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
974 ( 16)
Top Rated Movies #159 | 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:

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a cast of 15, there's not one female character in the film (even the 1951 original had female characters). The only female presence in the film is the voice of MacReady's chess computer (and the contestants seen on the game show Palmer watches). A scene containing a female blow-up doll was filmed, then left on the cutting room floor. According to John Carpenter, originally one crew member was female, but she was pregnant, and it forced her to leave the production; she was replaced by a male. In contrast, the film's prequel The Thing (2011) has a female main character. See more »

Goofs

(at around 5 mins) When MacReady plays Chess Wizard and spills his drink into the circuit board, we see one big ice cube. The problem is he had taken three small ice cubes for his drink, which had also almost fully thawed right before he spilled it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Computer Voice: [after MacReady inputs a move on the keyboard] Your move: bishop to knight four. My move: knight to rook three.
MacReady: Poor baby, you're startin' to lose it, aren't ya?
[inputs a move]
Computer Voice: Your move: king to rook one. My move: rook to knight six. Checkmate. Checkmate.
[MacReady angrily pours his scotch into the computer tower, frying it]
MacReady: Cheating bitch.
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Crazy Credits

The Universal logo doesn't appear until right after the movie's over 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 Undead Again: The Making of 'Land of the Dead' (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Superstition
Written and Performed by Stevie Wonder
Courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
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User Reviews

 
Intelligent Splatter
28 December 2003 | by GafkeSee 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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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:

$19,632,053
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
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