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The Thing (1982)

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3:47 | Clip
A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Director:

John Carpenter

Writers:

Bill Lancaster (screenplay), John W. Campbell Jr. (story)
Popularity
590 ( 20)
Top Rated Movies #164 | 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt Russell ... MacReady
Wilford Brimley ... Dr. Blair (as A. Wilford Brimley)
T.K. Carter ... Nauls
David Clennon ... Palmer
Keith David ... Childs
Richard Dysart ... Dr. Copper
Charles Hallahan ... Vance Norris
Peter Maloney ... George Bennings
Richard Masur ... Clark
Donald Moffat ... Garry
Joel Polis ... Fuchs
Thomas G. Waites ... Windows (as Thomas Waites)
Norbert Weisser ... Norwegian
Larry Franco ... Norwegian Passenger with Rifle
Nate Irwin Nate Irwin ... Helicopter Pilot
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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 is 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:

The ultimate in alien terror. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some examples of the vitriol which greeted the film; David Ansen of Newsweek called it "an example of the New Aesthetic - atrocity for atrocity's sake" while Alan Spencer for Starlog contended that "John Carpenter was never meant to direct science fiction horror movies. He's better suited to direct traffic accidents, train wrecks, and public floggings". See more »

Goofs

Flamethrowers would be useless in Antarctica, especially outside. Gasoline (even in the form of napalm) has too high a freezing temperature to forced out of a tank without solidifying. While there may be heating torches used, these would probably be LNG (liquified natural gas) and not napalm. They also wouldn't shoot flames out as far as a flamethrower. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
MacReady: Poor baby, you're starting to lose it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Universal logo doesn't appear until right after the movie's over See more »

Alternate Versions

The American syndicated televison version features:
  • A voiceover for title card reading "Antarctica, 1982".
  • A voiceover added and film re-cut introducing each character and providing their back stories.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in White Noise 2: The Light (2007) 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 »

User Reviews

A Timeless Look in Paranoia, a Horror Classic
5 August 2002 | by ChadKuhnsSee all my reviews

Just to put things in perspective for you before I get into my thoughts on this film, I am only 20 years old and have grown up in the era of CGI, blue screen effects...and this movie was made around the same time i was born.

With that said, WOW, I only recently saw John Carpenter's version of 'The Thing', and what a masterpiece it truly is. I have long since been a fan of John Carpenter, in particular his works from the late 70's and 80's. In 'The Thing' John Carpenter has truly crafted a paranoia inducing, perhaps gut wrenching classic.

The movie is an update of the classic 'The Thing From Outer Space', but only like it's predecessor, this film is in full color, and the characters of this film have much more to worry about than an alien veggie

The film centers around a group of Arctic Researchers you encounter an alien lifeform capable of taking the form of anything it comes into contact with, and out of for that matter. Kurt Russell stars as R.J. MacReady, an alcoholic Vietnam Vet, thrust into the role of leader of a group of relatively cold and callous men all of whom are readily plunging into manic paranoia and somewhat madness once they realize that they are up against a creature that can take any form, be any one of them.

John Carpenter, more than in any other of his films, manages to create a truly believable and incredible atmosphere. When watching this film you truly get the sense of the dark,sinister, desolate surroundings, you feel and realize that these characters have no where to go...never for one second do you not believe they are stuck on a polar ice cap. Also, this film has perhaps one of the greatest endings to any film of it's genre, or any genre for that matter. I'm not going to give it away here, but to say that it will leave you wondering would be an understatement.

Kurt Russell is superb as MacReady....truly conveying the emotions of a man thrust into a situation of unimaginable horror, forced to lead a group of men who cannot trust that the man next to them is not the creature that has driven them to the brink of paranoia and emotional meltdown.

I don't care if this movie is 20 years old by now, the special effects in this movie are gut wrenching, mind blowing, and absolutely awesome. They blow away any CGI pixel based crap out there today. The 'Thing' itself is a truly horrifying and disturbing creation...unlike any alien you have ever seen in a movie before. Those who have a low tolerance for gore and blood had best prepare themselves for watching this movie.

This movie does what any good horror/sci fi movie should do, it really thrusts you into it's character's world. It leaves you wondering, what would you do, who could you trust if anyone you knew could be the creature waiting to feed on you, and take you over as well. The images, and ideals of this movie stayed with me long after i first saw it, and today as i write this review send a chill up my spine.

It is a true shame this movie is only now getting the proper recognition it deserves. A box office flop when released, now more then ever when movies are paper thin with plot, and one dimensional in effects, this film can be appreciated as a true masterpiece of sci/fi and horror.

If possible, get the Collector's Edition DVD, and enjoy it in anamorphic widescreen..the way it is truly meant to be seen. Marvel at the incredible scenery, the taught direction, the excellent atmosphere, the sweat inducing, gag reflex activating, and everything else that makes this movie great.

Watch it with the lights out, with a group of close friends...maybe even with a dog around...if you don't what i'm talking about...you will afterwards.

Don't let a classic pass you bye


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Norwegian

Release Date:

25 June 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's The Thing See more »

Filming Locations:

Juneau, Alaska, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,107,897, 27 June 1982

Gross USA:

$19,629,760

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,629,760
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (VHS)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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