-Premiered on June 11th, 1982
at the Alfred Hitchcock Theatre in L.A. for a special cast and crew screening.
(Ironically the same night E.T. opened.)
-Opened on June 25th, 1982
(the same night as Blade Runner) at a total cost of $15 million plus advertising and
prints. $1.5 million alone was spent on the special effects. Grossed $13.8
million in the first 3 weeks at the box office and then dropped out of
-Carpenter and crew adamantly
stressed they were NOT re-making Howard Hawks 1951 "The Thing" but making a
film version of the 1938 original novella "Who Goes There?" by
John W. Campbell. To promote this they had the short story printed up in a
re-release booklet complete with movie artwork.
-During promotional & press campaigns
for the film Rob Bottin wore a t-shirt which read: "I Love
-Christian Nyby, director of the original
1951 The Thing said after first viewing Carpenter's version, "If you
want blood, go to the slaughterhouse. All in all, it's a terrific
commercial for J&B Scotch."
-There are no females in the film. Although
a scene with MacReady and a blow-up doll was cut from the final
-Adrienne Barbeau is the female voice of MacReady's
computer chess game. (Uncredited)
-The film was originally banned upon
release in Finland.
-Certain home video releases of the film
had copyright problems with Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious". The song was dubbed over with "One
Chain Don't Make No Prison" by The Four Tops. On the DVD it is back to Stevie
-There is a 'Smokey the Bear' sign nailed
to the bottom right of the United States National Science Institute
Station 4 sign. It can be seen in the close-up shot. (Note: This is only
clearly visible from the film on a theater sized screen.)
-The prominently featured black & white
sign on the wall of the Rec Room is a notice for STD's. It says:
"THEY AREN'T LABELED CHUM" and the woman is wearing a tag which
says, "I Have VD".
-In the chaos right before Dogtown as the
men fumble to get dressed in the hallway Dr. Copper (Richard Dysart) pulls
a quick full frontal shot for the camera.
-The Norwegian dog was played by a
half-dog, half-wolf hybrid named 'Jed'. He acted all his parts eerily well
and was extremely quiet and well-behaved on the set.
-Stan Winston was called in to do the
effects for the Dog-Thing. He agreed to take on the task but did not want
screen credit to take away from Rob Bottin's show. Nevertheless he is
recognized in the end credits: "A Special Thanks to Stan
-The flesh-flower that attacks Childs is
actually an incredibly detailed effect. Its petals are 12 dog
tongues complete with rows of canine teeth. Bottin dubbed it the
-Unbelievably there are 52 gunshots fired
in this film. (Thanks to Butterman for the bullet count.)
-In the exterior explosion sequence in
which MacReady tosses a stick of TNT at the Palmer-Thing, the explosion is
far larger than Kurt Russell and the crew anticipate. It sends fiery debris
over the crew and almost knocks everyone down. Russell, who's yelling,
cursing, and laughing, along with the rest of the crew repeatedly calls
Roy Arbogast a fucking asshole among many other things. (Watch Kurt in this
scene when the explosion goes off, he almost gets blown over and has
trouble remaining on his feet.)
-While filming on location up in British
Columbia, Canada the cast and crew would head over into Hyder, Alaska at
night to the local watering hole, the Sealaska Inn. Here in local
tradition they would get "Hyderized" with the bartender's potent
elixir. This led to many rough mornings on the set recovering from
-Stewart was chosen as a great filming
location as it is the snowfall capital of North America. The camp was
built in July 1981 and filming commenced in December. The temperature
ranged between 0 F and -15 F during shooting and it cost $75 000 alone to
wardrobe the cast and crew with winter gear.
-To match the Antarctic atmosphere on the
Los Angeles soundstages for interior scenes the sets were refrigerated
down to 40 F while it hovered around 90 F outside.
-For the scene in which Dr. Copper (Richard
Dysart) has his arms severed, a double amputee stand-in was used wearing a
Richard Dysart mask. The audience focuses on the bloody stumps while the
mask goes unnoticed.
