Soundtrack Review: The Thing (1982)

The Thing (Re-Release)
Released in 2011 by BuySoundtrax Records
16 Tracks with a total running time of 61 min.
Music by Ennio Morricone & John Carpenter

I can’t believe I had never reviewed this score here! Next to Carpenter’s score for The Fog, this has been my favorite of his work. Yes, this is a collaboration between him and Ennio Morricone, but since I’m not sure either of them came out and said specifically who did each of the bits of music, I’m going to concentrate this review on the score as a whole. Though, I will say that when I first bought the LB soundtrack to this, listening to it over and over again, I do remember thinking “damn . . . there are some parts in here that sound a LOT like something Carpenter would have done!”

The original release of the score actually had tracks that weren’t even in the film, as well as leaving out tracks that were. So, with this release, we get to not only hear the more, an extra 10 minutes more, but it is laid out in order of the way it is in the film.

This is a score that immediately takes you back to the film, but where most scores take you to maybe a specific scene, this score takes you back to the feeling of the film, that sense of dread that just permeates from the screen. The score starts off with the Main Title, when we see the spaceship coming through space and crashing on Earth. It is less than 2 minutes, but it really sets up the mood of the film. We then immediately go into the Main Theme / Desolation, which is probably my favorite of the whole score and really fits the entire movie’s theme. With this heartbeat style of notes, just going over and over, with the long strings coming in over it, brings me chills just hearing it.

It’s tough for a score to have very few notes or melodies that can work through an entire picture, but what Morricone and Carpenter have done is just perfect. You don’t want something that is going to overpower the scenes on screen but add to it, and that is exactly what they have done here. It helps amplify what we are seeing with the characters, what they are feeling, and enhances what we are feeling as we watch all of this play out.

Damn . . . this score is just incredible.

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