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John Carpenter's The Thing


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Originally Posted by S.D. Bob Plissken View Post

You mean prequel.  That right there is why they need to change the damn title.  Having two films in a series (a duology no less!) with the exact same title is too damn confusing.  Oh well.....



Yeah, it's stupid to call it the same thing. Doesn't exactly inspire a lot of faith in their creativity either.

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Just checking...

Does anyone know when The Thing got Doc? I assume it was after they locked him in that wood shed.

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It's actually up in the air just when a lot of them got taken over, felix. That's one of the best parts of the movie. You don't know who is a thing, and we don't know when they were taken over. We're in the dark as much as the characters in the film.

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Felix...

I've always believed that Blair became contaminated by accident.  After all, upon showing his findings about the Norweigian Camp mass to the group, he constantly pokes at it with his pencil.......and then touches it to his mouth!

I assume most of the others that we "changed" were assimilated quickly and then spit back out as a copy, ala the dogs and Bennett.  If I am correct in my assumption about Blair, it probably would have taken The Thing a lot longer to take him over because the infection would have only started as a small piece of DNA touching his lips.

That's just always been my personal theory.




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MMMMMM alien DNA

wilfred-brimley-for-quaker-oatmeal_-19881.jpg?w=490&h=780

Careful though, shit'll give you the adult diabeetus.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by S.D. Bob Plissken View Post




You mean prequel.  That right there is why they need to change the damn title.  Having two films in a series (a duology no less!) with the exact same title is too damn confusing.  Oh well.....



I don't know what I mean anymore with regards the new movie.  Part of me just doesn't want anyone other than Norwegians in the 'prequel' and for them not to have an active spaceship that they're running around on blah blah blah.  also the vibe I get from thisi is much more reboot/remake than prequel (despite it's stated intentions)

As an aside I agree with your analysis of 'pencil to mouth'.

I seem to remember in the Alan Dean Foster adaptation they actually make Palmer and Childs burn their weed because of the potential for it to infect them.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene (Mr.Eko) View Post

It's actually up in the air just when a lot of them got taken over, felix. That's one of the best parts of the movie. You don't know who is a thing, and we don't know when they were taken over. We're in the dark as much as the characters in the film.



Yeah, Carpenter is well aware that he's not making a mystery where we can deduce what's happening. Frankly, I suspect he outright cheats. Literally anyone could be a Thing.

And that's the point. It's all paranoia. Logic doesn't apply here.

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I read over at Outpost 31, the official Thing website, last year, a very interesting theory that suggested MacReady was an imitation for a large part of the movie. We know that in the end he's still human, as is Childs (more than likely well, I subscribe the the theory that he's human), but it made for an entertaining read.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilTwin View Post





Yeah, Carpenter is well aware that he's not making a mystery where we can deduce what's happening. Frankly, I suspect he outright cheats. Literally anyone could be a Thing.

And that's the point. It's all paranoia. Logic doesn't apply here.




I think Carpenter was always more concerned with atmosphere first, plot second which makes the film itself that much more effective in my opinion and so very rewatchable.  Carpenter himself has admitted he doesn't  know whose shadow was on that wall or who the first one infected was because he honestly doesn't think it's that important...and it really isn't in terms of the story being told.  It's the psychology of the film and it's characters that makes it a riveting work.

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I found that post I was talking about. Copying and pasting it here if anybody wants to read it.

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Although I agree with many fans that Mac is probably not a Thing, I have a plausible theory about why he MIGHT possibly be one, and indeed might be one earlier in the movie than anyone suspects. Here's why:

This theory is based upon the notion of Mac becoming infected at the Norwegian camp when he searches the other rooms alone, or possibly a little later when he gets back to camp.

Remember when we're introduced to Mac at the start? What does he use to kill his chess computer when it pisses him off? He tosses his liquor into its circuits. Perhaps the Thing-Mac would also imitate this habit of killing its enemies with J & B liquor the way Mac kills the chess computer? Subconsciously, it makes sense. If a Mac-Thing is a perfect imitation, it may retain the psychology of its absorbed host, just as Palmer remains a pot-head after being infected.

If this method is true, then the Mac-Thing might be the one who infects Blair when he gives him the (infected) liquor bottle. Note that Mac waits until he's alone with Blair before leaving him the bottle. The others don't see this happen. There may be more irony than we realize when Mac tells Blair, "Trust is a hard thing to come by these days."

