Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Thing (1982)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Thing (1982)

In John Carpenter's remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 classic sci-fi horror film, it told about an alien threat at a remote base, and about additional subsequent threats of personal estrangement, powerlessness, distrust and alienation. It was considered to be the first part of a so-called "Apocalypse Trilogy," followed by Prince of Darkness (1987) and In the Mouth of Madness (1995).

Carpenter's R-rated, dark and nihilistic cult film was a mostly faithful, bleak and moody return to the original 1938 source (by scriptwriter Bill Lancaster), with clear homage to the original 1951 film and to Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). Its source was John W. Campbell, Jr.'s short story or novella titled Who Goes There?, (with pen-name pseudonym Don A. Stuart), first published in August 1938 in the popular US sci-fi magazine Astounding Science Fiction.

The initial 1951 film was set 2,000 miles north of Anchorage in a remote Arctic scientific research base in the vicinity of the North Pole (Polar Expedition Six). In this remake 31 years later, the setting was in 1982 at a remote Antarctica base (US Station 4, Outpost 31) at the South Pole amongst a twelve-man US expeditionary crew of socially-isolated outcasts who would soon be experiencing sub-zero temperatures and extreme paranoia. Both films explored how an extra-terrestrial alien life-form entity (frozen in ice and thawed) threatened US researchers. Carpenter's film tagline warned: "Man is the warmest place to hide." The pulsating electronic score by Italian composer Ennio Morricone added to the film's suspense.

In the early 1980s, Carpenter's under-appreciated work was interpreted as an allegory for the AIDS-epidemic at the time - with its all-male cast forced to take blood tests to prove that they might or might not be infected by alien cells. Although this cult classic (about a possible apocalypse caused by a malevolent alien that could take the form of any living creature) had tremendous but excessively-graphic, gory and grotesque special and visual effects, it was mostly a box-office failure. On a budget of approximately $15 million, the film grossed only $19.6 million (domestic). Afterwards, many claimed that the film's summer competition from Spielberg's more alien-friendly E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) accounted for its poor reception. It was also competing against three other notable sci-fi films in the same year, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Poltergeist (1982) and Blade Runner (1982).

  • before the title screen, the film presented the arrival of an unidentified flying object (a flying saucer-shaped spacecraft) that entered Earth's atmosphere near Antarctica and possibly crash-landed
  • the setting was "Antarctica, Winter, 1982" - a Norwegian (Norge) helicopter was seen tracking down a Husky sled dog; seated next to the pilot (Norbert Weisser) in the chopper, the passenger-gunman (Larry Franco) was wildly firing his rifle at the dog that raced across the snowbound landscape; the helicopter found itself erratically flying above the US National Science Institute research station in Antarctica (US Station 4, Outpost 31) near the South Pole

Husky Dog Targeted by Chopper

The Passenger-Gunman on Helicopter Firing His Rifle at the Dog

Weather-Beaten Wooden Sign at Antarctica Research Station
  • inside the Institute, a 12-person, all-male group of researchers were relaxing in a recreation room, equipped with a pinball machine, a ping-pong table, card table, jukebox, kitchen, comfortable chairs and sofa, etc; in his own private elevated shack, bearded, mid-30s R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) was drinking J&B Scotch while playing a computer Chess Wizard game (with a female electronic voice), and became disgruntled after being checkmated
  • after the two Norwegians landed near the base, some of the researchers came outside after hearing the noisy chopper; they watched as the two Norwegians clumsily tried to destroy the Husky for no apparent reason with their supply of grenades or by gunfire; one mis-tossed grenade landed near the chopper and exploded, accidentally killing the pilot and blowing up the helicopter

The Helicopter Was Accidentally Blown Up with an Errant Grenade, Killing the Pilot

