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

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Vote 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.


  • 1
    204 VOTES

    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!!"

  • 2
    135 VOTES


    Posted by u/lurker1125:

    In The Thing (1982), [R.J.] MacReady calls the chess computer a cheater and pours liquor on it. This is supposed to show what kind of person he is, but due to an editing mistake, the computer did actually make an impossible move.

  • 3
    129 VOTES

    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.  

  • 4
    126 VOTES

    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.