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The producers were ultimately unhappy with Hooper and his writing partner Kim Henkel 's concept. After several more failed pitches by different writers, and attempts to bring on other directors, such as John Landis , the project was put on hold. Even so, the success of Ridley Scott 's science fiction horror film Alien helped revitalize the project, at which point Carpenter became loosely attached following his success with his influential slasher film Halloween Carpenter was reluctant to join the project as he thought Hawks's adaptation would be difficult to surpass, although he considered the film's monster to be unnotable.

Cohen suggested that he read the original novella. Carpenter found the "creepiness" of the imitations conducted by the creature, and the questions it raised, interesting. After securing the writer and crew, the film was stalled again when Carpenter nearly quit, believing that a passion project of his, El Diablo , was on the verge of being made by EMI Films. The producers discussed various replacements including Walter Hill , Sam Peckinpah and Michael Ritchie , but the development of El Diablo was not as imminent as Carpenter believed, and he remained with The Thing.

Filming was scheduled to be completed within 98 days. Associate producer Larry Franco was responsible for making the budget work for the film; he cut the filming schedule by a third, eliminated the exterior sets for on-site shooting, and removed Bennings's more extravagant death scene. Nolan , novelist David Wiltse , and Hooper and Henkel, whose draft was set at least partially underwater, and which Cohen described as a Moby-Dick -like story in which "The Captain" did battle with a large, non-shapeshifting creature.

He was wary of taking on writing duties, preferring to let someone else do it. Bill Lancaster initially met with Turman, Foster and Cohen in , but he was given the impression that they wanted to closely replicate The Thing from Another World , and he did not want to remake the film. By this time he had read the original Who Goes There?

Copper, and the use of blood tests to identify the Thing, which Carpenter cited as the reason he wanted to work on the film. He also made some significant changes to the story, such as reducing the number of characters from 37 to Lancaster said that 37 was excessive and would be difficult for audiences to follow, leaving little screen time for characterization. He also opted to alter the story's structure, choosing to open his in the middle of the action , instead of using a flashback as in the novella. Helicopter pilot. Likes chess. Hates the cold. The pay is good. Lancaster wrote approximately 30 to 40 pages, but eventually struggled writing the film's second act and it took him several months to complete the script.

Lancaster's script opted to keep the creature largely concealed throughout the film, and it was Bottin who convinced Carpenter to make it more visible to have a greater impact on the audience.

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In the spring, the characters are rescued by helicopter, greeting their saviors with "Hey, which way to a hot meal? In total, Lancaster completed four drafts of the screenplay. Carpenter opted to end the film with the survivors slowly freezing to death to save humanity from infection, believing this to be the ultimate heroic act.

Kurt Russell was involved in the production before being cast, helping Carpenter develop his ideas. Discussions with the studio involved using actors Christopher Walken , Jeff Bridges , or Nick Nolte , who were either unavailable or declined, and Sam Shepard , who showed interest but was never pursued.

Tom Atkins and Jack Thompson were strong early and late contenders for the role of MacReady, but the decision was made to go with Russell. Some passed on the idea of starring in a monster film, while Dennehy became the choice to play Copper. Ernie Hudson was the front-runner and was almost cast until they met with Keith David. Masur and David discussed their characters in rehearsals and decided that they would not like each other. The intent with the character was to have him become infected early on off-screen, so that his status would be unknown to the audience, concealing his intentions.

On The Thing’s reception…

Carpenter wanted to cast Donald Pleasence , but it was decided that he was too recognizable to accommodate the role. Carter was cast as Nauls, but comedian Franklyn Ajaye also came in to read for the role. Instead, he delivered a lengthy speech about the character being a stereotype, after which the meeting ended. Bottin lobbied hard to play Palmer, but it was deemed impossible for him to do so alongside his existing duties.

As the character has some comedic moments, Universal brought in comedians Jay Leno , Garry Shandling , and Charles Fleischer , among others, but opted to go with actor David Clennon , who was better suited to play the dramatic elements. Masur worked daily with the wolfdog Jed and his handler, Clint Rowe, during rehearsals, as Rowe was familiarizing Jed with the sounds and smells of people. This helped Masur's and Jed's performance on-screen, as the dog would stand next to him without looking for his handler. Masur described his character as one uninterested in people, but who loves working with dogs.

He went to a survivalist store and bought a flip knife for his character, and used it in a confrontation with David's character. Copper, and it was a last-second decision by Carpenter to go with Richard Dysart. In early drafts, Windows was called Sanchez, and later Sanders. The name Windows came when the actor for the role, Thomas Waites , was in a costume fitting and tried on a large pair of dark glasses, which the character wears in the film.

