From the start of Bill Lancaster writing the original script to the final edited cut of the film, The Thing underwent some serious changes. A lot of footage ended up littering the cutting room floor. The Collector's Edition DVD gives us a look at some of the Outtakes and Deleted Scenes, but it falls shy of showing us what really was cut. Some of the material was abandoned or scrapped for various reasons. Some scenes were storyboarded but never filmed due to lack of time and/or budget. Carpenter himself decided to pull some scenes, like the stop-motion animation footage of the Blair Monster. And some ideas and concepts never made it past the storyboard stage as they were deemed just to difficult to pull off. Here are shots of some scenes we've been able to track down.
The Other Norwegian Corpse
MacReady and his friend...
Out on the Ice!
These are a few storyboards of one scene that is particularly memorable to those who have read Bill Lancaster's script and/or Alan Dean Foster's novelization. Instead of being killed by Blair the remaining sled dogs are assimilated by the pieces of the Thing during the kennel fight. They subsequently escape from the kennel and start hightailing it to the Antarctic coastline. Upon discovering the dogs are missing, Mac, Childs, and Bennings take off after them on snowmobiles.
This scene turns out to be one of three possible deaths for Bennings: his death we see in the film, getting murdered in the kennel, and this scene on the ice field that was never filmed. Here, Bennings gets pulled to his doom underneath the ice by one of the Dog-Things. A truly creepy sequence that Carpenter wanted to film but never attempted due to a pure lack of time and budget.
Discovery of Fuchs Body in the Greenhouse
An alternate sequence was shot for the death of Fuchs. Here, the men have formed search groups to look for Fuchs who's discovered to be missing after the lights come back on. Childs and Palmer are paired off together, and in the course of their search they check the greenhouse where they are growing marijuana. They find out that the greenhouse's roof has been mysteriously ripped away, causing the marijuana crop to freeze.
As Palmer and Childs debate about what to do with this new problem, the door begins to swing shut. To their horror, the men discover Fuchs has been impaled to the door's backside by an unknown assailant:
The 1998 Collector's Edition DVD incorrectly claims this shot is of a body found by Mac and Copper at the Norwegian camp. They've confused this picture with the second Norwegian corpse mentioned above. The novel and script have Fuchs impaled this way but with an axe in place of the shovel. It is clear that the person in this still is actor Joel Polis who played Fuchs and not an anonymous Norwegian.
MacReady and Nauls up at the shack
This is a very rare photo. We've been able to determine with certainty that this shows Mac and Nauls checking out Mac's shack. Just like what happened to the greenhouse, the men discover that the roof has been torn away. The debris in the upper right hand corner comes from this. The two are obviously shown here reacting to something, and the script tells us what it is. It is nothing other than Mac's inflatable "friend" when she gets dislodged by the wind.
Alternate Death of Windows
There was another death sequence for the radio operator Windows. In the film Windows hesitates and is attacked by Palmer-Thing and tossed aside, seriously hurt and most likely already being taken over by the Thing. He is unceremoniously torched by MacReady who does not hesitate. Another storyboard scene was planned for Windows' demise. It is similar to his death in the novel. Windows trying to escape from the Thing is attacked and dragged away to his death. Interestingly enough, the script has Windows biting down on a cyanide capsule just before he is engulfed by the Thing. Note: Windows was Sanders in the novelization and Sanchez in the script.
Alternate Death of Nauls
There were a few ideas for the death of the young cook Nauls. As it ends up the version in the final film has Nauls follow noises into the old storage room and disappears. It ends up working well by adding to a high tension climax and mystery. One set-up was for Nauls to encounter what has been called "the Boxmonster." As Blair-Thing goes through its initial stages of transformation, it was supposed to pop up and grab Nauls just as Nauls spots the twitching body of Garry around a corner. Below is the storyboard for this sequence that was not filmed.
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Outpost #31 Exclusive Deleted Scenes
A collection of deleted scenes; a couple of shots showing Fuchs' corpse less buried, Palmer and Windows, Fuchs and Copper studying the Norwegian tapes, the men in the dining room (a location that is never shown in the film), a shot of Nauls in the generator room, and a shot of Bennings alternate death.
There are 6 full motion outtakes on the DVD extras. On the VIDEOS page of this site there is a clip to watch all of these scenes.
(1) A shot showing Garry reading the dead Norwegians nametag.
(2) A scene with Blair and Fuchs discussing the Thing's cell structure.
(3) A scene with Blair talking to the men about the Thing. He explains to them saying, "That thing's not dead yet," and all the men jump back.
(4) A scene with the shredded long johns where MacReady questions Clark about what size he wears.
(5) A scene with Bennings seeing someone in the kennel which ends with Bennings discovering something inside the kennel. (Note: there is a cut scene still from advertising materials that show Bennings being attacked in the kennel by an unknown assailant. This may be a continuation or ending to this deleted scene we see.
(6) The final scene is a brief extended ending showing the smoking ruins of the camp the following day. A lone Husky stops to look back before taking off across the snow. This ending was shown in some of the television airings edits of The Thing.