- Palmer (David Clennon) as a man's head sprouts legs and skitters across the floor to escape a fire
"How will we make it'"--Childs (Keith David) to MacReady (Kurt Russell) "Maybe we shouldn't."--MacReady to Childs "Well...what do we do'"--Childs to MacReady "Why don't we just wait here a while...see what happens."
- MacReady to Childs
"Chariots of the Gods, man. They're droppin' outta the sky like flies...heck, they taught the Incas everything they know."
Variety - 06/23/1982
"...Bottin steals the show..."
Total Film - 01/01/2004
"Two decades on, the head-sprouting-spider-legs scene still demands frame-by-frame viewing."
Uncut - 01/01/2004
"[With] stomach-turning special effects..."
Total Film - 11/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t brews claustrophobia by trapping its characters in the Antarctic with a shape-shifter from outer space."
Based on both the short story by John W. Campbell, Jr. and the 1951 film produced by Howard Hawks, THE THING is John Carpenter's stunning masterpiece of horror. A group of weary scientists enduring the winter in an isolated camp deep in Antarctica chance upon an alien spacecraft buried in the ice. Near the strange craft is the body of an alien being, frozen solid. Thinking they have made the find of a lifetime, the scientists bring the alien body back to camp and thaw it out. The alien awakens, not in the best of moods, and proceeds to take over the identities of the scientists, one by one, body and all. Helicopter pilot MacCready (Kurt Russell) must lead the surviving men in discovering who among them is human and who is not and how they can destroy "the thing" before it takes them all and moves on to the heavily populated mainland and the rest of humanity. Rob Bottin supplies the awe-inspiring special effects of the creature in its many, ever-changing forms. The effects were groundbreaking at the time and hold up flawlessly over the passing years. But Carpenter does not rely solely on special effects, utilizing his spectacular cast, which includes Wilford Brimley and Richard Dysart, to create three dimensional characters enduring an unthinkable situation. The score from Ennio Morricone is understated, yet increases the tense mood tenfold. Shooting was difficult and done in below freezing conditions, but despite the discomfort the cast and crew produced a truly terrifying film that will stand the test of time. THE THING is surely one of Carpenter's definitive films and a true horror classic.
MacReady (Kurt Russell) and his team of twelve Antarctic researches unearth and inadvertently defrost a hideous, 100,000-year-old alien life form. Havoc ensues as the isolated scientists struggle with a foe that is a shape-shifting misanthrope. The remaining men are soon faced with the task of determining who's who in order to ensure their survival. Stunning visual effects, an eerie score by Ennio Morricone, and director John (HALLOWEEN) Carpenter's familiarity with spine-tingling material make this a gruesome nail-biter. This is a remake of the 1951 Howard Hawks/Christian Nyby classic, but is much more in keeping with the John W. Campbell, Jr. story on which it is based.
THE THING was based on the short story "Who Goes There'" by John W. Campbell, Jr. It was previously the basis for the 1951 film, THE THING (a.k.a. THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD), which was produced by Howard Hawks and directed by Christian Nyby. This 1982 version is more loyal to the source material and restores the creature's ability to masquerade as any living creature.
Director Carpenter gave whiz kid special effects artist Rob Bottine total freedom when creating the concepts for the alien creature's many forms. The result was an Academy Award and effects that still hold up over time.