The Gunman Warning the Researchers to Keep Away From the Dog

Station Manager Garry's (Donald Moffat) Elimination of the Shooter
  • as the dog jumped up into the arms of the researchers and happily licked them, the crazed gunman-passenger yelled out an unheeded warning (in Norwegian): "Get the hell away! That's not a dog, it's some sort of thing! It's imitating a dog, it isn't real! GET AWAY, YOU IDIOTS!"; he took aim at the group and the dog, and clumsily shot and injured meterologist George Bennings (Peter Maloney) in the left leg (near his kneecap); from inside the Institute, station manager-commander Garry (Donald Moffat) shot back with a .357 Magnum through a broken windowpane and killed the shooter with a bullet to the head; some of the Institute's crew rushed to the burning chopper with fire extinguishers, as dog handler Clark (Richard Masur) greeted and approached the Husky dog; at the burning remains of the chopper, MacReady noted to Garry: "First god-damn week of winter"; later once the flames died down, MacReady reported that 15 cans of kerosene on board the chopper had intensified the fire
  • as the US camp's physician Dr. Copper (Richard Dysart) treated Bennings' leg wound with four stitches, he hypothesized that the two dead Norwegians must have been suffering from "cabin fever" and had become crazed as they hunted down the Husky dog; frustrated radio operator Windows (Thomas Waites) was unable to transmit a report about the harrowing incident to the outside world; he complained to senior biologist Blair (A. Wilford Brimley) that his radio communications had been down for a full two weeks
  • other minor crew members were introduced: young black cook Nauls (T.K. Carter) who asked: "Maybe we at war with Norway," while novice pilot and ass't mechanic Palmer (David Clennon) chided Garry for killing the Norwegian: "Was wondering when 'El Capitan' was going to get a chance to use his pop gun"
  • after learning from assistant biologist Fuchs (Joel Polis) that eight weeks earlier, the Norwegians had set up their base camp as a 10-person science expedition, Bennings suggested investigating the camp that was an hour's flight away, although he mentioned that the weather might be a hindrance
  • reluctant helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady and Dr. Copper flew to the Norwegians' base camp, and after landing, they found evidence throughout the devastated and empty complex of extensive fires and debris, smoldering buildings, damaging explosions, and charred and frozen corpses; they saw a red fire axe (with blood on it) embedded in a blocked door leading to a communications room, where one frozen dead man sitting in a chair with a straight-edged razor in his limp hand had apparently committed suicide by slitting his wrists and throat; Dr. Copper asked: "My God, what the hell happened here?"; Dr. Copper gathered together a pile of research papers and a portable video unit in a laboratory; in another section of the building, MacReady found a partially-thawed, huge block of ice (about 15 feet long and 4 feet tall) that had been hollowed out and resembled a large bathtub; Copper theorized: "Maybe they found a fossil, the remains of some animal buried in the ice and they chopped it up, but where is it?"
Investigating the Destroyed and Desolate Norwegian Base Camp

