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Small But Compelling Details In John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

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List RulesVote up your favorite tidbits on the classic creature feature.

In 1982, John Carpenter's The Thing opened in theaters to a mediocre box office and bad reviews. Based on the novella Who Goes There? and a remake of Howard Hawks' The Thing From Another World, the story of a parasitic creature from a distant world who threatens mankind was a triumph in special effects, but failed to garner much notice. 

But despite its initial reception, Carpenter's space invasion saga was able to eventually find an audience on home video, and later on television. Thanks to a revived interest in the movie, The Thing was able to successfully morph from box-office dud to one of the most respected and revered horror films of all time.  Over the last four decades since its release, critics have reassessed their initial reception of the film and now regard the creature feature as "ahead of its time" and a milestone of the horror genre. 

As the film reaches new audiences, fans have rewatched the film again and again, in search of subtle details and missed moments. Here are a collection of small but interesting details people have shared about The Thing.

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  • 1

    If You Speak Norwegian, The Beginning Of The Movie Might Be A Spoiler

    Posted by u/AspireAgain:

    During the opening of John Carpenter's The Thing, the "crazed" Norwegian that accidentally shoots one of the expedition members shouts: "Get the hell away from that thing. That's not a dog, it's some sort of thing! It's imitating a dog, it isn't real! GET AWAY YOU IDIOTS!!"

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  • 2

    Blair's Change Of Heart

    Posted by u/Notaweasel:

    In John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), the audience can deduce that Blair is no longer a human by his demeanor and the noose in the shed in which he's being kept.

    Blair is the first person to realize the dangers of The Thing's abilities and decides to take matters in his own hands and destroy all communication and transportation equipment in the station. He does this rather violently, is detained by the other staff, and is locked inside the tool shed for his own protection.

    Later in the film, some of the men go check on Blair and he has calmed down a lot and asks to be let go. He pleads with them that he has changed and is alright. This might not be a huge red flag, but what is interesting is that there is a noose hanging from the ceiling right in front of him. This means that at some point, Blair (who knew that The Thing was so dangerous that they should all be killed) was ready to kill himself, but The Thing got a hold of him before he could do it.

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  • 3

    Brimley The Brave

    Posted by @MC_FilmClub_:

    In the DVD commentary, John Carpenter said Wilford Brimley was the only cast member not initially grossed out by the autopsy scene where they used real animal organs. Brimley had been a real-life cowboy and hunter, so gutting animals and removing organs was a normal experience for him.  

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  • 4

    Dr. Copper's Helping Hand

    Posted by u/TheGhostOfAlanAlda:

    In John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), for the scene where Dr. Copper gets his arms bitten off, two shots that each lasted only a few seconds, had an actual amputee standing in Richard Dysart's place wearing a mask in his likeness.

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