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John Carpenter's

 

The Monster That Isn't There

By Cpl Ferro

What we are dealing with, is an entirely new principle of life. This is proven by the Thing's capacity of perfectly imitating not merely bodies, but minds as well. A perfect copy of a mind, is necessarily the same mind, for if two identical sets of extensions or processes exist, only different in terms of their location, then there is not sufficient reason for one to be one place and not another, leading to irrationality. Thus, if the imitation is perfect, it really is the imitated person. Their body may have been digested and reformed anew, but their mind remains /the same mind/ necessarily. With reference to the film, taken as if it were a documentary record of a real chain of events, this essay will explain in principle how it can do this, intelligibly, rather than deferring to mysticism or fanciful story-telling. In so doing, it will scientifically prove that John Carpenterís The Thing is the best monster movie of all time.

There's another way of looking at this that may make it easier to grasp. Think of it in terms of free will. The Thing's problem, is not merely to imitate what its victim might do, but to imitate what he would do, sufficiently to fool people who actually know that person, profoundly. And what a person would do, is a function of their nature, as a freely willed soul. For the Thing to settle for anything less would place it on the level of a Bodysnatcher (Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, 1978) where eventually suspicions would arise due to subtle mistakes in character (as when the Chinese man exclaims fearfully, "That not my wife!"). Women, especially, would be more likely to notice this in the long run, slowly getting a "vibe" about the person which, when correlated with knowledge of the creature being loose, could expose it. So if the imitation is perfect, it is because the victim is not dead.

If he's not dead, what is he? The answer is he's possessed. That's the principle of life that we're dealing with: a life form that possesses the souls of other life forms [1]. Iím dead serious about this. Now, what does it really mean? To understand this, we have to understand Satanic possession in general. That Carpenter understands and appreciates this notion of possession, is apparent in the other two films in his Apocalyptic Trilogy, namely Prince of Darkness, and In the Mouth of Madness. So what is it? It's the infiltration of a Satanic spirit into the mind, which takes on a life of its own, by making use of the mind. In this way, it can affect things. But it starts off being all in the head, so to speak.

Satanic Possession

Cognitive Dissonance

Metamorphosis

Where Does It Go?

Reproduction

The Blair Question

The Final-Scene Identity Question

Conclusion

Footnotes

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