-Filming The Thing took 57
weeks to complete. Rob Bottin worked 7 days a week for the entire
duration, often sleeping at the Studio and living off of pop and candy
bars. After the conclusion of filming Rob had to check himself into the
hospital; to recover from serious stress and fatigue.
-The prime-time television CBS airing of
The Thing was quite a different version, having most of the
gore edited out and the profanity dubbed over. Interestingly though extra
narration was added to the opening scenes of the film introducing and
describing the characters at the camp. (Norris has his heart condition
pointed out here as well.) The scene with Blair at his computer has an
extra voice narration by Wilford Brimley reading the wording on his screen.
Also when Blair attacks Garry he repeats one of his lines from his rant in
the radio room. Depending on when you believe Blair was taken over, before
or after his outburst, this makes no sense.
-The Chess Wizard game
belonged to Production Manager Robert Latham Brown. It is an Apple II computer
and the game is Sargon II.
-The Thing title font is AlbertusMH.
The X-Files Episode:
Original Air Date: Nov. 5th, 1993
episode "Ice" in Season One of The X-Files is a direct
tribute/homage to John Carpenter's The Thing. There are several exterior scenes of the
Outpost lifted directly from the movie used in the TV show. A group of
scientists at a remote research base in the Arctic uncover an alien parasite
while drilling deep for ice core samples. They are infected and eventually all
commit murder and/or suicide. Agents Scully and Mulder head
up with new scientists to unravel the mystery and it begins again as the
mind-controlling parasitic worms are discovered
and paranoia breaks out as to who is infected. Stranded by a snowstorm,
members of the group begin to die, and even Scully starts to suspect that
Mulder is now infected. There is heavy emphasis on the tensions and paranoia
between the characters and the claustrophobia of the isolated camp.
Definitely a fun watch for any fan of The
Thing. Note that this show was also filmed on location in British
For God sakes, it’s me!"
"Mulder, you may not be who you are."
Official Body Count for
TOTAL HUMAN BODY COUNT: 28
These numbers and facts are gathered from
both the 1982 film (not the novelization or script) and its 2011 prequel. By the
end of Carpenter's film, 28 humans
at two Antarctic research facilities have had exposure to the Thing. None
have survived that we know of...
From L to R: Dick Warlock, Bill Lancaster, Larry Franco, David Foster, Robert
Brown, Ray Stella
Norwegian Outpost as depicted in The Thing
(1982). Realised as Thule Station in The Thing (2011).
- 16 members in total (14 male, 2 female)
- Griggs: Possibly killed and assimilated by the Thing while outside getting cargo from helicopter.
The Griggs-Thing is presumed killed in the helicopter crash.
- Henrik: Attacked and killed by the Thing during the search outside.
The body is eventually burned in the lab fire.
- Juliette: Assimilated by the Thing (possibly
the Griggs-Thing). Tries to attack and assimilate Kate.
It kills Karl and is burned while assimilating his body. The Juliette-Thing is then burned in the fire pit.
- Karl: Killed by the Juliette-Thing. His remains are burned in the fire pit with the Juliette-Thing.
- Olav: Attacked by the
Griggs-Thing in the helicopter. He is either killed by the Griggs-Thing or dies in the helicopter crash.
- Peder: Shot to death by Jameson.
- Edvard Wolner: Assimilated
by the Thing off-screen. The Edvard-Thing attacks Jonas, Adam and Jameson. It,
at least partly, assimilates Adam, the resulting combined organism being the
later discovered by MacReady in the 1982 film. Though it is burned by Kate,
it remains viable and is not completely destroyed until the events depicted in
- Adam Finch: Attacked by the Edvard-Thing.
He is assimilated and becomes
part of Split-Face.
- Jonas: Attacked by an Edvard Arm-Thing and
is partly assimilated until he's put out of his misery by Kate with a flamethrower.
