Remembering “The Thing”

This dudes head is in trouble

This dude's head is in trouble

One of my favorite movies growing up and to this day is John Carpenter’s The Thing. Recently there has been talk of redoing this classic movie, which leaves me depressed.  Why re-make a great movie?  But, that is for another time.  Read on for some of the compelling questions The Thing asks, and some possible answers.  One thing that will remain true – the writers and director of The Thing did such a good job leaving the ending open that very near every possible outcome one can imagine is valid.  


The worst part for humanity in The Thing is that it doesn’t matter what the team does, the parasite will take over in a matter of time.  This Thing is patient.  How far down was the spaceship buried?  How long did the organism wait in isolation?  The movie doesn’t delve into specifics, but unless that ship had some sort of power to create heat, it is safe to assume The Thing would have been colder than -32 degrees.  Yet, it managed to survive long enough underground in spacecraft to wreck havoc on the foreign team that opened the hatch. 


If this Thing is capable of sustaining extreme cold in a sort of “hibernation” then one can logically make the assumption it can also withstand extreme heat, in this case the type of heat generated from an explosion or a flame thrower.  We know (learn through watching the movie) the organism is sensitive to heat, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t robust enough to survive it on the cellular level.


If this organism came from outer space, it is not unrealistic to think that Earth, even at such extreme locations as Antarctica and the South Pole, is relatively mild compared to other climates a space traveler may encounter on distant worlds.  To insinuate at the end of the movie that by walking out into the frigid wasteland of Antarctica that the survivors can kill The Thing, somehow causing it to die of exposure is a bit far-fetched in my mind.  Even if that were the case, there are still carcasses and blood all over the facility, and there is no doubt that some of the gore will be spared on account of the fire not destroying everything.  Also, and this is more inferred than factual, but if the scientist in the facility had blood samples in the Pietre dishes it is also a highly likely conclusion that they had blood samples in the big freezers or refrigerators on site, which would not only protect the parasite from the flames, but would also preserve it in a cold state.


Another thing to consider is that despite the fact they were at an isolated location in Antarctica, it isn’t the Stone Age.  Satellites and radio communication were available, and even if it wasn’t shown in the movie, it is understood that those remote locations make contact on a very regular basis with the more domesticated areas of Earth.  Hence, one can expect a reaction in the form of a recon team probably no sooner than a week, but no less than 20 days.  If the parasite managed to stay in state for possibly centuries underground in a frozen state, it could conceivably withstand the harsh Antarctic weather for less than a month, especially the organisms stored in a refrigerated unit or protected from wind in the charred remains of the building.


The only logical answer is that humanity is in serious trouble for the time being, because within a month this organism is probably going to find all new hosts, and as you noticed, it took longer and longer for the traits to show up, which may either mean the person is a stronger human or that the organism is learning, in which case it realizes that if it wants to get anywhere, it must disguise itself in order to fool the humans.


The reality is, even if MacReady and Childs are infected, or if one is, or neither, the fact remains it is now only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose, because when you have a few army and civilian guys at a remote outpost, Will Smith movies have taught us they will try to kill bad things, but when the recon group comes in they will take that organism and return to base, where in the underground labs they will poke it and prod it until it grabs a hold of the president and sends telepathic images of what the aliens will do to ‘Earff’….well, you get the idea.


The end result is eventually going to be the same.  Either the parasite takes over the entire world, or Will Smith and Bruce Willis will team up and save us from certain doom.  I choose the former as the more logical conclusion, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed on the latter. – Max


~ by maxaverage on December 3, 2008.

One Response to “Remembering “The Thing””

  1. […] We’ve paid tribute to John Carpenter’s masterpiece early on in our history here at isnotawasteland.  Go here to read up that that: […]


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