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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
548 ( 12)

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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:

Anytime. Anywhere. Anyone. 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

Gross USA:

$19,629,760

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,629,760
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

William F. Nolan wrote a draft for a remake of The Thing from Another World which was more loyal to the original short story ("Who Goes There?") before John Carpenter took over the project. Nolan writes about this in the introduction to "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell Jr.. See more »

Goofs

(at around 44 mins) Macready says "It's forty below outside." That would be a freakishly warm winter day in inland Antarctica, where winter temperatures are closer to minus 80 Fahrenheit (minus 62 Celsius). See more »

Quotes

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

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Scariest Movie Monsters (2016) 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 »

User Reviews

 
Right up there with "Halloween"--one of Carpenter's best!
6 December 2003 | by preppy-3See 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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