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The Thing (1982)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  25 June 1982 (USA)
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Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people it kills.



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


An American scientific expedition to the frozen wastes of the Antarctic is interrupted by a group of seemingly mad Norwegians pursuing and shooting a dog. The helicopter pursuing the dog explodes, eventually leaving no explanation for the chase. During the night, the dog mutates and attacks other dogs in the cage and members of the team that investigate. The team soon realizes that an alien life-form with the ability to take over other bodies is on the loose and they don't know who may already have been taken over. Written by Goth <brooks@odie.ee.wits.ac.za>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Man is The Warmest Place to Hide. See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

25 June 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's The Thing  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$13,782,838 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Producers Lawrence Turman and David Foster's first choice of director was John Carpenter. This however was rejected by Universal as they had Tobe Hooper under contract. Hooper submitted two screenplay drafts, neither of which were liked by the powers that be. In the meantime, Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) had both come out and been monster hits so Universal reconsidered and hired Carpenter. See more »


(at around 8 mins) When the helicopter explodes there are almost no parts near it. Later while it is getting extinguished, there are many small parts burned near it. Also the whole main rotor-blade is missing. It was on the helicopter just after the explosion. See more »


Childs: You're gonna have to sleep sometime, MacReady.
MacReady: I'm a real light sleeper, Childs.
See more »


Spoofed in Knight of the Living Dead (2005) See more »


Written and Performed by Stevie Wonder
Courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Intelligent Splatter
28 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is another one of those films that I remember staying up late to watch on TV, scaring the crap out of myself at the impressionable age of 12 or so and dooming myself thereafter to a life of horror movie obsession. This is a GREAT movie, and stands as living proof that there were indeed realistic effects before CGI.

Set on an isolated base in Antarctica, this version seems almost to pick up where the original version (The Thing From Another World) left off. The American scientists discover a decimated Norwegian base some miles distant. Everyone is dead, and only the half charred remains of some unidentifiable thing left to smolder outside the compound might offer any answers to what may have happened. The Thing is brought back to the American base and, too late, the scientists realize that it is alive and lethal. The Thing thaws out and is off, not only killing anyone and anything that crosses Its path, but also absorbing them, making Itself into whoever and whatever it wants. The film then turns into a brilliant paranoia piece. Everyone is suspect, anyone can be The Thing, and no one trusts anyone anymore. Gone is the strength and security found when human beings band together in spite of their differences to battle a monster. The group splinters and fear rules supreme. Who is the Thing?

The gore effects here are absolutely amazing and messily realistic. I could have done without the dogs head splitting open like a banana peel, but that's just the animal lover in me being picky: kill all the humans you want, but leave the kitties and puppies alone. Sanity and reason disintegrate rapidly as, one by one, the humans are taken over by the shapeshifting alien. The power of this film lies in its paranoia, and although I liked the original version, I prefer this one; the real threat lies within, and is scarier for the fact that it cannot be seen or easily detected. When it is forced out of hiding, it's wrath is huge and the results are horrific.

This is one of Carpenters best films, right up there with The Fog and Halloween. All of the actors give strong, realistic performances and the special effects are so powerful that they stand as their own main character. This film has something for any lover of the horror genre. Don't miss it.

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