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John Carpenter's The Thing
Quote:
Originally Posted by catartik View Post

My theory about the movie has never waivered from the day I saw it.

Macready isn't the Thing. It makes no sense that it would destroy the biggest part of itself with dynamite at the end. Every time the Thing is in danger it exposes itself to the humans in order to attempt to survive.

The human characters only propose the idea that you wouldn't know you were the Thing, but the movie never shows that that is the case.

If you didn't know you were the Thing then at what point would you decide to start assimilating people? It doesn't make sense. At some point in time you would have to know you had the capability to do that in order to do it.

The movie also never shows that a tiny drop of blood or a tiny bit of saliva on a bottle would turn you. The computer simulation shoes the cells attacking other cells and turning them, but it's just that, a simulation programmed by what the scientists hypothesize. The movie clearly shows that the assimilation is pretty "hands" on and quite a bloody/messy process whenever it happens.

I believe that Child's is human at the end. There isn't a single overt clue to the contrary. The ultimate irony is that they are both human but won't be able to trust each other. There is no reason why a Childs-Thing wouldn't just attack Macready. There are no other humans around to hide from anymore and Macready is at his most vulnerable point at the end of the movie; alone and exhausted.


I pretty much agree with all this except the part in bold.  It's possible assimilation becomes a subconscious desire unknown to the imitation.  Kind of like a reflex action you're not aware of until it happens.  I like this idea because it falls more in line with the primal, instinctual subatomic nature of the Thing organism.  A sort of primordial lizard brain consciousness people don't acknowledge outright, they just act.  As a biological mechanism, it also guarantees total success.  If the imitation is aware it is the Thing, it would become apparent in the imition's behavior, threatening to give the person away and they could be destroyed.... kind of like when someone has a secret goal, they start doing things out of the ordinary and become transparent.  If the Thing isn't aware it is the thing on a conscious level, it guarantees they will never do anything suspicious... all they have to do is be alone with another person for this primal instinct to kick in.  It's the perfect survival mechanism.  And a "perfect imitation" is not a perfect imitation if it is aware it is not what it appears to be... the perfection would translate to behavior as well.  On the other hand, if the Thing is fully aware of itself as the imitation, it becomes more of a typical stalker film, and I don't think that's what the film is about.  It's about this out of control urge to protect yourself and survive.  Even MaCready theorizes the Thing has a "built in desire to preserve its own life"...  that suggests the desire to assimilate, which is the same as surviving, is more subconscious in nature.  At least that's how I see it.



The part that's underlined is also great, because ultimately the ending isn't about who is who, but that to them they don't trust each other.  That built in human paranoia and xenophobia is at the heart of the what the film is about.  It's also ironic because what starts the process is a dog, and dogs are easy to trust.  That is a bit more terrifying.

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The only hole in the above theory is Blair's building of the spacecraft.  That is not an instinctual reflex action, but a more conscious thing.  Although it's possible this survival instinct becomes more sophisticated in more dire circumstances.... at that point the Thing was losing.  It was isolated and everyone else knew what was going on and had it locked away in a shed.  It was vulnerable to defeat.  So maybe that survival instinct started to overwhelm the imitation and just do what was necessary to get off the planet.

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AI want to know how he got all those components for the ship...
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AOn plant-thingifying: isn't there a deleted scene where they torch Nauls' weed plantation because they can't be sure?
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AI don't think the Thing is ever unaware that it's the Thing. I do, however, think that its objective to not be found is ever present. It does this by presenting the perfect imitation. That imitation will react just as it would the real one. Take Norris for example. He falls and seems to have a heart attack. When the doctor goes to resuscitate him, the Thing attacks (out of survival). There's simply no reason to suggest this was a calculated move for the Thing, it prefers to sneak attack anyone it can. My theory is that the Thing also imitated Norris' heart condition and a perfect imitation must act like one, even to the detriment of the Thing's modus operindi.
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Yeah, people seem really fascinated by the idea that the assimilated don't know they are the Thing, but I've never understood how that would even work or even be beneficial.  The Thing's imperative isn't to hide itself, but to replicate itself, and it has to know when to drop the act.  I can't figure out how having no sense of self-awareness is supposed to be this incredible evolutionary advantage.

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Peter Watts's "The Things" does a great job dramatizing how some people could be aware they've been assimilated while others aren't...

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post

When the doctor goes to resuscitate him, the Thing attacks (out of survival). There's simply no reason to suggest this was a calculated move for the Thing,


That actually reinforces what I'm saying.  It was a reflex action because it was being zapped.



