To date, this is the scariest monster ever. Freddy Krueger can invade your dreams, the Thing can invade your thoughts and memories. How can you protect yourself from this? I especially liked the concept that you never know who the alien is. It could be your best friend and you wouldn’t know until it had you. I saw the original years ago and it scared me for many decades afterward.
The bleakness of the setting adds to the mystery and tone of solitude. It makes you feel like they are abandoned with only their potential friends and this alien with a hidden agenda. It is never really clear exactly what it plans to do once it conquers all. Add to it the fact that they’re trapped in this cold lifeless place and you have a remarkable setting for fear.
I love the way it portrayed humanity as anything but. Once man develops fears of his own kind, paranoia turns him into an animal. He will kill and not care in the name of self defense. Paranoia is an infectious disease where everyone and everything is feared. It also can initiate an open season on murder without guilt.
The ending is as bleak as the setting when McCready and Childs drink whiskey and wait to freeze to death, thinking one is the Thing, but not knowing which one. I think one of the most appealing things about this one is that you’re not sure if black is black or white and vice versa. There is no stability in your belief system.