Saturday, October 3, 2009


John Carpenter's The Thing is a remake of the 1951 film, The Thing from Another World. Carpenter considers this to be the first of his "Apocalypse Trilogy" with Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness completing the trilogy. The Thing did very poorly in theaters but became a cult classic on video.


*The opening title exactly duplicates the original Howard Hawks film. To create the effect of the title, an animation cell with "The Thing" written on it was placed behind a fish tank filled with smoke that was covered with a plastic garbage bag. The garbage bag was ignited, creating the effect of the title burning onto the screen.

*To give the illusion of icy Antarctic conditions, interior sets on the Los Angeles sound stages were refrigerated down to 40 F while it was well over 100 F outside.

*The movie is based on the classic short story "Who Goes There?" by pioneering science fiction editor John W. Campbell Jr.

*This film is considered a benchmark in the field of special makeup effects. These effects were created by Rob Bottin, who was only 22 when he started the project.

*In the scene where Norris' (Charles Hallahan) head separates from his body, special-FX designer Rob Bottin used highly flammable materials for the construction of interior of the head and neck models. During the shoot John Carpenter decided that, for continuity reasons, they needed some flames around the scene. Without thinking they lit a fire bar and the whole room, which by now was filled with flammable gases, caught fire. Nobody got hurt, but the entire special effects model, on which Bottin had worked several months, was destroyed.

*In August 2003 a couple of hard-core fans, Todd Cameron and Steve Crawford, ventured to the remote filming location in Stewart, British Columbia and, after 21 years, found remains of Outpost #31 and the Norwegian helicopter. The rotor blade from the chopper now belongs to Todd and rests in his collection of memorabilia from the film.

*John Carpenter and Kurt Russell both admit that after all of these years they still do not know who has been replaced by the creature and when.

*The sound effect of the Antarctic wind was actually recorded in the desert outside Palm Springs.

*Poster artist Drew Struzan created the poster for this film basically overnight and without having seen any publicity photos.

*At a horror convention Q&A session in 2008, Keith David (Childs) was asked if he ever knew who, at the very end of the movie, was infected with the alien. He smiled and said, "Well, I don't know about (Kurt Russell), but it sure as hell wasn't me."

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