The bottle may be his chosen means of infecting others. I'm jumping ahead, but in the final scene Mac can be seen and heard laughing after he gives Childs the bottle and watches him take a drink. He's laughing because it was so easy to fool Childs!

Note that Mac is the one who tells the doc to find a shovel to bring the burned Thing back to the camp, thus carrying the infection to Outpost 31.

Mac is seen with Fuchs just before Fuchs is killed. He knows where Fuchs is, that he is alone and vulnerable. Note Fuchs' suspicious reaction when Mac first walks in the room. Perhaps Fuchs finding Macs shirt in the snow is not the red herring Mac insists it is when Nauls later shows it to the group. Also, ask yourself WHY Fuchs dies at just this point? It may be because he tells the Mac-Thing that they should all eat out of cans because "...a small particle of this thing is enough to take over an entire organism..." Fuchs has figured out something that will prevent further infections by Mac using his bottle. So Fuchs has to die! Also, why is it Mac alone who checks on Fuchs and wants to know if he's "come up with anything?" Perhaps the Mac-Thing is concerned to see if Fuchs is making progress, and when he sees he is, he resolves to eliminate him. Note also that despite Fuchs' earlier protests, it is Mac who keeps Blair and Fuchs apart, possibly to avoid two scientists making progress on this problem together.

After Fuchs is killed Mac also sends Windows back inside before insisting on going to his shack with Nauls. Why? This may be an opportunity to get Nauls alone and isolated. Nauls sure thinks so before cutting Mac loose and returning to the safety of the base. Remember when the others wanted to put Blair in MacCready's shack? Mac says, "I don't want him in my shack". This may be the Mac-Thing keeping an isolated space separate from the camp that he can use to attack and absorb the others one by one.

During the blood test scene, Mac is the one who arranges everything. Just like a magician performing a stage act, a Mac-Thing could have easily switched his blood with one of the humans to make him appear human. After all, the others are all tied up on his orders. Before testing his own blood, Mac says "Now I'll show you what I already know." Only a Thing would KNOW the blood would not react (because it's been switched). Compare McCready's certainty with the appearance of Garry and Childs and Nauls. After what they just saw happen to Palmer, their expressions suggest that even they aren't positive they're not Things until the needle hits the blood. You can see their relief. Even Palmer's expression suggests a Thing might not be aware of what it really is until its forced into a defensive posture after being exposed. But Mac experiences the blood test differently than all the others. His certainty of his humanity is, in these circumstances, inhuman!

So why would the Mac-Thing hunt and kill Blair, burn Bennings, fry Norris, and generally try to wipe out other Things? Perhaps one Thing might burn another to assist in appearing human, or perhaps as part of some darwinist Thing-world struggle for survival. We don't know enough about Thing-behavior to be sure Things work with each other. For example, when the dog-Thing is being killed, at least one of the humans has already been infected and is a Thing. But whichever one that is, he doesn't come to the aid of the dog-Thing, or even ask the others to hesitate. He lays low. This suggests Things don't give a damn about any other Thing's survival. Compare this indifference with the android Ash's efforts to protect the chestburster in the first Alien movie. "Don't touch it! Don't touch it!" Ash shouts to Parker when Parker nearly stabs it. No one says anything whenever a Thing is being burned, even though we know one or more are things too.

Finally, there is Mac himself in the person of Kurt Russell who, on the dvd commentary suggests to John Carpenter that the only thing we can be sure of is that MacCready is NOT the Thing. But then he immediately howls with laughter when Carpenter casts doubt about that, suggesting that subconsciously even Kurt Russell appreciates this possibility and sees the humour in it.

Okay, this is long enough. Apologies for the length. This is my first post, and I had a lot stored in me from reading so many other posts. Thanks for reading and I hope you share your thoughts on this theory.

Makes for an interesting read.

It's also a good thing that there really isn't an established set of "infection rules" in the movie, and that just helps the paranoia escalate even further. There's plenty of gents over there in Outpost 31 who have lengthy threads on the topic of how a person can be imitated.

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I subscribe to the idea that both are probably still human at the end.  That said, Mac willingly sharing his liquor with Childs has always been a fun hint that he might not be.  Human or not, I suspect a bit of The Thing survived the destruction of Outpost 31 anyway.

Again, I'm really hoping that (if it is good) The Thing prequel finishes off in a way where we could get a potential follow-up that serves as a sequel to both the prequel AND JC's film.  It really wouldn't be all that hard to pull off and since we already have a prequel..................why not just go ahead and do a sequel (preferable with JC at the helm).

