No movie is without its faults. THE THING, in spite of its being the masterpiece of cinema that it is, is certainly no exception. With its intense fan following the film has been run through the gauntlet many times over, and more than a fair number of errors have been uncovered. Here are the Goofs in chronological order:
-In the trailer during Mac and Norris' descent down to the saucer there are crew and cameras visible in the lower right of the frame. This scene has been corrected in the feature film where matte painting covers up the visible crew.
-In the scene where Garry is reading the dead Norwegians name tag the corpse clearly blinks.
-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.
-Norwegian in the helicopter pulls the same grenade out of the case 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 t and on the blood storage fridge.
-The lower eye of the Kennel-Thing opens and then rolls downward suddenly to look at the floor (Bottin spoke publicly of this error 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.
-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 in Queen Maud Land about 400 miles to the 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 about 900 miles away. Windows should've been trying to reach 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 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 at this point in the film should most definitely 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 (and appears to be laughing) 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/inserted post production.
-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 an obviously 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.
-When the Blair-Thing pushes its hand into Garry's face the pinkie finger misses the effects 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.
When Mac and Nauls leave MacReady’s shack, Nauls gets ahead of Mac on the tow line, and then cuts him loose in the storm. Nauls then follows the tow line back to the camp. However he arrives at the wrong door. He shows up at the north entrance, or what is called the main entrance in the film. If he had followed the tow line from the shack back to the camp, he would have shown up at the south entrance. (The south entrance is the entrance Windows returns to when Mac and Nauls head up to the shack. This is also the entrance Fuchs uses when he goes outside after the lights go out in the lab, and the one Childs uses when he goes out to check on the tractor.) Following the towline back, Nauls would not have arrived more than 100 feet away at the opposite end of the outpost at the north entrance, he would have reached the camp directly at the south entrance. A few minutes after Nauls arrives, we have Mac arrive at the same north entrance, with no guideline, which is more realistic as he would have been wandering blind in the storm—with no tow line to follow. (How Mac found the north entrance is explained in the story Break & Enter.)