Damaged, Smoldering Buildings

Discovery of a Fire Axe (with Blood on It) Embedded in Door

The Frozen Corpse of Suicidal Victim With a Straight-Edged Razor

A Large Hollowed-Out Block of Ice

Outside, Cans of Kerosene
The Immolated Remains of a Deformed, Frozen Corpse
  • outside, behind the research station near cans of kerosene, they also discovered the smoldering, charred and frozen corpse of a partly-formed, mangled, two-headed half-mutant and half-humanoid: (Copper: "What is that? Is that a man in there, or somethin'?" MacReady: "Whatever it is, they burned it up in a hurry"); they returned to the US Institute's base camp with the two frozen corpses, and some of the base's videos and research papers
  • upon their return, the entire crew examined the deformed, distorted, unidentifiable and twisted body more thoroughly when laid out on a table; the badly-charred corpse of the figure had a large disfigured head (divided into two parts), strange appendages, and a ripped or split-open torso
Close-Up of The Partly-Formed, Mangled, Two-Headed Corpse Humanoid Creature
  • senior biologist Blair and Dr. Copper performed an autopsy on the two now-thawed corpses, Dr. Copper examined the suicidal human cadaver to look for abnormalities, but there were none: (Copper: "Nothing wrong with this one. Physiologically, anyway. No drugs, no alcohol. Nothing"); Blair determined that the deformed corpse also had a normal set of internal organs
  • at 7 pm that evening, Bennings ordered Clark to lock up the Norwegians' Husky sled dog with the US station's other sled dogs in the kennel; the other agitated dogs reacted with barking as the dog's head split open and was metamorphosized into a scary-looking, flesh-eating creature sprouting twine-like tentacles and crab's legs before spraying some of the other dogs with slime and consuming them; after the team came to the rescue and began firing their rifles at the snarling Creature, its head separated itself and stretched up toward the ceiling; chief mechanic Childs (Keith David) was summoned by MacReady to incinerate and torch the Creature's body with his flamethrower
In the Dog Kennel, The Husky Sled Dog Was Transformed Into a Flesh-Eating, Snarling Creature With Tentacles and Crab's Legs - It Sprayed Other Dogs With Slime
  • the next morning, Blair conducted a second autopsy on the corpse of the recently-charred sled-dog Husky-Creature and concluded that it was a shape-shifting alien "Thing" - a chameleon that could perfectly assimilate, digest (or dissolve) and re-form itself into the shape of its victims (animal or human) by imitating its image or identity: (Blair: "You see, what we're talkin' about here is an organism that imitates other life-forms, and it imitates 'em perfectly. When this thing attacked our dogs, it tried to digest 'em, absorb them, and in the process shape its own cells to imitate them. This for instance. That's not dog. It's imitation. We got to it before it had time to finish...finish imitating these dogs")
  • after questioning Clark about the incident, Blair learned that the Husky dog had been wandering around the camp until the previous night; and Clark was alone with the Dog-creature for over an hour before it was locked up in the kennel with the rest of the dog pack; it was the beginning of the development of suspicions and mistrust between the team's members
  • the crew viewed a video taken of the Norwegians at their remote dig site (the location of a UFO crash about 5-6 miles NE of their base); there as the Norwegian scientists formed a circle around a large and deep crater, they used thermite explosives to unearth an alien spacecraft buried deep under the ice
  • MacReady and a few other team members, geologist Norris (Charles Hallahan) and Palmer, traveled to the Norwegians' remote excavation site; after rappelling down inside the large crater, they had a closer look at the partially-buried alien UFO, as Norris speculated that the spacecraft had possibly crash-landed 100,000 years earlier: ("I'd say the ice it's buried in is a hundred thousand years old, at least"); MacReady added: "And those Norwegians blew it up"; nearby at another smaller dig site, the Norwegians appeared to have cut a large rectangular block out of the ice that had since been hollowed out
  • after returning to the base, the crew gathered in the Rec Room to examine metal pieces of the spacecraft; MacReady thought outloud about how an alien-Thing Creature had emerged from the alien craft, but had presumably frozen to death in the ice: ("Thousands of years ago it crashes, and this Thing gets thrown out, or crawls out, and it ends up freezing in the ice"); Childs expressed his skepticism to Palmer and MacReady, calling it "Voodoo Bulls--t"; Palmer joked: "Happens all the time, man. They're falling out of the skies like flies. Government knows all about it, right Mac?"; Palmer also continued: "Chariots of the Gods, man. They practically own South America. I mean, they taught the Incas everything they know"
  • Garry described his own theory about the block of ice: "The Norwegians get ahold of this, and they dig it up out of the ice"; MacReady finished his thought about how the alien-Thing Creature was dug out of the ice and brought back to the Norwegian camp, where it thawed out and attacked the researchers: "They dig it up. They cart it back, it gets thawed out, it wakes up, probably not in the best of moods"
Blair's Computer Simulation of the Dog-Creature Showing the Assimilation Process
  • Blair privately ran a computer test simulation of the cellular assimilation process, and determined that the Dog-Thing creature had clearly absorbed and mimicked its victims; in his autopsy notes, Blair described how cellular activity in the dog's remains was still present and alive; he fearfully worried (with increasing paranoia) that if the virulent alien-Thing ever escaped to civilized areas, it would quickly assimilate all of life on Earth in only a few years; Blair estimated that the entire world could be infected in only 27,000 hours (about 3 years)
  • to reduce further infections or assimilations, Dr. Copper requested that the two sets of remains (the deformed humanoid and dog-creature from the Norwegian base) be locked up in a storeroom; as Windows and Bennings prepared the room, Bennings turned away from the mutant-humanoid under a blanket and didn't notice that it moved
  • in the privacy of a Skidozer 301 tractor's cab outside, Fuchs expressed his worries to MacReady about the increasingly-crazed senior biologist Blair, who had locked himself away in an isolated toolshed room and refused to answer his door; Fuchs shared some of his suspicions with MacReady by reading Blair's disturbing notes about the chameleon-like nature of the Thing and its latent cellular activity: ("It could have imitated a million life forms on a million planets. It could change to any one of them at any time. Now, it wants life-forms on needs to be alone and in close proximity with the life-form to be absorbed. The chameleon strikes in the dark....There is still cellular activity in these burned remains. They're not dead yet!")
  • slightly later after returning to the storeroom, Windows was horrified to observe that Bennings had become absorbed and/or assimilated after being wrapped up by the tentacles of the Creature's remains under the blanket; he ran to notify MacReady and Windows of the threat, who raced back to the storeroom; they realized that Bennings had broken through an exterior window and was running away into the snowy landscape; while pursuing after Bennings to corner him, the crew discovered that he was a half-changed mutant-Creature (with misshapened, arachnid-like arms); as Bennings was surrounded by a circle of the crew, he bellowed and wailed back at them; MacReady incinerated him by overturning a large canister of fuel and igniting everything
The Demise of Meterologist Bennings - Turned Into a Half Mutant After Prolonged Contact With the Thing-Creature Under a Blanket in the Storeroom

