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John Carpenter's

 

GOOFS!

No movie is without its faults, mistakes, and blunders.  The Thing, in spite of its being the masterpiece of cinema that it is, is certainly no exception.  With its intense fan following The Thing has been run through the Goof gauntlet many times over, and more than a fair number of errors have been uncovered.  But despite being made two decades ago, long before CGI, combined with the challenging concept the filmmakers were working to pull off, the film still succeeds very well.  It triumphs to this very day.  As fans we don't nitpick and list the goofs to shoot the film down but merely to enjoy it more.

Here are the Goofs in chronological order as they happen in the film. You may need a widescreen version of the film to view some of them. If you discover any new possible entries for this section please let us know!  
 

Theatrical Trailer (DVD)

-In an early scene in the trailer during Mac and Copper's descent down to the saucer look to the extreme right of the screen down in the crater.  There are crewpersons visible along with some equipment.  If you look closely they move around.  This scene has been corrected in the feature film where a matte painting covers up the visible crew.

Deleted Scenes (DVD)

-In the scene where Garry is reading the dead Norwegians nametag the corpse clearly blinks.

 
 

Feature Film

-The amount of ice in MacReady's glass increases suddenly when he pours his drink into the computer game.    

-When Mac is playing chess, we are shown two different chess boards that are radically different from each other. There is no way that the second view of the screen can be created from the first in only three moves:

  

-Norwegian in the helicopter pulls the same grenade out of the case twice (i.e. it's the same clip shown twice).

-The "snow angels": when the helicopter explodes and the Norwegian dives for cover you can clearly see an impression in the snow where he has rehearsed this scene.  Also, when the Norwegian fires at the men and they take cover you can see impressions in the snow bank where Childs has rehearsed this scene:

    

-When Mac dives for cover the bottle of J&B is covered in snow.  A second later he hands it to Bennings and it is completely snow-free.

 

-The window Garry smashes with his gun is an outside window and would be thick triple-paned glass at an Antarctic camp. It would not shatter as easily as it did.

-At the Norwegian camp in the room with the ice block a large icicle sways back and forth. Real icicles don't do this.

-As the camera pans through the empty camp, after Bennings calls Nauls on the intercom, it casts a shadow next to the blood storage.

-When Clark first puts the dog in the kennel he is wearing a brown jacket.  Only minutes later he returns to see what all the fuss is and he is wearing a large blue parka.  Clark is only gone a few minutes at most and it's doubtful he would have put on another heavier jacket:

    

-The lower eye of the Kennel-Thing opens and then rolls downward suddenly to look at the floor (Bottin spoke publicly of this Goof in an interview):

-During Dogtown, as the Kennel-Thing starts to shoot its flesh-flower at Childs, at the top right side you can see part of the head and shoulder of an effects crewperson as they work the creature. They even cast a shadow on the wall behind:

-One of the dogs bites a hole through the kennel wire in an attempt to escape the Thing but in the following scenes of Childs torching the alien the hole has disappeared.

-Norris points out Outpost #31 on the map as being only about 400 miles to the nearest coast and about 1700 miles from McMurdo (which is clear across the whole continent). The actual closest US outpost would be Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station 900 miles away.  Windows couldn't possibly have tried to call McMurdo from his location.  He should've tried to call Amundsen-Scott Station.

-When Mac, Norris, and Palmer explore the saucer there are two continuity errors with their hoods. In the scene where they look down at the ship their hoods are up when see in the shot from behind. Then they are suddenly down in the facing shot. Again when they find the hole in the ice as they approach in a long shot their hoods are up. Cutting to a close-up their hoods are down:

    

-Blair fires 7 shots from a 6 chambered revolver. (One shot is fired off-screen and Blair may have reloaded, however unlikely.)

-After Mac knocks Blair out, Fuchs goes to get up and falls off screen (maybe a goof during filming, but adds to the realism of the scene).

