Tag Archives: The Thing From Another World

My take on the ambiguous ending for John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” (Major spoilers.)

John Carpenter’s 1982 tour-de-force, “The Thing,” is arguably the best horror movie of the decade.  It paid little attention to the movie it ostensibly remakes, the standard, boilerplate, flying-saucer Saturday-matinee of “The Thing From Another World” (1951). It presumably paid greater attention to its real and far darker source material, “Who Goes There?,” John W. Campbell Jr.’s 1938 horror-sci-fi novella.

One of the things the movie’s fans still debate heatedly is its bleak ending — I think it goes beyond ambiguous to downright mysterious.  Viewers actually are given no certainty whatsoever about who or what are actually pictured onscreen in the film’s Antarctic setting, after a fiery climax for this gory, special-effects-heavy actioner.  (Only people who have seen the film know what I am talking about.)

My own interpretation is a little less popular than the others you hear about.  To conceal spoilers, I’m sharing it after the poster image below.  [IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE, STOP READING NOW!]

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Continue reading My take on the ambiguous ending for John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” (Major spoilers.)

Oh! Just one more Thing tonight!!

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You’re glad I reminded you, aren’t you?

I told Pete Harrison the other night that I watched the 2011 prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece, “The Thing.”

He simply responded, “Why?”

To me and undoubtedly many others, the 80’s classic will always be the paradigmatic horror – science fiction movie.  Because I admire a well made house as much as anyone, but AIN’T NO CARPENTER LIKE JOHN CARPENTER.  (Nobody repeat that, I want to copyright it and sell bumper stickers at horror conventions.)

Yes, the recent prequel inexplicably has the exact same title as the 1982 movie, and I have no frikkin’ idea why.  That just seems … deliberately stupid.  Nor is that the 2011 film’s only flaw … it’s universally maligned.

Does the 2011 outing really deserve all its bad press?  I say no.  Among other things, it delivered some fine goopity-gloppity monster goodness, delivered by an archetypal flying saucer, no less.  That’s something that I find refreshing in a horror movie marketplace that just seems inundated with demons and ghosts.  (I loved “Insidious,” but enough already.)

C’mon, Hollywood.  There are plenty of horror fans out there who grew up loving giant ants, Marine-baiting “Aliens,” werewolves, swarms of spiders troubling William Shatner, and the adversaries of Godzilla.  It’s why I gave a positive review to this year’s “Jurassic World,” despite a script of the same quality as that of “Gilligan’s Island.”  I want to see velociraptors chase a speeding truck.  I will ALWAYS want to see velociraptors chase a speeding truck.

And … I liked the 2011 movie’s protagonist!  Trying to mimic MacReady’s cunning anti-hero would have redundant!  This story featured a smart, young lady scientist who turned out to be tough under pressure.  That kinda worked for me.

I actually have seen 1951’s “The Thing From Another World,” but that was 30 years ago on VHS, with my “Movie Uncle,” John Muth.  I have NOT read “Who Goes There?,” John W. Campbell, Jr.’s 1938 novella upon which all of these films were based.  But I’m planning to.  (Last time I checked, it was floating around online somewhere.)

I’m just waiting for the first big blizzard to hit next winter.  Because ATMOSPHERE.