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
While discussing the character of MacReady, John Carpenter and Kurt Russell discussed having MacReady be a former Vietnam War helicopter pilot who was involved in some sort of tragedy and since felt disgraced by his service. Because of this, MacReady suffers from PTSD, alcoholism, and severe insomnia. This backstory ultimately did not make it into the finished film, though it explains why MacReady was awake to hear the dogs whining, why he isn't phased by the grotesque violence, and it also adds deeper context to the line "I'm a real light sleeper, Childs". See more »
(at around 48 mins) When the characters are burning the bodies of Bennings, the dog monster and the two-headed human, Blair is missing from the group for story purposes. But Clark is conspicuously absent, as well. See more »
[after MacReady inputs a move on the keyboard]
Your move: bishop to knight four. My move: knight to rook three.
Poor baby, you're startin' to lose it, aren't ya?
[inputs a move]
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]
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The Universal logo doesn't appear until right after the movie's over See more »
The American syndicated television version has a slightly extended version of the scene where outside in the tractor Macready and Fuchs secretly discuss Blair's sanity. In the extended version Fuchs remarks that while Blair may be losing his mind he is still a brilliant scientist and his rantings should not be totally dismissed. See more »
I am ashamed to say it, but I have to admit, the first time I saw this film was only about a year ago. After seeing it, I immediately rushed out and bought the DVD collectors' edition and have watched it many times since.
The film is terrific on many levels. It works as your straight monster or action type film, as a horror/sci-fi and also as a very intriguing look into the human psyche. The incredible sense of paranoia, mistrust and fear, lent not only by Carpenter's direction (which is stunning) but also by the incredible acting of the cast in general. Kurt Russell (obviously) is spectacularly understated in the lead role of MacReady, and, as a direct result he "feels" like a real person, rather than a hollywood "all american hero". The other cast members all carry off their roles with style, and the net result is an intensely believable atmosphere, and a truly fantastic film.
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