cinematic art turning 36 this week, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk a little about the goddamn Norris-Thing. In the 1982 film, we see a handful of variations of this “thing” ranging from an ordinary human, a cute husky, also a not-so-cute halfway transformed husky, to well-something ungodly such as this. Which in itself, comes in three (3) count em, forms of infested Norris all in under five minutes.


Nightmare Nostalgia -The Thing 1982

The poor geologist at the heart of the chaos located at Outpost 31 had suffered a heart attack, (could you really blame the guy for his life-pumper giving out under the circumstances?) His fellow comrades rushed a dying Norris to the medical ward in an attempt to jump-start his heart and holy eight-legged-fucks was that the worst idea ever.

In the case anyone here is unfamiliar haven not seen the film (for-shame), The Thing centers around a parasitic extraterrestrial life force that likes to imitate other organisms, thus ensuring an overabundant amount of paranoia in the group as everyone suspects each other as an “infected host”.

We good? Ok, back to Norris dying on the table.

Anyway, the defibrillator is shocking away and low and behold everyone, Norris was indeed a host for this otherworldly leech as the thing begins to extract himself from the ribcage of Norris and immediately defend itself. Norris’ chest transforms into a jaw trap so powerful, even Bruce the shark would be a little envious. After chomping away at what the Thing deems as an attack on itself, (stupid alien doesn’t know what a heart attack is), it mutates even further into a Norris-Snake-Thing that again, would give Freddy-Snake a run for his money. Enter the action of Kurt Russell, our epically bearded hero to the rescue and a flame-thrower to the Norris-Thing it is.  In the midst of the fire and flames, the Norris-Thing head tears away from its presently incinerating body, grows some spider-like legs and Linda Blair crab-walks it’s happy little self across the room inducing all the skeevies and dingleberries from fellow Outposters.

A few thoughts:

As I so eloquently stated above, it always sort of bothered me how this alien parasite didn’t realize he had copied a defective heart along with the rest of Norris. I guess I would just assume the alien would automatically see through that flaw with some alien-type goggles in its DNA, but we all know when you assume, you make an ass out of “u” and me. It’s just a little thing that I always thought about during that scene, not slamming it all mind you. Just sharing what goes on with hamster wheel in my head.

What makes this scene in particular so effectively terrifying above all others, (IMHO), is the “thing” shows just what lengths it will go to survive. Sure the monster magic is insanely gorgeous. I might even say, revolutionary for its time. And sure enough, induces all the skeevies inside you to come popping out to say, “Oh hello old friend!” Especially if you have a phobia of snakes, spiders, or severed heads with insect legs altogether. The point of the matter is, like a true ’80s slasher, it comes coming. It has an agenda and will stop at nothing to reach its goal. This “thing” could literally be anywhere, anyone, or any living thing. That’s the really terrifying part, my friends.

Because it takes a village to raise a child, and apparently a huge team of artists to make movie magic like this happen, I wanted to include this clip from CineFix. Which wonderfully showcases some behind the scenes action, facts, and trivia with director John Carpenter, Norris (Charles Hallahan), and crew involving this scene in particular. Also, here’s an Amazon link because right now, there’s a hot deal on the Blu-Ray for only $7.88!! If you don’t own it yet, now is a great time to snatch this classic up.

Happy Unofficial Thing Day!