How does this work? Well, I choose three films with a similar topic or like-minded theme that would compliment each other and put them in the order that represents a winner (the best film of the three), a place (second place finisher) and a show (the third place finisher). Meaning, if you are so inclined, you could have an afternoon or evening of like-minded films and work your way from the mediocre to the stellar of the bunch (or vice-versa if you're likely to fall asleep and don't want to save the best for last).
In previous editions I listed them as win-place-show. But I think I'm changing that up and listing them from "worst" to "best". In this virtual race, we spotlight three films that have you shivering and
Ice is one of those stand-alone episodes from the beginning of the series that laid the groundwork for the show's success. Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are on assignment in Alaska to determine why a group of scientists have turned up dead. The sense of dread that envelopes this tense hour of television is one of the main reasons I (and millions of others) developed such an affinity for the landmark series. After a look at the bodies of the dead scientists, they find a dog - alive - that has black nodules on his skin and deduce it must be bubonic plague. But things get even more perplexing (and unsettling) when they see something move under the dog's skin. When the helicopter pilot subsequently becomes ill and dies, they discover a parasitic worm moving under his skin and remove it, believing it to be the contagion. Naturally, Mulder believes the worm to be extraterrestrial, an idea Scully is not quite ready to entertain. In any event, the duo is determined to prevent the contagion from spreading to the rest of the world. Such a great episode, very reminiscent of John Carpenter's THE THING - and with good reason, as the concept for both came from John W. Campbell's Who Goes There?, a novel that also inspired 1951's THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD.
Although there are dozens of similar-type films about trouble in the Arctic, I had to choose one of my favorite films - and one of the best remakes in cinematic history. You all know what I'm talking about - our "win" film: THE THING (1982).
A group of researchers in the Antarctic head to a nearby Norwegian station to find out why their dog was fired upon by one of their helicopters (which in turn, crashed). They find a burnt-out station and a bizarre corpse that looks more inhuman than human and end up bringing it back to their station to do an autopsy on it. Without warning, the pursued canine horrifically mutates into an unrecognizable creature and tries to attack the men. One flamethrower later and the men are dissecting the monstrosity, only to discover it was in the process of imitating the men - or whatever else it is able to ingest. The men learn the Norwegians had found what appeared to be a spaceship in a block of ice estimated to be thousands of years old, and begin to wonder what may have escaped from it. One by one the men seem to turn on each other, unwilling to believe that they themselves have been "infected".
THE THING is a study in patience, dread, and true horror. A stellar cast led by Kurt Russell, combined with superb practical special effects and an impending sense of doom makes THE THING a winner in any category of film. You just can't go wrong. If this was an actual horse race, the odds would be even and the horse's name would be Secretariat.