And to be clear, I'm not saying the Thing isn't conscious or doesn't have any agenda.  I'm saying the imitation may not be completely aware of it's alter ego so to speak.  Almost like being in a fugue state.  The imitation seems to keep the memories, feelings and worldview of the person, so it's not out of the ordinary to suggest they are still "them" so to speak and just going about their business with the Thing ever watching.



There is evidence to suggest both interpretations, and this is the interpretation I'm rolling with.... so this doesn't need to become a thing, excuse the pun.

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A[quote name="Schwartz" url="/community/t/92038/john-carpenters-the-thing/300#post_4284339"]Yeah, people seem really fascinated by the idea that the assimilated don't know they are the Thing, but I've never understood how that would even work or even be beneficial.  The Thing's imperative isn't to hide itself, but to replicate itself, and it has to know when to drop the act.  I can't figure out how having no sense of self-awareness is supposed to be this incredible evolutionary advantage.
[/quote]
This. If for no other reason than a host who is unaware of itself being the thing makes it seem more like a disease or something and that is just flat out not as spooky as an other being among them that is malevolently plotting their demise..
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A[quote name="Schwartz" url="/community/t/92038/john-carpenters-the-thing/300#post_4284339"]Yeah, people seem really fascinated by the idea that the assimilated don't know they are the Thing, but I've never understood how that would even work or even be beneficial.  The Thing's imperative isn't to hide itself, but to replicate itself, and it has to know when to drop the act.  I can't figure out how having no sense of self-awareness is supposed to be this incredible evolutionary advantage.
[/quote]

The story Scriven is referencing fanfics an idea that fans like myself have had for a while, that being that the Thing absorbs the consciousness of its prey, so there's a part of the imitation that's an active fragment of the original organism's personality. The imitation would thus experience these active fragments as "unwanted thoughts" or expressions like Norris-thing declining leadership and whatnot.

Frankly, it's the only thing that makes sense. In order to be a "perfect" imitation, the Thing would by definition have to allow itself to be lead by some of the wetware of the organisms it absorbs. Otherwise, in the absence of that residual wetware, the Thing would just be a pod person.
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Just a thought about the prequel: four men board the helicopter, two men return relatively unscathed.  The crash must not have been too severe.  Edgerton is infected.  Two possible imitations left on the playing field.  Windows says "he hadn't heard shit in two weeks".  Shit.

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What prequel?

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I stand by the prequel, JJ.  Gets a hell of a lot more right than wrong.

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ANever heard of it.
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I can respect that, I really do.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fraid uh noman View Post


This. If for no other reason than a host who is unaware of itself being the thing makes it seem more like a disease or something and that is just flat out not as spooky as an other being among them that is malevolently plotting their demise..


Yeah, that's sort of my take.  It's actually scarier that the Thing can imitate a human's actual personality so effectively, all while plotting away "behind the scenes".  Making it like an infection that remains benign until just the right conditions arise is both simpler and less effective than having an intelligence actively working to bring about conditions where it can drop the facade.

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AIn other news, I don't think the original ALIEN is as actively discussed and debated today as Carpenter's film. I hate lists, but if we're talking top 20 American horror films of all-time...

No one has made a better werewolf film that An American Werewolf in London and no one has produced a scarier sci-fi / horror movie with a bugfuck nuts monster than The Thing.
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Yeah, the only way I can see a Thing not knowing it was a Thing was if it was mid cell assimilation, probably one that hasn't reached the brain yet. I would guess a super fast propagation through the muscles and things would alert people so it bides it's time in your own body working through you like a disease until it has most of you assimilated then shuffles you off to bed or something. Until that point, the rogue cells accept instructions from the brain happily enough. Once you're fully taken over, it just doesn't seem to make much sense for the Thing to be unaware of it's own nature - both from a biology point of view and from what we've seen in the story.

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ABlair builds a spaceship out of bean cans.
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A[quote name="flint" url="/community/t/92038/john-carpenters-the-thing/330#post_4284428"]Yeah, the only way I can see a Thing not knowing it was a Thing was if it was mid cell assimilation, probably one that hasn't reached the brain yet. I would guess a super fast propagation through the muscles and things would alert people so it bides it's time in your own body working through you like a disease until it has most of you assimilated then shuffles you off to bed or something. Until that point, the rogue cells accept instructions from the brain happily enough. Once you're fully taken over, it just doesn't seem to make much sense for the Thing to be unaware of it's own nature - both from a biology point of view and from what we've seen in the story.
[/quote]