- Derek Jameson: Impaled through the chest by
the Edvard-Thing. Dies from this injury and remains are burned.
- Colin: Commits suicide by
slashing his wrists and throat with a straight razor. His frozen corpse is later found by
MacReady and Copper in the 1982 film.
- Dr. Sander Halversen: Attacked and assimilated by
Split-Face. The Sander-Thing returns to the alien ship to try to escape. It is
killed by Kate with a grenade which also disables the ship.
- Sam Carter: Assimilated by
the Thing while inside the ship. When Kate notes his missing earring, she burns
the Carter-Thing inside the cab of the snow cat.
- Kate Lloyd: Last seen sitting in the cab of the second snow cat, staring into the darkness.
undetermined, presumed dead from exposure to the elements…
- Matias (helicopter pilot): Joins Lars in pursuit of the Dog-Thing. Dies while trying to retrieve a misthrown grenade.
- Lars: Shot by Commander Garry
in the 1982 film. In an outtake of the latter, this character's name is
deduced from his dog tag as being Jans Bolen.
- Lars's dog (name unknown): Killed and assimilated by the Thing (possibly its first
terrestrial victim). The resulting Dog-Thing is pursued by Lars and Matias to...
- 12 members (all male)
- George Bennings: Attacked
and killed by the hitherto dormant Split-Face Thing off-screen. The assimilation process,
though almost complete, is interrupted by Windows. The Bennings-Thing is
incinerated by MacReady along with Split-Face, the remains of the Norwegian
Dog-Thing and all partly-assimilated dogs.
- Palmer: Killed and taken over
by the Thing off-screen. Co-producer Stuart Cohen writes in his blog that Palmer
was the first to be assimilated at Outpost #31, by the Norwegian Dog-Thing that
enters a room where he is seated alone.
- Norris: Killed and taken over
by the Thing off-screen.
- Blair: Killed and taken over
by the Thing off-screen.
- Fuchs: Burned and killed off-screen by one of the Things or committed suicide by burning himself
before the Thing could take him over.
- Dr. Copper:
Arms amputated by
the Norris-Thing, succumbs to shock and blood loss.
- Clark: Shot in the forehead
and killed instantly by MacReady.
- Windows: Attacked by the
Palmer-Thing. Windows's assimilation was interrupted by MacReady's
- Commander Garry: Blair-Thing shoves
hand into his mouth, stretching his face and killing him. Possible takeover started
with body mass forming part of the final 'Blair-Monster'.
- Nauls: Presumed attacked by the
Blair-Thing off-screen. Possible takeover started with body mass forming
part of the final Blair-Monster.
- Childs: Last seen sharing a
bottle of J&B with MacReady while Outpost #31 burned down. Survival
undetermined, presumed dead from exposure to the elements…
Last seen sharing a bottle of J&B with Childs while Outpost #31 burned down. Survival
undetermined, presumed dead from exposure to the elements…
- U.S. Dogs:
All are killed,
some by MacReady and possibly Garry’s gunshots and/or Childs’s
flamethrower. The remaining dogs are later axed to death by Blair off-screen.
Thanks to Amazing_Joe and
others on our discussion forums for helping us update the death-toll at Thule
Ultimate Trivia Challenge!
Sure you're a fan
of The Thing, it could even be your favorite movie and you've seen it
dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times! But can you pass the Outpost
#31 Ultimate Trivia Challenge? Are you a Thing-Freak? This quiz was compiled by
Todd Cameron, Steve Crawford and Zach.
