John Carpenter's The Thing is one of the greatest horror movies ever made, capturing a terrifying nihilism, compounded by the lonely setting of the Antarctic. From its opening scenes to the final moments, it has left many viewers both shaking with fear and their minds racing with theories.
One of the greatest strengths of the film is how it both shows extreme content and leaves so much up to the imagination. There are many moments where the audience is left to guess what exactly is going on, where and when some of these things happen and when is the nightmare going to end.
Carpenter was best known at that point for Halloween, The Fog and Escape from New York. While all three are excellent films, he would truly hit his stride with The Thing. While technically a remake of Howard Hawkes film The Thing From Another Planet, starring Kirk Douglas, it is very much its own beast, edging much closer to the original John W. Campbell novella Who Goes There?
While the film was not an immediate success, owing to its bleak tone and the enormous success of the year's other film about an Extra Terrestrial, it has since become regarded as a horror classic. It only just made back its production costs, costing Carpenter the directing duties on Stephen King's Firestarter. However, when both films are compared - one is clearly the stronger piece of work.
The film has been followed by a 2002 video game, a 2011 prequel and a remake has been announced just this year. All three are up against stiff competiton.
10. The Gore's Origin
Whether you are new to The Thing or a lifelong fan, one thing will stand out immediately in the film: the level of gore that is shown.
The practical effects by Rob Bottin, who was 23 at the time of making the film, are both stunning and nightmarish. They incorporate both synthetic elements and pieces of real animals sourced from butchers and abattoirs.
Yes, there are real organs on show in some of those shots.
Along with this, mayonnaise, strawberry jam, foam latex and KY jelly were added to the various models and monstrosities shown to add further texture to them. For the infamous scene that featured Norris' chest exploding upward, revealing the spider-Thing to the audience, this was a shot that was completed in two takes. The first take was too like a fountain for Carpenter's liking, and everything had to be reset.
Another issue with this is that many of the elements that went into creating the shot also filled the room with noxious gases, which were hardly the best for the actors' and crews' health. This had to be done as quickly as possible and yet Bottin was still tasked with enduring up to a full day of reset for each take. The chemicals also created flammable gases, posing another issue when Carpenter wanted MacReady to incinerate The Thing.
All things considered, it is little wonder why Bottin was hospitalised with exhaustion on completing the film.