Tentacles of Thing-Creature Wrapped Around Bennings

Bennings With Mutant Hands Bellowing at the Crew Surrounding Him

Bennings Incinerated After Being Encircled by the Crew
  • MacReady explained to doubting station commander Garry: "It was one of those things out there trying to imitate him, Garry"; and then MacReady hurriedly left to also incinerate the remains of both the Thing-creature and the Dog-creature in a snow-pit filled with flammable fuel
  • afterwards, MacReady realized that Blair, who had disappeared, was suffering from a nervous breakdown and was possibly infected; he had gone beserk and was on a rampage to prevent anyone's escape from the base; there were signs that he had mangled and destroyed the base's helicopter controls with a fire axe; he then assaulted Windows, locked himself inside the radio room in the main compound, and was smashing the radio and communications equipment with his axe, while yelling out: "Nobody gets in or out of here, nobody!"; Blair threatened to shoot and kill anyone who interfered with him; Childs also reported that Blair had disabled a second chopper and the tractor, and killed the rest of the surviving sled-dogs
  • the crew was finally able to disarm, subdue, and detain Blair, and lock him up in the toolshed away from the main compound, where Dr. Copper heavily sedated him with an injection; Blair blurted out: "I don't know who to trust" - one of the film's main themes; MacReady responded: "Know what you mean, Blair. Trust is a tough thing to come by these days. I'll tell ya what. Why don't you just trust in the Lord"; Blair warned MacReady: "Watch Clark...I said: 'Watch Clark' - and watch him close, do you hear me?"
  • MacReady summarized the threat that their isolated camp now faced: "Somebody in this camp ain't what he appears to be. Right now that may be one or two of us. By spring, it could be all of us"; Childs reiterated the group's main dilemma: "So how do we know who's human? If I was an imitation, a perfect imitation, how would you know if it was really me?"; Childs' question prompted Dr. Copper to suggest that they could 'smoke out' the infected alien Creature with a blood serium test; a sample of each person's blood would be mixed with uncontaminated clean blood held in lab storage: ("I suppose if there's a reaction, we'll know who isn't human"); MacReady passed on Blair's suspicions about Clark: "Keep an eye on Clark. He was close to that dog"
  • distrust further intensified when it was discovered that the supply of blood plasma bags in the infirmary's locked refrigerator had been sabotaged; since the key lock was unbroken, it was suspected that either Dr. Copper or Garry had used a key to access the stored blood and destroy it; after a tense stand-off between Windows and Garry who were both armed, the men clearly had lost faith in Garry's leadership; he voluntarily relinquished his gun and his command: ("I guess you'll all feel a little easier if somebody else was in charge"), and the "even-tempered" MacReady took charge as the team's 'de facto' leader
  • MacReady decided to incinerate the contaminated blood bags, as he told the crew what they were now facing: "I know I'm human. And if you were all these things, then you'd just attack me right now, so some of you are still human. This Thing doesn't want to show itself, it wants to hide inside an imitation. It'll fight if it has to, but it's vulnerable out in the open. If it takes us over, then it has no more enemies, nobody left to kill it. And then it's won"; meanwhile, a major blizzard was predicted to hit the Antarctic area
  • MacReady's first major decision was to have Garry, Dr. Copper and suspected dog-handler Clark sedated (with shots administered by Norris) and then kept under surveillance in the Rec Room; in a private audio log entry, MacReady recorded his theory that the Creature-Thing tore through its victim's clothing during the absorption process: ("I think it rips through your clothes when it takes you over. Windows found some shredded long johns, but the nametag was missing. They could be anybody's. Nobody, nobody trusts anybody now, and we're all very tired...There's nothing else I can do, just wait")
  • as Fuchs continued his research, he proposed a preventative antidote to MacReady: "If a small particle of this Thing is enough to take over an entire organism, then everyone should prepare their own meals, and I suggest we only eat out of cans"; later, an unexpected black-out power failure in the lab caused Fuchs to venture outside with a lighted flare, where he found MacReady's shredded jacket in the snow; a few hours passed and Fuchs, who had disappeared, was the subject of a search party; his charred corpse was discovered by MacReady, Windows, and Nauls; the three speculated that Fuchs had either burned himself to death (to avoid assimilation), or had been incinerated by the Thing
  • MacReady and Nauls continued on to MacReady's shack (to check on why his lights were on); after almost an hour's delay in their return to the base, the other suspicious crew members began to board up all of the base's entry points; Nauls stumbled back into the base to report to the rest of the team that he had become suspicious of MacReady when he also found part of MacReady's shredded green uniform in the shack; he told how he had abandoned and stranded MacReady in the blinding blizzard by cutting his guide line ("I cut him loose. He's one of 'em")
  • as they debated MacReady's possible assimilation and targeted him as the next Thing: (Windows: "Do you think he's changed into one of those Things?"), MacReady (with ice formed on his beard) spitefully returned to the camp with a lighted flare and dynamite and was pounding on the door to be let in - he threatened to blow up the camp: ("Anyone messes with me -- and the whole camp goes")
  • during the altercation and stand-off, geologist Norris suffered a heart attack -- and as the camp's physician Dr. Copper attempted to revive his heart with resuscitation paddles and CPR on the infirmary's exam table, Norris' mutated rib-cage/chest and stomach broke open; it became a fanged, gaping maw with a bear-trap spring that bit off the doctor's forearms (and he subsequently bled to death)
