Taglines: Look closely at your neighbour… Trust no-one… They might be THE THING
A US research station, Antarctica, early-winter 1982. The base is suddenly buzzed and attacked by a helicopter from the nearby Norwegian research station. They appeared to be trying to kill one of the dogs from the US base. Having dealt with the threat, 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 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.
The Thing (also known as John Carpenter’s The Thing) is a 1982 American science-fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film’s title refers to its primary antagonist: a parasitic extraterrestrial lifeform that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. The Thing infiltrates an Antarctic research station, taking the appearance of the researchers that it absorbs, and paranoia develops within the group.
The film is based on John W. Campbell, Jr.’s novella Who Goes There?, which was more loosely adapted by Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby as the 1951 film The Thing from Another World. Carpenter considers The Thing to be the first part of his Apocalypse Trilogy, followed by Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness. Although the films are narratively unrelated, each features a potentially apocalyptic scenario; should “The Thing” ever reach civilization, it would be only a matter of time before it consumes all life on Earth. Carpenter acknowledged that the work of H.P. Lovecraft also inspired the film.
On June 25, 1982, The Thing opened in 840 theaters, and it was the #8 movie of the week at the box office. It remained in the top 10 for three weeks. The lower-than-expected performance has been attributed to many factors, including Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which was also released by Universal Studios around the same time and featured a more optimistic view of alien visitation, and another popular science fiction film, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, being released on the same day.
However, The Thing went on to gain a cult following. The film was eventually reappraised by critics, and is now considered to be one of the greatest horror films ever made. The film subsequently spawned a novelization in 1982; a comic book miniseries adaptation, entitled The Thing from Another World, published by Dark Horse Comics in 1991; a video game sequel, also titled The Thing, in 2002; and a prequel film with the same title on October 14, 2011.
The Thing (1982)
Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, David Clennon, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Norbert Weisser
Screenplay by: Bill Lancaster
Production Design by: John J. Lloyd
Cinematography by: Dean Cundey
Film Editing by: Todd C. Ramsay
Set Decoration by: John M. Dwyer
Art Direction by: Henry Larrecq
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: June 25, 1982