7 – THE THING (1982)
Along with Eraserhead, this film elicited the most WTFs from me when I first watched it. It retains its power 30 years on. Few films can be set in wide open spaces and produce an unbearably claustrophobic atmosphere. A huge influence on my novel The Unblemished – I was deeply scared by the idea of the monster that looks like us in order to get close to us – The Thing is a story drenched in paranoia and tension that builds and builds. You find yourself swearing at the cast when they lose track of the alien again. Back to square one and another agonising wait to discover who’s it. Solid performances all round, including the dogs… And what was Rob Bottin on? The incredible effects he created for the film (he was what… 21… 22 at the time?) were ahead of their time and one of the main reasons the film merits revisiting. For me, John Carpenter’s finest moment.