During Chest Defibrillation of Heart-Attack Victim Norris, Both of Dr. Copper's Forearms Were Bitten Off by Norris' Jaw-Like Abdomen
  • also, while Norris's body was being incinerated by MacReady's flame-thrower, Norris transformed into a two-headed "Thing"; his 'spider head' separated from his body and reached up to the overhanging ceiling vent, while the "head" from the body on the table stretched until it separated and dropped to the floor, whipped out a tentacle from its mouth, pulled itself along the floor, sprouted spindly spider legs and eye stalks, and then scurried away like a crab; Palmer exclaimed: "You gotta be f--kin' kidding" - MacReady was able to destroy both of the heads with his flamethrower
The Transformation of Norris' Body Into a Two-Headed 'Thing' Before Both Heads Were Incinerated by MacReady With a Flamethrower
  • in the next very tense and shocking sequence, MacReady ordered Windows and Palmer - at gunpoint, to force the group's members to sit together while tied by heavy rope in chairs; Clark resisted the test and lunged at MacReady to stab and attack him with a scalpel - and was shot dead point-blank in the forehead; the lifeless bodies of Clark and Dr. Copper were laid on the top of the pool table by Palmer; then, in the Rec Room, MacReady described the blood serum test and procedure that he would use for each person's sample of blood, acquired by having each person's thumb sliced open with a silver scalpel to draw blood; the sample of blood would then be placed into a small glass petri dish or plate (marked with a name) to be tested with a heated piece of copper wire
  • MacReady described how each life-form subject that was infected and transformed into the Thing would try to independently defend itself if threatened: ("We're gonna draw a little bit of everybody's blood. We're gonna find out who's the Thing. Watching Norris in there gave me the idea that maybe every part of him was a whole. Every little piece is an individual animal with a built-in desire to protect its own life. You see, when a man bleeds, it's just tissue. But blood from one of you Things won't obey when it's attacked. It'll try and survive, crawl away from a hot needle, say") - the blood test would definitively reveal who had become assimilated, and who had remained human
With a Heated Piece of Copper Wire, MacReady Tested Blood Serum Samples in a Petri Dish For Each Person - Palmer's Sample Was the First to Indicate That He Was Infected
  • the first test of Windows' sample of blood turned out to be negative; MacReady armed Windows with a flamethrower to help keep control if any further tests revealed the Thing; MacReady was also cleared after confidently testing himself: ("Now I'll show you what I already know"); the deceased bodies of Dr. Copper and Clark were tested next, and they were also found to be uninfected and human
  • when MacReady tested the blood of Palmer, the blood sample in the petri dish recoiled and reacted violently indicating that he was infected; seated iand bound in one of the chairs, the victim's face exploded outward, and his body was propelled into the ceiling tiles; when the body fell back down, its deformed head split vertically to shockingly reveal an eyeless tentacled monster; with its main tentacled mouth emerging from what was its head, the tentacle whipped out and began to strangle and hold onto Windows' neck and pull him forward to maul and massacre him head-first; the Creature-Thing was finally incinerated by MacReady's flame thrower; the burning creature smashed through the outer wall and fell into the snow, where MacReady blew up its remains with a stick of dynamite
  • and then, because Windows had been infected and was starting to transform, MacReady torched Windows with another flame thrower; Nauls, Childs, and Garry were also tested and cleared; the only one remaining to be tested was Blair, who had earlier been locked into the tool shed and sedated
  • with Childs remaining in the base camp, the rest of the uninfected group led by MacReady proceeded to the locked tool shed to find Blair; there, they realized that Blair had escaped and tunneled under the ice through loose floorboards, and had been gathering other vehicle components (from the disabled helicopters and tractor) to construct a small but crude metallic spacecraft in an underground cave; while preparing to destroy the 'flying saucer,' they were confused to see Childs running off from the base into the blizzard: (Garry: "What's he doing outside?")
  • and then, when the lights went out, MacReady theorized that the Thing creature (Blair) had blown up the base's power generator with plans to freeze the camp and its inhabitants (including itself as a hibernating, frozen Creature); the group realized that Blair expected to be rescued and transported away - to be thawed and exposed to the rest of the world: ("It wants to freeze now. It's got no way out of here. It just wants to go to sleep in the cold until the rescue team finds it"); the flying saucer in the underground cave was blown up first, and then charges were set with explosive Molotov cocktails to blow up other areas of camp
  • after entering the generator room, Garry notified the two others: "It's gone, MacReady!"; without the power generator, the group decided that the only way to insure the camp's survival was to annihilate the entire base by exploding it to smithereens with dynamite - as the Norwegians had attempted; in the camp's basement while preparing some dynamite charges, Blair approached Garry and forced his fingers under his face, and then dragged Garry away; Nauls also wandered off, disappeared and was never seen again; MacReady and Childs (now missing) were the only two left
  • MacReady was confronted by a monstrous, snarling, big-toothed creature - it was Blair who now appeared Godzilla-like from under the ground (and gave birth to another sled dog from its abdomen); the Thing destroyed MacReady's dynamite detonator, but MacReady was able to succeed in his mission (he hurled his last stick of dynamite at the Creature, with parting words: "F--k you too!"); the blast caused an explosive chain reaction of destruction that completely obliterated the camp's station