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Not sure about the liquor bottle thing.  I mean Fuchs does mention the food thing but they never really go beyond that.  I think you see someone wiping the nexk of a bottle but you never really get a sense they're overly paranoid about it (apart from Windows wiping the scalpel on his leg).

I think MAc laughing at the end is just at the total fuckedness of the situation.

Inreresting idea though. (Although I think taking the scene of Mac killing his PC with whisky as then being his Thing preffered method of killing is a bit of a stretch too far).

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Quote:
Originally Posted by S.D. Bob Plissken View Post

Again, I'm really hoping that (if it is good) The Thing prequel finishes off in a way where we could get a potential follow-up that serves as a sequel to both the prequel AND JC's film.  It really wouldn't be all that hard to pull off and since we already have a prequel..................why not just go ahead and do a sequel (preferable with JC at the helm).


I think, creatively speaking, John Carpenter is spent at this point. It'd be fascinating to see someone like Cronenberg handle the body-horror aspects of the Thing, or one of the new sci-fi guys like Duncan Jones.

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Although I personally don't think it's valid, the whiskey bottle post is creative enough to belong in the 'insane fan theories' thread. It brings up a few interesting points:

We never do see two Things alone in the same setting, so it's unclear how coordinated or competitive they'd be together. It's established that Things retain advanced knowledge from previously absorbed hosts, but it's unclear how much of that knowledge serves the infection, and how much of it is just residual data kicking around in the cells of the new host. When Norris rejects the offer to take the gun prior to having his "heart attack," is that Norris' personality bleeding through, or is it The Thing being savvy enough to anticipate the heart attack?

And what would a planet conquered/infected by Things look like? Since Things retain the skills and memories of their hosts, what would they do once the jig was up and everyone was assimilated? I submit the following: if a Thing has enough self preservation instincts to know when to assume and drop a cover identity, then it's probably smart enough to avoid unnecessary internal conflict between like-minded Things. Maybe an outside observer wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a Thing world and an uninfected one.

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I can't say why precisely, but I've always assumed the Things were actually a singular Thing.  In other words, although there might be multiple infected hosts running around, they're all part of a collective entity or hive mind.  That would explain why one Thing will stand quietly by while another one is murdered.  It's not a true death, simply the destruction of one part of the whole.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattioli View Post

I can't say why precisely, but I've always assumed the Things were actually a singular Thing.  In other words, although there might be multiple infected hosts running around, they're all part of a collective entity or hive mind.


That doesn't fly in light of the Petri dish of blood selling out Palmer. Every Thing For Itself!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil View Post




That doesn't fly in light of the Petri dish of blood selling out Palmer. Every Thing For Itself!



Well, it could be that one Thing can be calculating enough to keep its cover while another is killed, but not zen enough to sit still and be burned alive "for the team".

The real confusion sets in when you try to figure out what "one" Thing consists of.  We seem to be approaching Nawls and Palmer as singular things, but their head/blood is capable of acting on their own, and Blair's Expositionbook 3.0 seems to suggest they can be autonomous at a cellular level.  Which would suggest that it is all one hive mind, or Palmer's petri dish is actually millions of distinct Things.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil View Post
That doesn't fly in light of the Petri dish of blood selling out Palmer. Every Thing For Itself!


Yep, essentially what Schwartz said.  Or the petri dish is an example of the Thing giving up one portion of its self to protect the rest.  Deepening its cover, as it were.

Admittedly, I haven't watched the movie in 5 years or so.  I'll have to rectify that soon.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattioli View Post

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Yep, essentially what Schwartz said.  Or the petri dish is an example of the Thing giving up one portion of its self to protect the rest.  Deepening its cover, as it were.

Admittedly, I haven't watched the movie in 5 years or so.  I'll have to rectify that soon.


Whoops, sorry Schwartz!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post


The real confusion sets in when you try to figure out what "one" Thing consists of.  We seem to be approaching Nawls and Palmer as singular things, but their head/blood is capable of acting on their own, and Blair's Expositionbook 3.0 seems to suggest they can be autonomous at a cellular level.  Which would suggest that it is all one hive mind, or Palmer's petri dish is actually millions of distinct Things.

The exposition tells us that each cell is a self-sufficient critter (or at least more self sufficient than individual Earth-based animal cells, which rely on a specified "whole critter"  to provide nutrients), but they're smart enough to work together in meaningful ways, and at least exhibit biological discreteness. I always looked at Thing constructs in the same way as Popolac and Podujevo.

