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SFMZ's Features on The Thing 1982:

John Carpenter's The Thing 1982
Enhanced Script Presentation

This presentation of The Thing 1982 script offers a robust display with highlighted dialog along with accompanying images from the film.

The Thing 1982 Plot & Screenshots

This feature is a one page condensed version of our enhanced script presentation. Also featured are character/cast highlights and more.

The Thing 1982 Commentaries

Was Palmer an alien when they were at the alien ship site? Would the Palmer-Thing be able to fly a helicopter? This and more topics on Carpenter's sci-fi horror classic, exploring various perspectives.

The Thing 1982 Bogus Goofs

SFMZ and the characters of The Thing take a poke at the available online goofs inaccurately attached to Carpenter's horror sci-fi classic.

The Thing 1982 Image Gallery

While our Thing 82 sections has various screenshots throughout, the image gallery highlights other visuals such as posters, behind the scenes, and more.

SFMZ's The Similarities Between
Alien and The Thing 82

This feature is in our More Sci-Fi section since it involves two films from separate franchises. Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) just beg to be compared and SFMZ offers up a checklist on their shared concepts.

Bill Lancaster (19471997)

The Thing Universe Geography

The alien ship site was located within Dronning (Queen) Maud Land (Norway claimed territory of Antarctica), below the Thorshavnheiane Plateau in the Nansenisen Terrain (Norwegian).

The fictional Norwegian camp (Thule Station, in real world it's called Troll Station) was located very close to the Sr Rondane Mountains just above the Nansenisen Terrain.

I say fictional Norwegian camp because Thule/Troll Station did not exist until it opened in 1990, eight years after the movie's time line (1982).

In the The Thing 2011 prequel, the character Carter mentions a Russian base "50 miles away." Above the Sr Rondane Mountains and somewhat near the coast is the closest real world Russian base, Novolazarevskaya Station.

To use the face of a clock as a reference, with the alien ship site being the exact center point of the clock face, the Novolazarevskaya Station is located approximately at 12 o'clock high.

The fictional American camp would be located approximately at 3 o'clock. The Russian base is slightly closer to the alien ship site than the American camp, but not by much.

And both the Russian station and the fictional American camp are a whole lot more than 50 miles away from the alien ship site, at least on real world map. It's more like hundreds of miles (500 miles maybe?).

The fictional Norwegian (destroyed) camp would be the closest location from the alien ship site, but even it was located a whole lot more than 50 miles away (2-300 miles maybe?).

In the prequel, the character Kate ends up at the alien ship site at the end of the movie. Whatever direction she took, she would be a meat Popsicle before ever making it to any of the three locations (assuming she had to hoof it).

If white-out storms hit during her journey, vision is blinded beyond ten feet, she could wind up walking in a wide circle.

In the script, she starts walking back to the destroyed Norwegian camp, her fate not explained. My call would be..........She dead!

Now if the Russian base mentioned in the prequel is a fictional base also, then it's all bets are off. You can plop a fictional camp anywhere that's close.

Also, going by real world map, the dog-thing in 1982 never would have made it to Outpost 31 being several hundreds miles away from the Norwegian camp (based on real world map). It would have collapsed from exhaustion without taking a break in the first few hours.

A sled dog can travel up to 100 miles in one day (depending on conditioning and the terrain), but that would include numerous rest stops by the sled dog owner. In the real world, the chopper would have picked off the exhausted and collapsed dog within the first few hours of the chase.

So I would imagine in the movie, the Norwegian camp is just around the corner, figuratively speaking, from the American camp.

According to the sign post outside the camp, the Antarctic research team is stationed at the United States National Science Institute Station 4. However, in early drafts of the script, the base was called, "U.S. Outpost 31".

When making a recording of events, Kurt Russell's character, MacReady, signs off as, "R.J. MacReady, helicopter pilot, U.S. Outpost #31".


The Thing 1982

Howard Hawks's original 1951 production of The Thing from Another World can be glimpsed playing on a TV that fateful October evening in John Carpenter's blockbuster hit, Halloween (1978). A few years later, Carpenter reteamed with his Escape from New York star Kurt Russell to do a remake.

