John Carpenter's The Thing Discussion Thread(Please add spoiler tags)

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
 

Cumulus

Standard Member
Because you Darrian trying to keep this thread alive I thought I should contribute by giving my view of the leadership in Carpenters "The Thing". Feel free to come up with alternative views, it will only enhance the discussion.

At the beginning of the film, the camp authorities seem to consist of the trio Garry, Dr Blair and to some extent Dr Copper. They were all civilians used to run a camp during quite normal circumstances, save for boredom and extreme winter conditions. The camp was quite informal though, and the members had quite a lot of autonomy and expertise with Macready and Clark as the most prominent examples. The group as such seems to have functioned well, even if they all had their small personal quirks.

What happened to the leadership when the sh*t started to hit the fan? My view is that it started to crumble. First off was Garry who seems to have lost his confidence after shooting the Norwegian. This I think, was a very realistic portrayal. Garry seem to only have carried his gun as a mark of authority, not really expecting to use it. Furthermore, he probably didn't have any experience shooting a man before, and he seems to got ridden of feelings of guilt/remorse. What might also be a contributing factor was that the events was so far fetched and violent he couldn't handle it, and therefore lost his will to lead. In any case he gave up/resigned from his authority quite early.

The real leader of the camp was Dr Blair but he couldn't handle the events either. He clearly understood the enormous implications of their encounter and took action long before anyone had an inkling of what was going on. Unfortunately he also understood what it meant for him and the camp and fell into a grave depression. The speed of how Dr Blair understood the series of events, even at an emotional level, suggests he was a very intelligent man. I guess that made him among the first to be targeted by the Thing (mainly because the creature realized he was a great asset/threat).

The third person was Dr Copper but he really didn't have any authority outside his medical field and couldn't be of much help, unless he got support from the other two in the trio.

So the old leadership not only crumbled but crashed. What happened after was that a fight for a new leadership ensured, with the Thing trying to affect the outcome. Macready emerged as the leader of the group after some struggle, probably because his prior experience of adversial conditions (somebody mentioned Macready was a military helicopter pilot in Vietnam as a part of the backstory) but also because he began to gain the trust of the group.
 
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Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
Because you Darrian trying to keep this thread alive I thought I should contribute by giving my view of the leadership in Carpenters "The Thing". Feel free to come up with alternative views, it will only enhance the discussion.

At the beginning of the film, the camp authorities seem to consist of the trio Garry, Dr Blair and to some extent Dr Copper. They were all civilians used to run a camp during quite normal circumstances, save for boredom and extreme winter conditions. The camp was quite informal though, and the members had quite a lot of autonomy and expertise with Macready and Clark as the most prominent examples. The group as such seems to have functioned well, even if they all had their small personal quirks.

What happened to the leadership when the sh*t started to hit the fan? My view is that it started to crumble. First off was Garry who seems to have lost his confidence after shooting the Norwegian. This I think, was a very realistic portrayal. Garry seem to only have carried his gun as a mark of authority, not really expecting to use it. Furthermore, he probably didn't have any experience shooting a man before, and he seems to got ridden of feelings of guilt/remorse. What might also be a contributing factor was that the events was so far fetched and violent he couldn't handle it, and therefore lost his will to lead. In any case he gave up/resigned from his authority quite early.

The real leader of the camp was Dr Blair but he couldn't handle the events either. He clearly understood the enormous implications of their encounter and took action long before anyone had an inkling of what was going on. Unfortunately he also understood what it meant for him and the camp and fell into a grave depression. The speed of how Dr Blair understood the series of events, even at an emotional level, suggests he was a very intelligent man. I guess that made him among the first to be targeted by the Thing (mainly because the creature realized he was a great asset/threat).

The third person was Dr Copper but he really didn't have any authority outside his medical field and couldn't be of much help, unless he got support from the other two in the trio.

So the old leadership not only crumbled but crashed. What happened after was that a fight for a new leadership ensured, with the Thing trying to affect the outcome. Macready emerged as the leader of the group after some struggle, probably because his prior experience of adversial conditions (somebody mentioned Macready was a military helicopter pilot in Vietnam as a part of the backstory) but also because he began to gain the trust of the group.
Yes I read somewhere that Mac was a former military soldier but he also seemed the most down to Earth and everybody seemed to like him, at first.
He didn't seem to hesitate to take charge when a Thing appeared "Mac wants a flamethrower". No one questioned the request as in "Who's Mac to want a flamethrower? I'm not listening to him."
He asked Copper to design a test to flush out the thing. Everyone else listened to him as it was obvious he was in charge.