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Reading through this thread has reminded me about a short story Peter Watts did based on The Thing, basically telling the story from the creature's point of view.  Some of you may get a kick out of it, its interesting to see a guy with a hard science background having a run at its way of life.

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/watts_01_10/

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For certain though, even if he was infected, Blair wasn't "under the influence" until after he was locked in the shed.  The Thing wouldn't have intentionally tried to destroy it's means of escaping the camp by destroying the chopper, snowcats, and radio.

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That's anything but certain. By destroying the machines and the radio, BlairMonster closed all escape routes and prevented them from warning outsiders. Waiting for unsuspecting rescuers during the long winter is a much more appealing option than going back into hiding.

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Agreed.  The Thing can hibernate.  So, it can afford to destroy the means of egress while it assimilates everyone.  Then, it's simply a matter of going back to sleep until the next feckless group of rescuers/researchers arrive.

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What's the point of the noose then in the storage shed?  To me that's always been a signifier of when Blair was assimilated.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil View Post




Whoops, sorry Schwartz!



For what?  We were just musing like everyone else.

I should probably check out the trailer for the prequel, I guess.  On the one hand, there's almost limitless potential for this creature.  On the other, the original is on my short list of "perfect" movies, so I can't imagine anything living up to it.  Hard to muster much enthusiasm on that score.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 11thIndian View Post

For certain though, even if he was infected, Blair wasn't "under the influence" until after he was locked in the shed.  The Thing wouldn't have intentionally tried to destroy it's means of escaping the camp by destroying the chopper, snowcats, and radio.



doesn't it destroy them to canibalize the parts for its booster though?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bancroft Agee View Post

What's the point of the noose then in the storage shed?  To me that's always been a signifier of when Blair was assimilated.


I still contend that Blair was "infected" when he kept touching his pencil to the Norweigian Thing remains...............but it took a longer amount of time to assimilate him due to the miniscule amount of contamination he received.  The others (Bennett, Palmer, etc.) were likely full-on attacked, absorbed, and then spit back out as a copy in a quick period of time............similar to what it attempted to do to the dogs.  Blair's infection would have been no more than a few contaminated cells entering his body, thus taking it a good bit longer to replace his entire body.  That and Blair had a strong will, which certainly might possibly factor into the change.  Exactly how much control does The Thing have over your body?  Are you still in there or is it doing nothing but going through the motions in your skinsuit?  Was Blair actually destroying the vehicles or had the Thing momentarily taken over and was just hacking them up to collect whatever parts it needed?  All are interesting questions...........................which is why this is pretty much my all-time favorite film.

Whether it is how he was infected or not, I still cringe to this day every time Blair pokes that abomination and then sticks the pencil to his mouth.

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Poking around Youtube, I discovered this fanfilm sequel while I was looking at footage of The Thing videogame. Which I of course own also. Pretty cool game, but can be really hard.

These guys actually put some effort into it. That's admirable.

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I never got to finish the game.  Cocked up and had n health or ammo for the final level.  Was going to start again but then my PS2 got nicked and never replaced Sad

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Don't feel bad. I never finished the game either. The ending seems to be pretty weak from the youtube video I saw of it. I'll probably still play it through again some time. It was frustrating, but the trust/paranoia system was original and cool.

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The Thing video game remains among 4 or 5 video games that I actually finished.  Usually, I get bored and stop playing before the end.

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I could never finish the game either. I suck. I still have it and my old PS2 somewhere. Maybe I should revisit?

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Watched this again while contemplating the upcoming prequel. It's still amazing how the movie sets up so many mysteries that are never solved, and yet it's still a completely satisfying experience.

I don't know if this has ever been brought up, but during the scene when Windows stumbles upon Bennings getting assimilated, there's an audible sound of keys hitting the ground. Were those supposed to be Garry's keys? Could that have been the moment when one of the Things gains access to the pure blood?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

Watched this again while contemplating the upcoming prequel. It's still amazing how the movie sets up so many mysteries that are never solved, and yet it's still a completely satisfying experience.

I don't know if this has ever been brought up, but during the scene when Windows stumbles upon Bennings getting assimilated, there's an audible sound of keys hitting the ground. Were those supposed to be Garry's keys? Could that have been the moment when one of the Things gains access to the pure blood?


http://www.badassdigest.com/2011/08/19/w...-the-thing

Rob Ager (the man who made the videos contained in the article) seems to think so and I agree.  I also agree with the entire overall idea of his video analysis.  I did before I watched them and I definitely do afterwards.

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