Franco also played the Norwegian wielding a rifle and hanging out of the helicopter during the opening sequence. Their work was so detailed that many of the film's shots replicate the image layout completely. It also enabled the use of negative space around the actors to imply something may be lurking just off-screen.

Principal photography began on August 24, , in Juneau, Alaska. This was unusual at the time because of the expense involved. Instead they collected as many portable air conditioners as they could, closed off the stage, and used humidifiers and misters to add moisture to the air. He rewrote some already completed scenes to take place outdoors to be shot on location when principal photography moved to Stewart, British Columbia.

Carpenter was determined to use authentic locations instead of studio sets, and his successes on Halloween and The Fog gave him the credibility to take on the much bigger-budget production of The Thing. A film scout located an area just outside Stewart, along the Canadian coast, which offered the project both ease of access and scenic value during the day. The sets had been built in Alaska during the summer, atop a rocky area overlooking a glacier, in preparation for snow to fall and cover them.


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Outside, the temperature was so low that the camera lenses would freeze and break. Keith David broke his hand in a car accident the day before he was to begin shooting. David attended filming the next day, but when Carpenter and Franco saw his swollen hand, they sent him to the hospital where it was punctured with two pins. He returned wearing a surgical glove beneath a black glove that was painted to resemble his complexion. His left hand is not seen for the first half of the film. The assistants then had to run to a safe distance while seven cameras captured the base's destruction.

There were some puppets used to create the impression of what was happening in the scene, but in other cases the cast would be looking at a wall or an object marked with an X. Art director John J. Lloyd oversaw the design and construction of all the sets, as there were no existing locations used in the film. Several scenes in the script were omitted from the film, sometimes because there was too much dialogue that slowed the pace and undermined the suspense.

Carpenter blamed some of the issues on his directorial method, noting that several scenes appeared to be repeating events or information. Another scene featuring a snowmobile chase pursuing dogs was removed from the shooting script as it would have been too expensive to film. One scene present in the film, but not the script, features a monologue by MacReady. Carpenter added this partly to establish what was happening in the story, and because he wanted to highlight Russell's heroic character after taking over the camp. Carpenter said that Lancaster's experience writing ensemble pieces did not emphasize single characters.

Since Halloween, several horror films had replicated many of the scare elements of that film, something Carpenter wanted to move away from for The Thing. A scene with MacReady absentmindedly inflating a blow-up doll while watching the Norwegian tapes was filmed but was not in the finished film. The doll would later appear as a jump scare with Nauls. Other scenes featured expanded or alternate deaths for various characters. Nauls was scripted to appear in the finale as a partly assimilated mass of tentacles, but in the film he simply disappears. Lancaster's original set piece of Bennings's death had him pulled beneath a sheet of ice by the Thing, before resurfacing in different areas in various stages of assimilation.

The scene called for a set to be built on one of Universal's largest stages, with sophisticated hydraulics, dogs, and flamethrowers, but it was deemed too costly to produce. Short on time, and with no interior sets remaining, a small set was built, Maloney was covered with K-Y Jelly , orange dye, and rubber tentacles. Monster gloves for a different creature were repurposed to demonstrate partial assimilation. Carpenter filmed multiple endings for The Thing , including a "happier" ending because editor Todd Ramsay thought that the bleak, nihilistic conclusion would not test well with audiences.

In the alternate take, MacReady is rescued and given a blood test that proves he is not infected. It was finally decided to create an entirely new scene, which omitted the suspicion of Childs being infected by removing him completely, leaving MacReady alone. Carpenter gave his approval to restore the ambiguous ending, but a scream was inserted over the outpost explosion to posit the monster's death.

Ennio Morricone composed the film's score, as Carpenter wanted The Thing to have a European musical approach. By the time Morricone flew to Los Angeles to record the score, he had already developed a tape filled with an array of synthesizer music because he was unsure what type of score Carpenter wanted. Morricone made several more attempts, bringing the score closer to Carpenter's own style of music. I've asked [Carpenter], as he was preparing some electronic music with an assistant to edit on the film, "Why did you call me, if you want to do it on your own? This is why I've called you.

Then when he showed me the film, later when I wrote the music, we didn't exchange ideas. He ran away, nearly ashamed of showing it to me. I wrote the music on my own without his advice. Naturally, as I had become quite clever since , I've written several scores relating to my life. And I had written one, which was electronic music.