Blair Transformed Into a Monstrous Big-Toothed Thing-Creature From Under the Ground
A Snarling Sled-Dog Emerged or Was "Birthed" From The Creature-Thing's Abdomen
  • as MacReady was reeling from the aftermath of the explosions, covered in a blanket and carrying a bottle of J&B Scotch over to his ruined shack where he sat outside amidst the fires, Childs suddenly appeared and asked: "Are you the only one who made it?...Did you kill it?"; MacReady asked: "Where were you, Childs?"; he claimed he had become lost in the storm during his pursuit of Blair: "When I saw Blair, I went out after him. Got lost in the storm. Fire's got the temperature up all over the camp. Won't last long though"; MacReady bluntly responded: "Neither will we"; when Childs asked: "How will we make it?" MacReady told him: "Maybe we shouldn't... If we've got any surprises for each other, I don't think we're in much shape to do anything about it"; they pondered how powerless they would be if one of them turned out to be "THE THING"; however, if they both died, their deaths would prevent the infection from spreading to others; then, Childs asked: "Well, what do we do?", MacReady supplied the film's last line: "Why don't we just wait here for a little while, see what happens?"
MacReady to Childs: "Why don't we just wait here for a little while, see what happens?"
  • in the film's deliberately-ambiguous ending set outside MacReady's ruined shack, the two sat and shared MacReady's bottle of Scotch as they discussed how futile survival was (if they continued to warily distrust each other) and how, in any case, they probably wouldn't make it anyway, due to the frigid temperatures and their dire circumstances
  • [Note: in an alternate, nihilistic ending, both MacReady and Childs were transformed into the "Thing" (mimicking a sled dog again), that looked back at the burning camp at dawn before continuing on into the snowy Antarctic wilderness.]
The 12 Person All-Male US Institute's Crew:

Heroic Loner R. J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) Drinking J&B Scotch and Playing Computer Chess

The Institute's Lead Commander Garry (Donald Moffat)

Dog Handler Clark (Richard Masur)

Skilled Dr. Copper (Richard Dysart)

Injured Red Haired Meterologist George Bennings (Peter Maloney)

Radio Operator Windows (Thomas Waites) Unable to Report the Incident - With Downed Equipment for Two Weeks

Senior Biologist Blair (A. Wilford Brimley)

Cool and Young African-American Cook Nauls (T. K. Carter)

Pot-Smoking, Sassy Assistant Mechanic Palmer (David Clennon)

Assistant Biologist Fuchs (Joel Polis)

Chief Mechanic Childs (Keith David)

Geologist Norris (Charles Hallahan)

The Half-Mutant and Half-Humanoid Found In the Norwegian Base Camp and Brought Back to the US Camp

Blair's Diagnosis After an Autopsy of the Deformed Corpse's Internal Set of Organs - They Were Normal

Childs Torching the Dog-Creature In the Kennel With a Flamethrower

Blair Dissecting the Protoplasmic Mass of the Dog-Creature

At the Norwegians' Remote Dig Site - A Crater with a Partially-Unearthed Alien Ship

A Second Dig Site Nearby - a Rectangular Block of Ice Was Cut Out

Picture of the Norwegians With the Block of Ice

Blair's Fears That Team Members (and Then
'Civilized Areas') Would Be Next to Be Infected and Assimilated

The Remains of the Thing-Creature and the Dog-Creature Torched With a Flamethrower in a Snow-Pit

Blair After His Rampage, and Heavily Sedated: "I don't know who to trust"

A View of the Sabotaged Blood Supply in the Base Camp's Refrigerator Unit

The Newly-Appointed Leader MacReady Describing the Threat: ("If it takes us over, then it has no more enemies, nobody left to kill it. And then it's won")

MacReady's Shredded Jacket Found in the Snow by Fuchs

Fuchs' Charred Corpse in the Snow

Naul's Discovery of MacReady's Torn Green Uniform

MacReady's Threat: "Anyone messes with me -- and the whole camp goes"

Clark Shot Dead in the Forehead As He Lunged at MacReady with a Scalpel to Stab Him

The Two Deceased Bodies of Clark and Dr. Copper

Palmer's Head Split Vertically With an Emerging Tentacle To Strangle Windows

Windows' Face Was Pulled Head-first Into the Split Head/Mouth of the Thing (Palmer)

Thing-Palmer Incinerated by MacReady

Infected Windows Also Torched by MacReady

Underground Tunnel Used by Blair to Escape From Toolshed

Discovery of a Large Spacecraft Being Built by Blair

MacReady's Theory About Blair's Plans to Freeze Everyone

MacReady Blowing Up the Camp With Molotov Cocktails

Garry Forcing His Fingers Under Blair's Face to Suffocate and Kill Him

A Chain-Reaction of Explosions, Obliterating the Camp


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z