-When Blair is being locked up in the tool shed the front window to the shed is boarded up.  However, when seen from inside it is clearly not covered over and what appears to be icicles hang in front.

    

-When Mac is in the tool shed talking with Blair the bottle of vodka from which he drinks mysteriously spins 180 degrees. He sets it down with the label facing the camera but in the following shots the label now suddenly faces away.

-When MacReady is finishing up his tape recording the door behind him starts to mysteriously swing shut right before the scene cuts. In the next rear shot of Mac the door is no longer moving.

-When Fuchs goes outside following the mysterious figure outside the lab there is already snow on his knees as he drops to pick up Mac's shredded clothing:

-When Mac yells to Norris in the rec room, "Any of them move you fry 'em," a shadow cast by the crew's boom mike can be seen on the wall above Clark, Copper, and Garry on the couch.

-When the men go out to the tool shed to ask Blair about Fuchs, the lights in Mac's shack are off.  But they should be on.

-In the scene where Nauls is let back inside and the men question him, there are multiple continuity goofs with where Palmer is standing and how he is holding the flamethrower.

-When Childs attacks the supply room door with the fire axe he starts chopping at the top. The scene cuts to Mac in the room and then back to Childs kicking in the door and the axe marks have moved down the door:

    
 

-As Mac comes out of the supply room with the flare and dynamite the TNT sticks he is holding are almost falling apart and he is holding them by one stick. In the following shots of Mac the TNT sticks are suddenly wrapped tightly with black tape again and he holds all the sticks:

    

-When Doc Copper first straddles Norris there is an audio/visual sync goof. MacReady is gabbing away in the background but there's no dialogue. All of a sudden the audio comes on and Mac is talking: "So you sweethearts were about to have yourselves a little lynching party ..."

-When Doc Copper uses the defibrillator on Norris (the second and final time) he is going to shock Norris' chest, but in the next scene where they plunge into the cavity they are down by Norris' stomach area:

    

-The jaws in Norris' chest cavity instantly change from small white shark-like teeth to huge gray colored dinosaur-like teeth.  Also, Copper's metal bracelets disappear from each wrist as his arms plunge into Norris' chest.  As well Copper's sleeves suddenly roll up when Norris' jaws clamp down on his forearms, and his arms sever and tear away above where the jaws clamp down on them:

    

-MacReady reacts a half second too soon to Palmer's blood test reaction. He was anticipating the jumping special effect. 

-After the blood jumps out of the petri dish there is lots of loud yelling that is made by Nauls, Garry, and Childs.  However, they are not seen yelling at this time. The audio is clearly from another take or deleted scene.

-When Palmer-Thing flies up to the ceiling, a piece of the paneling by its left foot breaks off and falls up to land back on the ceiling:

-Obvious stunt double for Palmer when he has a hold of Windows.  Denim vest and white long-sleeve shirt change to just a green t-shirt:

   

-Scene of the burning Palmer passing by Mac in front of the camera is much too thin and moving smoothly to be a stunt person.  Looks more like a flaming pole pushed or pulled on a trolley.

-When Mac picks up the flame-thrower to blast Windows a very fake snow-flake floats off his jacket.

-As the men come down the stairs into the generator room Nauls and Garry head down a second flight of stairs as Mac holds up a flare. The shadow of a crew member is clearly visible on the floor holding a boom mike.  The shadow even moves the men walk away from the camera:

-When the Blair-Thing pushes its hand into Garry's face the pinkie finger misses the hole it is intended to go into, it is in the correct hole in the second shot.

-In the sequence of the camp blowing up the helicopter and Thiokol have disappeared from the shots, despite the fact that Blair has destroyed the controls of both.  Obviously removed by production crew as to not get damaged in the ensuing explosions.

AND...The infamous Crater Goof!!  

-When Norris and Mac climb down into the crater and are walking towards the open hatch in the center, look on the far right hand side of the screen and you will see the head and arm of somebody come into shot and then disappear again. 

 


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