And [Carpenter] took the electronic score. I cut his music into the film and realized that there were places, mostly scenes of tension, in which his music would not work I secretly ran off and recorded in a couple of days a few pieces to use. My pieces were very simple electronic pieces — it was almost tones. It was not really music at all but just background sounds, something today you might even consider as sound effects. The Thing ' s special effects were largely designed by Bottin, [18] who had previously worked with Carpenter on The Fog Clennon said that it did not matter, because everyone acted, looked and smelled exactly the same before being taken over.

To help manage the team, he hired Erik Jensen, a special effects line producer who he had worked with on The Howling , to be in charge of the special make-up effects unit. In designing the Thing's different forms, Bottin explained that the creature had been all over the galaxy. This allowed it to call on different attributes as necessary, such as stomachs that transform into giant mouths and spider legs sprouting from heads. Carpenter said, "what I didn't want to end up with in this movie was a guy in a suit I grew up as a kid watching science-fiction monster movies, and it was always a guy in a suit.

The decision was made to tone down the color of the blood and viscera, although much of the filming had been completed by that point. During filming, thenyear-old Bottin was hospitalized for exhaustion, double pneumonia , and a bleeding ulcer, caused by his extensive workload. Bottin himself explained he would "hoard the work", opting to be directly involved in many of the complicated tasks. Bottin said he did not take a day off during that time, and slept on the sets or in locker rooms. A cast was made of makeup artist Lance Anderson 's arm and head, around which the Dog-Thing was sculpted in oil-based clay.

The final foam-latex puppet, worn by Anderson, featured radio-controlled eyes and cable-controlled legs, [56] and was operated from below a raised set on which the kennel was built. Anderson pulled the tentacles into the Dog-Thing and reverse motion was used to create the effect of them slithering from its body. In the "chest chomp" scene, Dr. Copper attempts to revive Norris with a defibrillator. Revealing himself as the Thing, Norris-Thing's chest transforms into a large mouth that severs Copper's arms. Bottin accomplished this scene by recruiting a double amputee and fitting him with prosthetic arms filled with wax bones, rubber veins and Jell-O.

Other ships, other threats

The arms were then placed into the practical stomach mouth where the mechanical jaws clamped down on them, at which point the actor pulled away, severing the false arms. The scene involved a fire effect, but the crew were unaware that fumes from the rubber foam chemicals inside the puppet were flammable. The fire ignited the fumes, creating a large fireball that engulfed the puppet.

It suffered only minimal damage after the fire had been put out, and the crew successfully filmed the scene. Cook created a miniature model of the set and filmed wide-angle shots of the monster in stop motion, but Carpenter was not convinced by the effect and used only a few seconds of it. The production intended to use a camera centrifuge—a rotating drum with a fixed camera platform—for the Palmer-Thing scene, allowing him to seem to run straight up the wall and across the ceiling. Again, the cost was too high and the idea abandoned for a stuntman falling into frame onto a floor made to look like the outpost's ceiling.

Cundey worked with Bottin to determine the appropriate lighting for each creature. He wanted to show off Bottin's work because of its detailing, but he was conscious that showing too much would reveal its artificial nature, breaking the illusion. Each encounter with the creature was planned for areas where they could justify using a series of small lights to highlight the particular creature-model's surface and textures.

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Cundey would illuminate the area behind the creature to detail its overall shape. He worked with Panasonic and a few other companies to develop a camera capable of automatically adjusting light exposure at different film speeds.


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  • He wanted to try filming the creature at fast and slow speeds thinking this would create a more interesting visual effect, but they were unable to accomplish this at the time. For the rest of the set, Cundey created a contrast by lighting the interiors with warmer lights hung overhead in conical shades so that they could still control the lighting and have darkened areas on set. The outside was constantly bathed in a cold, blue light that Cundey had discovered being used on airport runways.

    The reflective surface of the snow and the blue light helped create the impression of coldness. The team originally wanted to shoot the film in black and white , but Universal was reluctant as it could affect their ability to sell the television rights for the film. Instead, Cundey suggested muting the colors as much as possible. The inside of the sets was painted in neutral colors such as gray, and many of the props were also painted gray, while the costumes were a mix of somber browns, blues, and grays. They relied on the lighting to add color.

    Carpenter's friend John Wash, who developed the opening computer simulation for Escape from New York , designed the computer program showing how the Thing assimilates other organisms. He completed it in 24 hours, based only on a briefing, knowing little about the film. The lack of information about the film's special effects drew the attention of film exhibitors in early They wanted reassurance that The Thing was a first-rate production capable of attracting audiences.

