COCOON
1985, 20th Century Fox, 117 min, USA, Dir: Ron Howard

Senior citizen troublemakers Art (Don Ameche), Ben (Wilford Brimley) and Joe (Hume Cronyn) have seemingly discovered the fountain of youth during one of their nightly excursions to an unattended swimming pool. After their swim, their ailments and fatigue dissipate and they begin to experience a renewed energy. Little do they know that the source of the pool’s power involves a pair of extraterrestrial visitors, who are eager to enlist the men’s help in an elaborate plot to return home. Featuring Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg and Maureen Stapleton, this Ron Howard sci-fi classic won Oscars for Best Visual Effects and Best Supporting Actor (Ameche).


THE THING
1982, Universal, 109 min, USA, Dir: John Carpenter

Director John Carpenter took the 1951 sci-fi classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, produced by Howard Hawks, and turned it into something darker, fiercer and altogether more disturbing, pitting sombrero-wearing helicopter pilot Kurt Russell and a crew of Arctic scientists (Wilford Brimley, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart) against a ravenous, shape-shifting alien being. From the haunting opening shots of a sled dog fleeing across the snow, to the apocalyptic, fire-and-ice ending, this ranks with Ridley Scott’s ALIEN as one of the finest (and most beautifully crafted) sci-fi films of the past 30 years. The film was terribly underrated by critics on its initial release, but its stock has constantly risen in the ensuing decades as one of the most intelligent, scary and uncompromising horror films of the 1980s. Also starring Keith David and David Clennon.


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