Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
What Was I Watching Before? Bryan Singer Says 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Is "The True Birth Of The X-Men" What Was I Watching Before? Bryan Singer Says 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Is "The True Birth Of The X-Men" Review & Recap: 'True Detective' Season 2, Episode 3 'Maybe Tomorrow' Review & Recap: 'True Detective' Season 2, Episode 3 'Maybe Tomorrow' Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Epic New Trailer For Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, & More Watch: Epic New Trailer For Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, & More The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: Michael Fassbender Plays ‘Steve Jobs’ In New Trailer For Oscar-Contender Co-Starring Kate Winslet & Seth Rogen Watch: Michael Fassbender Plays ‘Steve Jobs’ In New Trailer For Oscar-Contender Co-Starring Kate Winslet & Seth Rogen Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

5 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 25, 2012 at 1:58PM

June 25, 1982, was a good day for genre fans. Hell, that summer saw a spate of genre classics released, including "The Road Warrior," "Poltergeist," and "E.T." But June 25th in particular saw not only the release, as we discussed earlier today, of "Blade Runner," but also another legendary sci-fi picture, which like Ridley Scott's film, wasn't well-received at the time, and flopped at the box office, but went on to be enshrined in the geek hall of fame. No, it's not Barry Bostwyck vehicle "MegaForce," it was John Carpenter's terrifying "The Thing," which despite the efforts of last year's poor retread/prequel, remains one of the greatest sci-fi/horrors ever made.
5
The Thing

June 25, 1982, was a good day for genre fans. Hell, that summer saw a spate of genre classics released, including "The Road Warrior," "Poltergeist," and "E.T." But June 25th in particular saw not only the release, as we discussed earlier today, of "Blade Runner," but also another legendary sci-fi picture, which like Ridley Scott's film, wasn't well-received at the time, and flopped at the box office, but went on to be enshrined in the geek hall of fame. No, it's not Barry Bostwyck vehicle "MegaForce," but John Carpenter's terrifying "The Thing," which despite the efforts of last year's poor retread/prequel, remains one of the greatest sci-fi/horrors ever made.

Technically a remake of Howard Hawks' well-loved 1951 "The Thing From Another World," which Carpenter pays tribute to in the opening moments, the new film took a very different approach, ramping up both the paranoia and the eye-popping physical effects, which maintain the power to disgust even today. To mark the 30th anniversary of John Carpenter's "The Thing," we've assembled five facts you may not be aware of. Unless you're one of them... Check them out below.  

The Thing
1. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" helmer Tobe Hooper was the first director attached.
Producer Stuart Cohen (who keeps an excellent and detailed blog about the making of the film), David Foster and Lawrence Turman took the prospect of a remake of Howard Hawks' "The Thing From Another World" (or more accurately, a new, more faithful adaptation of John W. Campbell's story "Who Goes There?"), to Universal, where Turman-Foster Productions had a deal, in the mid 1970s. "The Sugarland Express" writers Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins had the rights, but they passed on the new adaptation, and Universal picked up the book from them. While Cohen says he wanted his old USC classmate John Carpenter involved from the start, the director hadn't yet broken out with "Halloween," and Universal had Tobe Hooper, director of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," under contract at that point, and he was hired along with writing partner Kim Henkel. However, producers weren't pleased with their script, described by Cohen as "a sort of Antarctica 'Moby Dick' with an Ahab-like character (I believe his name was The Captain) battling a large, but decidedly non-shape shifting creature...a tone poem with a stab at a Southern, Davis Grubb-like feel" After a meeting with "Animal House" helmer John Landis, playwright David Wiltse was brought on, but that draft too failed to meet muster, and neither did a treatment from "Logan's Run" scribe William F. Nolan. The project then languished for a few years until the success of "Alien" saw it pick up steam again, and Carpenter, who'd reinvented the horror genre with "Halloween," was loosely attached, although didn't want to write the script himself. A number of scribes were approached, including sci-fi legend Richard Matheson (who turned it down), "Quatermass" creator Nigel Kneale, and "The Deer Hunter" writer Derek Washburn, but it was Bill Lancaster, son of screen legend Burt Lancaster, and writer of the "Bad News Bears" movies, who proved the right fit, with Carpenter declaring his eventual draft -- delivered three and a half months late -- as the best script he'd ever read. Even then, there was nearly another hitch -- just as the film threatened to be greenlit, Carpenter thought that a horror-western passion project "El Diablo," was close to being made at EMI Films, and nearly bailed. Walter Hill, Michael Ritchie and even Sam Peckinpah were all discussed as replacements before Carpenter came back to the fold.

This article is related to: 5 Things You Might Not Know About..., They Live, John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, On This Day In Movie History


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates