-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 sight.
-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 E.T."
-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 film.
-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 Wonder's "Superstitious".
-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. (At the bottom it says: "KEEP ANTARCTICA GREEN")
-The prominently featured black & white sign on the wall of the rec room is a WWII era for STI's. It says: "THEY AREN'T LABELED CHUM" and the woman is holding 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-Alaskan malamute/half-wolf cross 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 Winston."
-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 'pissed-off cabbage".
-Unbelievably there are 52 gunshots fired in this film.
-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 colorful 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 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 Hyderization.
-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.
-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: "ICE"
Original Air Date: Nov. 5th, 1993
The 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 Columbia, Canada.
"Scully! For God sakes, it’s me!"
"Mulder, you may not be who you are."
Official Body Count for The Thing
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...
Norwegian Outpost (Thule Station)
- 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 'Split-Face' Thing 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 Carpenter's film.
- 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. Survival 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...
U.S. Outpost #31
- 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 flamethower,
- 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…
- MacReady: 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.