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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


What you fear most... is among you. 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?


The three youngest cast members in The Thing; Thomas G. Waites, Keith David, and T.K. Carter were around 26, 25, and 24 during filming. See more »


The UFO is around 60 feet under ice. We are told it has been buried for 100,000 years. But the creature that crawled from it was found only a few feet under the ice. See more »


MacReady: I don't know. Thousands of years ago it crashes, and this thing... gets thrown out, or crawls out, and it ends up freezing in the ice.
Childs: I just cannot believe any of this voodoo bullshit.
Palmer: Childs, happens all the time, man. They're falling out of the skies like flies. Government knows all about it, right, Mac?
Childs: You believe any of this voodoo bullshit, Blair?
Palmer: Childs, Childs... Chariots of the Gods, man. They practically own South America. I mean, they taught the Incas everything they know.
Garry: So, come ...
See more »


Referenced in Wicked City (1987) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Right up there with "Halloween"--one of Carpenter's best!
6 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Remake of the classic 1951 "The Thing From Another World". 12 men are in a completely isolated station in Antartica. They are invaded by a thing from outer space--it devours and completely duplicates anything it chooses to. It starts off as a dog but gets loose--and has a chance to duplicate any of the men. Soon, nobody trusts anyone else--they're isolated--the radio is destroyed--their helicopter likewise. What are they going to do?

The 1951 film had the thing just be a big, super human monster. That movie was scary. This one is too--but the story is different (and based more closely on the source material--the novelette "Who Goes There?") and it's scary in a different way. The movie starts right off with Ennio Morricone's extremely eerie score setting just the right tone and--when the Thing gets attacked--the amount of gore is astounding. There's blood and body parts flying all over--arms are bitten off, heads detach and--in the strongest one--one man is devoured face first by the Thing. The gore effects are STRONG and real nightmare material. I don't scare easy but I had to sleep with the lights on when I saw this originally back in 1982. Rob Bottin's effects are just incredible--how this picture got by with an R rating is beyond me!

It also has a very creepy feel--gore aside, it is very suspenseful. You're not sure who is what and Carpenter's direction and the score really build up the tension. One complaint--no one is given any distinctive personality traits. They actors just remain straight-faced and say their lines. That's annoying...but the movie still works.

This was a critical and commercial disaster in 1982--it competed with "E.T." and MANY critics complained about the amount of gore and there being no female characters in the movie. It's now considered one of John Carpenter's best. A must-see...for strong stomaches. NOT a date film!

An amusing note: When this was released Universal sent a note along with all prints of the film. They suggested to theatre owners that they play the film in an auditorium near the rest rooms. They were afraid that people would be so sickened by the violence that they'd have to be close to a facility to throw up!

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