That's where everybody is getting fooled - once again! It appears to have a dog, a human's consciousness. But it doesn't. I'll even go so far as to say The Thing isn't really that intelligent when it comes to human beings at this point. It fell over with a heart attack because it was in Norris to do so. It's logic is to imitate to hide itself. But this was not a good move on its part.
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A[quote name="Turingmachine75" url="/community/t/92038/john-carpenters-the-thing/300#post_4284145"]The interpretation I've been going with is that not only are MacReady and Childs human . . . they may be the only ones left on Earth. "I dont think anyone's talked to anyone on this whole damn continent in two weeks!" always kind of struck me as a neat little detail underscoring the isolation of the location . . . but, thinking about the Swedes, what if two some odd weeks ago, one of the first things done upon discovery of the ship and the organism was to rush a sample home? [/quote]


Holy shit, I love this.

[IMG ALT=""]http://www.chud.com/community/content/type/61/id/240641/width/500/height/1000[/IMG]
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A[quote name="JacknifeJohnny" url="/community/t/92038/john-carpenters-the-thing/300#post_4284425"]No one has made a better werewolf film that An American Werewolf in London and no one has produced a scarier sci-fi / horror movie with a bugfuck nuts monster than The Thing.[/quote]

Y'all can have your flying cars and jetpacks, I'm still waiting for my promised future of a nationalized health care system where Nurse Jenny Agutter takes me home with her as soon as I get better.
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A[quote name="Reasor" url="/community/t/92038/john-carpenters-the-thing/330#post_4284453"]
Y'all can have your flying cars and jetpacks, I'm still waiting for my promised future of a nationalized health care system where Nurse Jenny Agutter takes me home with her as soon as I get better.[/quote]

[Image: latest?cb=20141005193835]
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A[quote name="Reasor" url="/community/t/92038/john-carpenters-the-thing/300#post_4284453"]
Y'all can have your flying cars and jetpacks, I'm still waiting for my promised future of a nationalized health care system where Nurse Jenny Agutter takes me home with her as soon as I get better.[/quote]

No one wants to talk about why Van Morrison's 'Moondance' suddenly became a leading cause of priapism in the early-mid 80's, but I've been wise to the phenomenon to for over two decades now. I know the truth.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny View Post

In other news, I don't think the original ALIEN is as actively discussed and debated today as Carpenter's film. I hate lists, but if we're talking top 20 American horror films of all-time...

No one has made a better werewolf film that An American Werewolf in London and no one has produced a scarier sci-fi / horror movie with a bugfuck nuts monster than The Thing.

If I had to be stuck in an isolated location with one of these monsters, I'm pretty sure everyone ever would pick the Alien.  It's a no brainer.



The Thing is the worst thing that could happen to you in many, many ways.  It's horrific.  It induces severe nerve shattering paranoia on top of being terrified of being consumed and absorbed.  I'll take a gross tongue thing through the brain any day.  It's instant and relatively merciful.

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AI'd pick the Thing. I'm a joiner, though.
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AYou're such a conformist, Reasor!
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A[quote name="Freeman" url="/community/t/92038/john-carpenters-the-thing/330#post_4284486"]If I had to be stuck in an isolated location with one of these monsters, I'm pretty sure everyone ever would pick the Alien.  It's a no brainer.  

The Thing is the worst thing that could happen to you in many, many ways.  It's horrific.  It induces severe nerve shattering paranoia on top of being terrified of being consumed and absorbed.  I'll take a gross tongue thing through the brain any day.  It's instant and relatively merciful.
[/quote]
I dunno. Clemens' death in Alien 3 makes a pretty good case against that kind of death. That one will never not bother me. Dan Hedaya's death grosses me out too..
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I was always sad to see Dance go.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fraid uh noman View Post


I dunno. Clemens' death in Alien 3 makes a pretty good case against that kind of death. That one will never not bother me. Dan Hedaya's death grosses me out too..


Credit where credit's due. At the first sign of trouble, the military legs it so they had at least some idea of how dangerous the things they were dealing with were.



Minus points for that guy who was off the pace and hence the loss of one escape craft with all hands as a result, the one guy who didn't make it at all to one (Distephano) and Hedaya himself for standing there saluting like a big idiot. Come on, you can see there's aliens just there, you just blew one up. How about some hustle instead?



Then of course, they have to lose all their points by programming the Auriga to return to Earth instead of the sun or an uninhabited moon or something. Unless Earth's been turned into a garbage dump like they did in Red Dwarf. Apparently one of the alternate versions of the ending of the fourth movie seems to be leaning in that direction as Paris has really let itself go, I believe.

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