But while the first movie version of The Thing was in atmospheric black and white, Carpenter's 1982 version is in widescreen, full color, and features some of the most revoltingly explicit, surreally imaginative special effects (courtesy of FX-meister Rob Bottin) that have ever been seen on the screen.

The film took three months to shoot on six artificially frozen sound stages in Los Angeles, with many of the crew and actors working in cold conditions. The final weeks of shooting took place in northern British Columbia, near the border with Alaska, where snow was guaranteed to fall. John Carpenter filmed the Norwegian camp scenes at the end of production. The Norwegian camp was simply the remains of the American outpost after it was destroyed by an explosion.

This Thing is chilling in every sense of the word, with plenty of terrifying, adrenaline-pumping moments that build it to a powerful and shockingly nihilistic conclusion. It's a harsh and uncompromising movie (hewing more closely to the original 1930s story "Who Goes There?") - - so much so that it probably never would have been given a green-light by any studio in the more cautious and doggedly upbeat 1990s. - - Jim Emerson

The Thing opened #8 and remained in the top 10 at the box office for three weeks. The movie was released in the United States on June 25, 1982 in 840 theaters and was issued an "R" rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (limiting attendees to 17 and older without a guardian). The film cost $15,000,000 to produce, and debuted at #8 at the box office, with an opening weekend gross of $3.1 million. It went on to make $19,629,760 domestically.

Carpenter and other writers have speculated that the film's poor performance was due to the release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial two weeks earlier, with its more optimistic scenario of alien visitation (which received a "PG" rating from the MPAA). The Thing also opened on the same day as Ridley Scott's science fiction film Blade Runner, which debuted at #2.

The film received mixed reviews upon release. The film's groundbreaking makeup special effects were simultaneously lauded and lambasted for being technically brilliant but visually repulsive. Film critic Roger Ebert praised the film's scariness and special effects, calling them "among the most elaborate, nauseating, and horrifying sights yet achieved by Hollywood's new generation of visual magicians" and called the film itself "a great barf-bag movie".

However, he criticized what he felt were poor characterizations and illogical plot elements, ultimately giving the film 2 stars out of 4. In his review for The New York Times, Vincent Canby called it "a foolish, depressing, overproduced movie that mixes horror with science fiction to make something that is fun as neither one thing or the other. Sometimes it looks as if it aspired to be the quintessential moron movie of the 80s".

Time magazine's Richard Schickel wrote, "Designer Rob Bottin's work is novel and unforgettable, but since it exists in a near vacuum emotionally, it becomes too domineering dramatically and something of an exercise in abstract art".

In his review for the Washington Post, Gary Arnold called the film "a wretched excess". Jay Scott, in his review for the Globe and Mail, called the film "a hell of an antidote to E.T.". Arnold continues, "There's a big difference between shock effects and suspense, and in sacrificing everything at the altar of gore, Carpenter sabotages the drama. The Thing is so single-mindedly determined to keep you awake that it almost puts you to sleep".

In his review for Newsweek, David Ansen wrote, "Astonishingly, Carpenter blows it." Despite mixed contemporary reviews, the film has been reappraised substantially in the years following its release, and now maintains an 79% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site's consensus stating "Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects."

It's been listed as one of the best of 1982 by and The film ranked #97 on Rotten Tomatoes' Journey Through Sci-Fi (100 Best-Reviewed Sci-Fi Movies), and a scene from The Thing was listed as #48 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

Similarly, the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 17th scariest film ever made. The Thing was named "the scariest movie ... ever!" by the staff of the Boston Globe. In 2008, the film was selected by Empire magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. In 2011, The New York Times asked prominent horror filmmakers what film they had found the scariest.

John Sayles and Edgar Wright, cited The Thing. "The theater was full, and I had to sit in the front row", Sayles recalled. The Thing received nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films for Best Horror Film and Best Special Effects, but lost to Poltergeist and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, respectively.

The Thing 1982 Plot & Screenshots > > >

The Thing Main

The Thing 1951

The Thing 1982

The Thing 2011

The Elusive Faithful Adaption

Who Goes There

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