What everyone thinks: The practical effects are the real draw. When it was first released in 1982 The Thing wasn't met with much fanfare. John Carpenter had directed some of the most popular genre films in recent years (Halloween, Escape from New York), but this one just didn't connect. You could argue the bleak visual style and tone, as well as the menacing alien, weren't want audiences wanted; they were much more into a more upbeat extra-terrestrial film that year in the form of E.T. Another argument is that it simply took people a while to realise just how good the practical effects were; even today they're more visceral than what computers can produce. The real reason it's good: The interplay is the real draw. Rob Bottin's astounding effects certainly make the shape-shifting 'thing' a tangible threat, but what makes the film such an engaging piece is locked in the characters. Opting to go all in and give the film an all male cast, Carpenter (and screenwriter Bill Lancaster) spent a lot of time working out the human interplay as well as the sci-fi trappings; on top of obviously finding Kurt Russell's MacReady a likeable hero, the film has you understand the motivations of each person trapped in the Antarctic.