1. What is the brand of whiskey MacReady drinks throughout the movie?
2. What is the name of the computer chess game Mac is playing?
3. What is Windows doing when first seen in the film?
4. What is Mac's first line in the movie?
5. What did Mac say after he pours his drink in the chess game?
6. Where in the movie does John Carpenter appear?
7. What is the Norwegian dog's name in real life?
8. How many hours of Norwegian video footage do they have?
9. What classic game show are Childs and Palmer watching?
10. What is the name of the two female contestants on the show?
11. What does Nauls do at the outpost?
12. What song was playing in place of Stevie Wonder's 'Superstitious" on the original VHS release?
13. How many legs does the Spider-Head sprout?
14. How many dogs are in the kennel not including the Norwegian dog?
15. Did the Dog-Thing escape the kennel?
16. Where did they find the Norwegian-Thing?
17. Who found it?
18. Who first discovered the Dog-Thing?
19. Who is Clark playing pool with before Clark puts the dog in the kennel?
20. Who was trapped in the radio room with Blair when he went berserk?
21. Who tried talking to Blair to calm him down?
22. How did the Norwegian helicopter explode?
23. How many shots did the Norwegian fire at the dog?
24. Who was accidentally hit?
25. Who shot the Norwegian dead in his tracks?
26. Where did the Norwegian get shot?
27. Who discovered Fuchs' burnt body?
28. Who told Mac that he knew Bennings for over 10 years?
29. Who was caught as 'the thing' during the blood test?
30. Who was last in the blood test?
31. Who's finger did they cut first on camera?
32. Who's finger was cut next on camera?
33. Who was tested first?
34. Why was Blair locked in the tool shed?
35. What does the black and white poster of the woman in the rec room say?
36. How did Clark die?
37. Was Clark human?
38. When the two hands with claws came out of the Dog-Thing reaching for the ceiling, how many fingers did it have?
39. Who told Childs that Mac wanted the flamethrower?
40. What was Blair secretly building ?
41. What parts was he making it from?
42. How did Copper die?
43. How many times did Window's feet hit the light fixture when being swung around by the Palmer-Thing?
44. What did Mac do when he first heard the Dog - Thing?
45. How many years ago did the spaceship crash?
46. Who first discovered 'the thing' in the ice?
47. What does Palmer say when he sees the Norris spiderhead?
48. What did Palmer immediately start doing when they found out he was a 'thing' ?
49. Why did Nauls cut loose from Mac on the line?
50. Who cuts down the door to the supply room with the axe?
51. Who has the keys to the supply room?
52. Who drops the keys in the supply room?
53. How many grenades did the Norwegian throw?
54. Who does Mac get the Norwegians mixed up with?
55. How many hours would it take for the entire world population to be infected if the thing had reached a civilized area?
56. Probability that one or more group members may be infected ______ %.
57. _____ _____ and _____ were down in the generator room planting the explosives.
58. Who was first to go out of those three?
59. The second?
60. What is the name of the pinball game in the rec room?
61. What is the name of the video game console in the rec room?
62. What did Mac say to the Blair Monster?
63. What was the last and final line in the movie?
64. Who doesn't Palmer want to go around with?
65. What was the other Antarctic base Windows was trying to reach?
66. What was the name of the magazine Windows was reading when in the radio room?
67. Who was the first one to speak to Windows about contacting anyone?
68. Who was the second one?
69. Who found some shredded long johns with the name tag missing?
70. Who found some torn clothes stuffed up in the furnace in Mac's Shack?
71. When everyone is standing around the blown up Norwegian helicopter, what does Mac say?
72. Who was constantly talking about Blair to Mac?
73. Who were the three suspects of contaminating the blood, according to Mac?
74. Why did Mac and Nauls go up to MacReady's shack?
75. How does Fuchs suggest everyone eat their food?
76. Who won the point in the ping pong game early in the film?
77. Where can you see a case of Milk Duds in the film?
78. Who wears a Walkman?
79. Where does Fuchs' tell Mac he wants to meet him to talk privately?
80. What is the home gaming console shown in the film?
81. What beer brand is on the neon sign in the bar?
82. Does the Norwegian chopper circle the camp clockwise or counterclockwise?
83. Who is the only person in the film seen playing a guitar?
84. What biker gang name and logo are on the back of Palmer's jean vest?
85. Who are the final two survivors at the end?
86. What is the connection actor John Cusack has to the film?
87. What is the film's runtime?