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The Thing (1982)

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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
473 ( 95)

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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:

Man is The Warmest Place to Hide. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$13,782,838
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Whether or not Fuchs burned himself or the Thing burned him is hard to say. It is possible that he burns himself upon learning that MacReady could be a Thing after discovering the ripped jacket. He could have burned himself if the Thing had come to attack him. The Thing could have burned him just as a way of getting rid of him. After discovering Fuchs' dead body, MacReady and Nauls head up to MacReady's shack to look around when they see the lights on inside after MacReady had claimed to have turned them off when he left the shack a day ago. Nauls returns alone claiming to have found a torn jacket with MacReady's named on it stuffed in MacReady's oil furnace in the shack (the same torn piece of clothing that Fuchs found on the ground just before his death). (1) Fuchs burned himself after discovering MacReady may be infected. Fuchs may have done this out of fear and confusion. Perhaps the Thing was setting him up as the person who was supposed to expose MacReady. If Fuchs had burned himself, it would explain why the Thing had to re-plant the evidence (the torn piece of clothing with MacReady's name stamped on it) in Mac's shack. (2) Fuchs killed himself by setting himself on fire with the lighted flare he had after a near-attack from the Thing who either followed him outside or was already outside waiting for him. The Thing may have tried to attack Fuchs, and in response Fuchs killed himself to prevent that from happening. This would also explain the evidence being re-planted. An intriguing variation on this theory is that Fuchs realized he himself was being taken over. It's been shown earlier that when a Thing is discovered, it will reveal itself and try to take action, so why would a self-realization not trigger the same reaction. The logic here is that Fuchs somehow realized he had been taken over or at least deduced some reason why there was a good chance of him being taken over. Then either the part of him already assimilated opted to change tactics to "hostile takeover" (similar to what happened to Bennings) or he simply decided to keep the process from being completed. Either way, he stopped it the only way he could, by lighting himself on fire. (3) Fuchs was murdered. The Thing may have killed Fuchs to make sure that there were no scientific minds capable of forming a test, as Blair was locked up and Copper had been drugged. It would have been easy to do; Fuchs was holding a lit flare, so dousing him in fuel would have probably done it. But possibility #3 (this) leads to another unanswered question; why not assimilate him? Fuchs was gone for an extended period of time, and it would have made the men very suspicious. It is important to note that a scene, though never released, details Fuchs as being impaled by a shovel, which would suggest one of the Things killed him. Another possibility is that Norris and Palmer (who were later revealed to be the Things) are seen with flamethrowers. It is possible that one of them got a hold of Mac's jacket and after ripping it he planned on placing it somewhere to frame Mac. But after Fuchs saw him (his shadow), he quickly threw Mac's jacket on the snow, maybe to lure Fuchs out on the open so he could have better shot at killing him with flamethrower. (4) Fuchs accidentally burned himself to death while attempting to fight a Thing. (5) Fuchs deliberately killed himself before he could be assimilated as a Thing. See more »

Goofs

(at around 39 mins) When Norris and Mac climb down into the crater and are walking towards the open hatch in the center, look on the far right hand side of the screen and you will see the head and arm of somebody come into shot and then disappear again. See more »

Quotes

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

Alternate Versions

The television broadcast version sometimes has an unknown person narrate the beginning of the film. He introduces all of the characters as they appear and gives a brief blurb about their goals/reasons for being there. At the end of the film, the narrator returns once more to deliver a haunting speech, and then a shot of the Huskie running away from the burning base is shown. This version often appears on TNT or TBS. This version also has so much of the gore edited out that originally deleted scenes are used as time fillers to extend existing scenes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fiends on the Run (2017) 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

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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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