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Truth be told, I love most of John Carpenters work, he has made some great films that should last generations. Are they perfect? Of course not, but you have to remember that a lot of his early work was low budget independent productions. What he was able to accomplish was no small feat.

For what he was able to produce, he deserves all credit that has been heaped on him.


A US research station, Antarctica, early-winter 1982. The base is suddenly buzzed by a helicopter from the nearby Norwegian research station. They are trying to kill a dog that has escaped from their base. After the destruction of the Norwegian chopper, 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 is 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 opened the same day as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, both films were poorly reviewed at the time but have become cult classics spawning a prequel/sequel and video games. Both films were also competing with the juggernaut E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial which had been released a few weeks before.

This movie is considered to be at the pinnacle of practical effects. Rob Bottin was 22 years old when he began work on the make-up. Stan Winston also had a hand in the film. He created the Dog-Thing as Rob was hospitalized due to exhaustion while working on the picture.

Although Carpenter’s adaptation is closer to the novella Who Goes There?, both critics and Carpenter fans panned the film. Christian Nyby, the director of the 1951 version went as far as saying:

“If you want blood, go to the slaughterhouse. All in all, it’s a terrific commercial for J&B Scotch.”

David Ansen of Newsweek called it “an example of the New Aesthetic – atrocity for atrocity’s sake” while Alan Spencer for Starlog contended that “John Carpenter was never meant to direct science fiction horror movies. He’s better suited to direct traffic accidents, train wrecks, and public floggings”.

Even Ennio Morricone’s score was nominated for a Razzie Award for worst score.

Universal wanted Tobe Hooper to direct, but due to the success of Halloween, the producers got their way and were able to hire Carpenter.


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