    Cohen and Foster, with a specially employed editor and Universal's archive of music, put together a minute showreel emphasizing action and suspense. They used available footage, including alternate and extended scenes not in the finished film, but avoided revealing the special effects as much as possible. The reaction from the exclusively male exhibitors was generally positive, and Universal executive Robert Rehme told Cohen that the studio was counting on The Thing ' s success, as they expected E.

    Carpenter considered this a suggestion that he lower his expectations of the film's performance. Which one was the Thing? I hate that. After returning from a screening of E. The response to public pre-screenings of The Thing resulted in the studio changing the somber, black-and-white advertising approved by the producers to a color image of a person with a glowing face. The tagline was also changed from "Man is the warmest place to hide"—written by Stephen Frankfort, who wrote the Alien tagline, "In space, no one can hear you scream"—to "The ultimate in alien terror", trying to capitalize on Alien ' s audience.

    Carpenter attempted to make a last-minute change of the film's title to Who Goes There? Winners were rewarded with a trip to Universal Studios. The Thing was released in the United States on June 25, Since its release, cultural historians and critics have attempted to understand what led to The Thing ' s initial failure to connect with audiences. Some analysts blamed Universal's poor marketing, which did not compete with the deluge of promotion for prominent films released that summer.

    Another factor was the R rating it was given, restricting the audience to those over the age of 17 unless accompanied by an adult. Poltergeist received a PG rating, allowing families and younger children to view it. The film received negative reviews on its release, and hostility for its cynical, anti-authoritarian tone and graphic special effects. The plot was criticized as "boring", [77] and undermined by the special effects. Reviews of the actors' performances were generally positive, [82] [76] while criticizing the depictions of the characters they portrayed.

    The film's special effects were simultaneously lauded and lambasted for being technically brilliant but visually repulsive and excessive. Arnold said that the version was less versatile, but easier to keep in focus. Gross and Spencer praised the film's technical achievements, particularly Cundey's "frostbitten" cinematography, the sound, editing, and Morricone's score. Nyby said, "If you want blood, go to the slaughterhouse They became almost a movie in themselves, and were a little too horrifying.

    The impact on Carpenter was immediate—he lost the job of directing the science fiction horror film Firestarter because of The Thing ' s poor performance. I had no idea it would be received that way The Thing was just too strong for that time. I knew it was going to be strong, but I didn't think it would be too strong I didn't take the public's taste into consideration. The outcome of the lawsuits is unknown. While The Thing was not initially successful, it was able to find new audiences and appreciation on home video , and later on television.

    Carpenter disowned this version, and theorized that Sheinberg had been mad at him for not taking his creative ideas on board for the theatrical cut. The Thing was released on DVD in and featured additional content, such as The Thing: Terror Takes Shape —a detailed documentary on the production, deleted and alternate scenes, and commentary by Carpenter and Russell. As well as including previous features such as the commentary and Terror Takes Shape , it added interviews with the cast and crew, and segments that focus on the music, writing, editing, Ploog's artwork, an interview with Alan Dean Foster , who wrote the film's novelization , and the television broadcast version of The Thing that runs 15 minutes shorter than the theatrical cut.

    The restoration was created using the original film negative , and was overseen by Carpenter and Cundey. MCA released the soundtrack for The Thing in In , Howarth and Larry Hopkins restored Morricone's score using updated digital techniques, and arranged each track in the order it appears in the film. The album also includes tracks composed by Carpenter and Howarth for the film.

    The central theme of The Thing concerns paranoia and mistrust. The Thing focuses on being unable to trust one's peers, but this can be interpreted as distrust of entire institutions. Developed in an era of cold-war tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union , the film refers to the threat of nuclear annihilation by mutually assured destruction. Diabolique ' s Daniel Clarkson Fisher notes that MacReady destroys the chess computer after being checkmated , and similarly vows to destroy the Thing, even at the expense of the team.

    Screen Rant ' s Michael Edward Taylor draws allusions between The Thing and the accusatory Red Scares and McCarthyism , as the film conveys an anti-communist fear of infection of civilized areas that will lead to assimilation and imitation. Lancaster's script eschews female characters because he believed that a female character was a love interest who inevitably gets in the way.

    The Atlantic ' s Noah Berlatsky said that unlike typical horror genre films, females are excluded, allowing the Thing to be identified as a fear of not being a man, or being homosexual. Indeed, several assimilations involve penetration, tentacles, and in Norris's case, opened up at the stomach to birth his own replica. The slasher genre favors female stars as they are perceived as weaker and therefore more empathetic, providing a cathartic release when they defeat the villain, but in The Thing the men are not meant to survive.

