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The Thing (1982)

A research facility in Antarctica comes across an alien force that can become anything it touches with 100% accuracy. The members must now find out who's human and who's not before it's too late.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr. Blair (as A. Wilford Brimley)
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Windows (as Thomas Waites)
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Norwegian Passenger with Rifle (as Larry Franco)
Nate Irwin ...
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Storyline

A US research station, Antarctica, early-winter 1982. The base is suddenly buzzed by a helicopter from the nearby Norwegian research station. They are trying to kill a dog that has escaped from their base. After the destruction of the Norwegian chopper the members of the US team fly to the Norwegian base, only to discover them all dead or missing. They do find the remains of a strange creature the Norwegians burned. The Americans take it to their base and deduce that it an alien life form. After a while it is apparent that the alien can take over and assimilate into other life forms, including humans, and can spread like a virus. This means that anyone at the base could be inhabited by The Thing, and tensions escalate. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Anytime. Anywhere. Anyone. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 June 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's The Thing  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,107,897 (USA) (2 July 1982)

Gross:

$13,782,838 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the scenes deleted from the movie include:
  • Doc and Blair checking the corpse of the dead Norwegian that Garry killed. Garry takes the Norwegian's ID tags and reads his name, Jans Bolen. Childs is asked by Garry if the Norwegian said something before he was shot, and Child's response is, "Am I starting to look Norwegian to you, bwana?"


  • Norris goes to Mac's shack and tells him that he needs to fly the helicopter over to Norwegian base.


  • Mac and Doc checking the destroyed Norwegian base longer and right after they find the giant block of ice where the thing was frozen, they also find the body of one more dead Norwegian stuffed inside the closet.


  • The rest of the crew sitting together and waiting for Mac and Doc back at outpost while two of them are at the Norwegian base.


  • Mac moving his stuff inside the base because cold weather outside is too much for his shack.


  • Doc and Fuchs checking the footage from the Norwegian base.


  • Mac watching some footage from the Norwegian base with his "friend", a blow-up doll.


  • Blair checking the Dog-Thing's dead body longer while the rest of the crew is asking questions about it. When Blair mentions that the thing is not dead yet, everyone back off from it.


  • Mac and Norris climbing out of the crater where the thing's UFO is located.


  • Mac shows everyone ripped clothes that Nauls found in his kitchen, revealing that whoever was wearing it is a large person; however, most of the crew members are therefore suspected to be the things.


  • Deleted sequence during the scene where some of the crew members are tied down when lights in outpost turn off, causing panic between the crew for some time before Mac and Palmer manage to fix it. John Carpenter mentioned in DVD commentary that the "Lights out" scene was deleted because it was lighted with blue light which didn't really work in the scene.


  • Originally, Fuchs was found dead by Childs and Palmer inside their greenhouse, pinned to a door with a shovel impaled into his chest (in original script, he was killed in the same way but with with an axe). There is a picture that shows Fuchs impaled with the shovel on the door; however, there is also one picture that shows rather a Fuchs-thing, still impaled and looked to be burned, but smiling.


  • Originally, Bennings was killed with a screwdriver from behind by an unidentified person in a blue coat (presumably Blair) while he was inside the kennel. Beginning of this scene where he enters the kennel, sees someone and says "Clark?" was used for early TV cuts and it was also in deleted scenes in Special Edition of the movie. Carpenter mentioned that he wanted to make Clark look more suspicious with this scene, but after viewing the scene in early previews, it didn't fit well with rest of the movie, and it felt more like something out of Carpenter's Halloween (1978).


  • Mac and Nauls are checking the Mac's shack when suddenly Mac's blow-up doll flies out through the shack's destroyed roof, scaring the hell out of both of them.


  • Blair-thing was originally shown onscreen much longer in really bad stop-motion scene which Carpenter deleted.


See more »

Goofs

(at around 52 mins) When MacReady goes to check the helicopter after he sees Blair, he is wearing a protective hood. After he hears the gun shot and runs out of the helicopter, his hood has disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Palmer: [forced at gunpoint to tie up the corpses of Clark and Dr. Copper] This is bullshit, Mac!
MacReady: Finish it, Palmer.
Palmer: They're dead, Mac!
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Thing (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

DON'T EXPLAIN
Music by Billie Holiday (uncredited)
Lyrics by Arthur Herzog Jr. (uncredited)
Performed by Billie Holiday
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good things come to those who wait
27 May 2000 | by (Copenhagen, Denmark) – See all my reviews

* * * * ½ (4½ out of 5)

The Thing

Directed by: John Carpenter, 1982

Looking back on John Carpenter's The Thing – today a highly treasured cult favourite – one has to wonder why it was dismissed by both the audience and critics when it first came out in 1982.

Steven Spielberg's extra terrestrial adventure about a sweet alien that phoned home (that stole the hearts of both children and adults world wide) had opened just two weeks before and was on its historic box office rampage. Bad scheduling may have had a greater impact than anything else on the fate of Carpenter's first big studio effort for Universal Pictures. Nobody was prepared – moreover wanted anything so dark, gory and scary as this genuine remake of the famous 1951 original. This was the time of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

It then makes for great movie history trivia, that The Thing has gained such a remarkable afterlife on video, DVD and television. Both financially and critically. Carpenter's version is less a remake of the Howard Hawks' version than a more faithful adaptation of John W. Campbell's short story "Who Goes There?' (on which both were based), and critics today point out how well Carpenter plays his characters against each other. Kurt Russell will never top this one, and he gets a brilliant sparring from the entire cast.

It opens in Antarctica with a sled husky running from a pair of crazed and armed Norwegian men in a helicopter. The scene is long, slow and uneasy. It feels like the Apocalypse. It oozes doomsday.

This scene comprises one of the greatest opening sequences in film history.

Ennio Morricone's moody synth score (heavy on naked thumping bass lines in classic Carpenter style), the windswept massive white of the desolate polar ice and the majestic husky running across the tundra chased by the chopper, compromises a completely mesmerizing piece of scenery.

A satisfying example of a movie that today – 18 years after – looks downright muscular in its simplicity.

The budget was big ($14 mill), yet it allowed Carpenter to visualize his ideas better than ever before. There's a brooding darkness to this film, making the whites and blues of the icy Antarctic claustrophobia seem poetic and almost angelic. Dean Cundey's extraordinary photography created a palpable chill to every shot. The careful preparation (the crew went into a record 11-month pre-production) paid off immensely.

Horror specialist Rob Bottin was handpicked for the many gory and grotesque special effects. Be warned – there's a lot of splatter and gore here. The Thing is actually notorious for its creature morphing scenes. Some find them disgusting, some mere cult.

An argument could be made against The Thing being an Alien rip-off; it has its origins in an old sci-fi story and it creates tension by popping a crowd of people (note: all-male) on an isolated outpost (an Antarctic research facility) terrorized by an alien life form.

Where Carpenter was clearly inspired by Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece, his own alien movie is original and intriguing in its own right. There's a rhythm and an environment that equals Scott's in every way.

The husky was in fact half-wolf and half-dog, and it was noted that it never barked or growled on or off the set (Horror Takes Shape, the making of - DVD version).

Watch in awe at the scene where it walks through the hallway and stares at a human shadow, slightly tilting its head forward in stalking position like a wild wolf. This is a fine piece of animal training, sure, but that's not the point. This is as spooky as anything ever made in a horror movie.

Carpenter had all the right tools here, and he utilized them to perfection, making The Thing his best movie alongside Halloween.


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