Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
Plot: A research facility in Antarctica comes across an alien force that can become anything it touches with 100% accuracy. The members must now find out who's human and who's not before it's too late.
This movie has become part of the culture in Antarctica. It is a long standing tradition in all British Antarctic research stations to watch The Thing (1982) as part of their Midwinter feast and celebration held every June 21.
John Carpenter has stated that of all his films, this is his personal favorite.
This film is considered a benchmark in the field of special make-up effects. These effects were created by Rob Bottin, who was only 22 when he started the project. Rob Bottin headed up a team of over forty people.
There is a character name "Mac" and another named "Windows"; since the film was made in 1982, this is purely coincidental.
The female voice on MacReady's computer was performed (uncredited) by the wife of John Carpenter, Adrienne Barbeau.
Based on the classic short story "Who Goes There?" by pioneering science fiction Editor John W. Campbell, Jr.
When the crew are all discussing what the alien spacecraft might be, one of them explains it by saying "Chariots of the Gods." This is a reference to the famous 1968 book by Swiss-German author Erich von Däniken entitled "Chariots of the Gods?" which hypothesized that many of the world's great historical monuments, such as the Egyptian Pyramids, were built with the aid of technologies and religion provided by extra-terrestrial beings, who were treated as deities by ancient peoples.
Peter Maloney was scared of dogs, and found it difficult doing the scene when the dog jumps up at him, in the film's opening.
Carbopole is a powdery substance used in hair gels and when mixed with water was used as the Thing slime.
At the cast ad crew screening the actors including Kurt Russel believed the film had lost a lot of it's relationship work for the monster effects and Matte painter Albert Whitlock called the film offensive. Only Rob Bottin and his crew believed they had made something amazing.
The words spoken by the pilot on entering the camp are actually understandable for Norwegians. Albeit broken Norwegian, the line goes: "Se til helvete og kom dere vekk. Det er ikke en bikkje, det er en slags ting! Det imiterer en bikkje, det er ikke virkelig! KOM DERE VEKK IDIOTER!!" This translates to: "Get the hell outta there. That's not a dog, it's some sort of thing! It's imitating a dog, it isn't real! GET AWAY YOU IDIOTS!!"
Kurt Russell was almost injured in the scene where he blows up the alien Palmer with a stick of dynamite. Apparently, he had no idea exactly how big of an explosion it would produce, and the reaction that he has in the movie is genuine.
For a scene where Dr. Copper's (Richard Dysart's) arms are severed, a real-life double amputee stand-in was used, wearing a mask in the likeness of Dysart. The audience focuses on the bloody stumps while the mask goes unnoticed.
In the video-game tie in (also called The Thing (2002)) it is revealed that MacReady survives, and is picked up by a search and rescue team, while Childs freezes to death. John Carpenter has stated that the game is canon.
An alternative ending was shot showing MacReady rescued, and having taken a blood test proving he was human. This was done as a precaution and never used, even for test screenings, as it was not part of John Carpenter's original vision for the film.
In the shot of MacReady holding the dish of Palmer's blood right before he tests it, the hand that holds the dish is fake.
Nauls' death was originally filmed with him being attacked by a "Box Blair" creature. A much longer, and gorier version of this scene was planned, with Nauls screaming for help, while being assimilated by the Thing, while it attacks Mac. However, effects for this gorier scene couldn't be created at the time, and the ones that were used were disliked by John Carpenter, and when a test audience laughed at the scene, Carpenter decided to cut the scene and leave Nauls' death ambiguous.
In an interview with cinematographer Dean Cundey, he claims there is a subtle hint as to who was infected during the blood test scene. According to Cundey he made sure that all the actors had light on their eyes, except for one: Palmer, whose eyes are cast in darkness during the scene