    Identifying the Thing requires intimacy, confession, and empathy to out the creature, but masculinity prevents this as an option. Trapped by pride and stunted emotional growth, the men are unable to confront the truth out of fear of embarrassment or exposure. This detachment works against him in the finale, which leaves MacReady locked in a futile mistrust with Childs, each not really knowing the other. Lovecraft 's cosmic horror , the notion that ancient, inhuman beings exist that do not care about humanity in any way. This also includes the fear of losing one's humanity, and being consumed, figuratively or literally, by these ancient eldritch behemoths.

    The Thing is a being beyond our understanding and possesses the ability to destroy all life on Earth quickly. Just as Lovecraft left his creatures undescribed, the Thing can be seen, but its shape is mostly indescribable, beyond the realm of human knowledge. The Thing never speaks or gives a motive for its actions, and ruthlessly pursues its goal. It attacks, consumes and imitates an individual perfectly with memories and behaviors. The original is subsumed by an alien copy that is virtually impossible to identify.

    Since its release, many theories have been developed to attempt to answer the film's ambiguous ending shared by MacReady and Childs. Similarly, others have noted a lack of visible breath from the character in the frigid air. While both aspects are present in MacReady, their absence in Childs has been explained as a technical issue with the filming.

    He continued, "[Carpenter] and I worked on the ending of that movie together a long time. We were both bringing the audience right back to square one. At the end of the day, that was the position these people were in. They didn't know if they knew who they were I love that, over the years, that movie has gotten its due because people were able to get past the horrificness of the monster In the years following its release, critics and fans have reevaluated The Thing as a milestone of the horror genre.

    Trace Thurman described it as one of the best films ever, [] and in , Empire magazine selected it as one of The Greatest Movies of All Time, [] calling it "a peerless masterpiece of relentless suspense, retina-wrecking visual excess and outright, nihilistic terror". Similarly, The Thing has appeared on several lists of the top horror films, including number one by The Boston Globe ; [] number two by Bloody Disgusting ; [] number four by Empire ; [] and number six by Time Out In a interview, Carpenter remarked that it was close to, if not, his favorite film from his own filmography.

    He lamented that it took a long time for The Thing to find a wider audience, saying, "If The Thing had been a hit, my career would have been different. I wouldn't have had to make the choices that I made. But I needed a job. I'm not saying I hate the movies I did. But my career would have been different. The film has had a significant impact on popular culture, [] and by , The Thing was already considered a cult classic. It is one of the first films to unflinchingly show the rupture and warp of flesh and bone into grotesque tableaus of surreal beauty, forever raising the bar of cinematic horror.

    Several filmmakers have spoken of their appreciation for The Thing or cited its influence on their own work, including Guillermo del Toro , [] James DeMonaco , [] J. DeKnight , [] and Quentin Tarantino. The story received a Hugo Award nomination. The attraction included MacReady and Childs, both held in stasis, the Blair-Thing and the outpost kennel. A novelization of the film was published by Alan Dean Foster in Sander Halvorson. Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. Writers: Eric Heisserer , John W.

    Campbell Jr. From metacritic. Our Favorite Trailers of the Week. Watched Terror y suspenso. Worst Movie Prequel. Movies Wanted. Watched in Share this Rating Title: The Thing 6. Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Coldest movie ever? Kate Lloyd Joel Edgerton Carter Ulrich Thomsen Sander Halvorson Eric Christian Olsen Adam Finch Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Jameson Paul Braunstein Griggs Trond Espen Seim Edvard Wolner Kim Bubbs Olav Stig Henrik Hoff Peder Kristofer Hivju Jonas Jo Adrian Haavind Karl Jonathan Walker Taglines: In a place where there is nothing, they found something.

    Country: USA Canada. Language: English Norwegian Danish. Runtime: min. Color: Color.

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    Edit Did You Know? Trivia The producers convinced Universal Studios to allow them to create a prequel to John Carpenter 's The Thing instead of a remake, as they felt Carpenter's film was already perfect, so making a remake would be like "painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa". However, the prequel still has the title of the original film, because they couldn't think of a subtitle for example, "The Thing: Begins" that sounded good.

    Goofs The Thule Air base is not Norwegian. It is located in Greenland and is a U. The Thing June minutes Horror. Add to Wishlist. John Carpenter delivers the ultimate in alien terror in this chilling story about an Antarctic research team that discovers a form-changing alien buried in the snow for over , years.

    Producers David Foster , Lawrence Turman. Director John Carpenter.

    The Thing (1982 film)

    Writers Bill Lancaster. Reviews Review Policy. Eligible if purchased. Rentals are not eligible. Learn more. English [CC]. Eligible if purchased with select payment methods.