Garry was an interesting case as really he should've took charge. Yes he had the gun and I think you are correct the shooting of the Norwegian shook him. I would also like to point out he was a crack shot with the gun though so had experience in using one.
I think Garry really crumbled after the Bennings incident. Seeing his long time friend become a Thing was just too much for him.

No one could trust anyone else but as Mac said "If you were all those things you would just rush me"

What would you do in such a situation?
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
 

Cumulus

Standard Member
Yes, I agree with you a lot in what you are writing. Garry is perhaps a crack shooter with his gun, but the crucial difference between him and Macready, isn't that Macready is a military, but that Mac seems to have combat experience, he has encountered real enemies before. Therefore, he makes quick decisions on the spot and kill former crewmembers without too much hesitation. Note how Childs does hesitate burning the dog-Thing and Clarks comment :"I mean, he wasted Norris pretty quick, right?". Macready also thinks clearly and can assess what he wants to solve the situation (the flamethrower, the new test and so on). He only tries to fight this thing and do what is required for the group to somehow survive, at least up to a point when he realizes it might be best for humanity if all of them die. This is a very dark theme of the film and probably why many shunned the film when it showed for the first time in cinemas. I, however, think it makes the film for a more mature audience, that doesn't require the usual tailored happy ending.

That Garry gets passive by being mentally unprepared for guilt, shock and/or sheer terror is excellent writing/acting. This really comes through when Garry being unable comprehend the events in his comment "But I've known Bennings for ten years!", as if that mattered.It reveals his shock and mental disarray and is one of the beautiful small details that makes this film so good.

Garry redeem himself and really catches up when his is proven wrong and gets angry in the couch-scene. But he is wise enough and follows Macready lead in the final scenes, but still not mentally prepared to deal with former friends in a hostile manner, which becomes his undoing. He does hesitate in his crucial final moment because he has known Dr Blair too.

I think Garry (and all of the crew) were great human beings caught up in very extreme circumstances and I wonder if it happened in real life, one ever would have survived such an ordeal oneself.

What is also interesting in the film is who Macready struggles with in finding the leadership position. I think it is Clark and Childs, those two competitors who are most similar to him in age and to some extent being practical men. I think this has some ring of truth to it in some workplaces for both men and women. We rather see someone different (and someone we don't compete with) to get promoted than someone who is very much like us.
 
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Cumulus

Standard Member
I have to add that my former posts is an film analysis. Someone might take it at face value. Well, no, it is not the "truth". People with different views is therefore invited to contribute with their own take on what is going on in the film.
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member

Rambo John J

Distinguished Member
it always seemed like Alan Dean Foster wrote all my favourite movie/script-to-novel adaptations when I was a kid
 
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Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
Different scenes/music and sound effects.

 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
The Things by 2011 Hugo Award Nominee Peter Watts The Things - The story of John Carpenters classic Sci-Fi Horror movie as told from the perspective of the creature as it battles to survive.

Narrated with the permission of Peter Watts..

 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
Full book adaptation.

 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
I actually like the 2011 version but still funny.

 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
media.JPG


Mediabooks coming out of Germany. On Amazon for pre-order.
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
Capture.JPG


Can anyone kindly translate this from the French Laserdisc?
 

SDMDAM

Well-known Member
I don't have perfect French (far from it) but I think the first parts says...

At the end of the Thing when McCready and Childs are speaking, the breath of McCready is white (clear) but you cannot see Childs'.Is this just down to the lighting or, would this suggest something else, is Childs the Thing?
 
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SDMDAM

Well-known Member
The second part is a bit trickier for me but it could be...

They were both filmed in the same temperature but Childs is (enlightened - does not make sense to me). As a consequence you do not see his breath. We lit McCready so that you could see his breath. I think McCready is the Thing you SEE.
 
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Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
Childs is (enlightened - does not make sense to me). [/SPOILER]
Cross lit.
Literally "lit from the side."

Just meaning that the vapour in his breath is not visible because of the direction of the lighting.

Carpenter has given more than one version of this story ranging from an accident of the lighting to an intentional suggestion that either Childs or MacReady is The Thing. He seems to change his mind every time he's asked!

Edit: The German Turbine release included a booklet titled "Inside the Thing" which reiterates the 'happy accident' version of events. I'll see if I can dig it out when I get home.
It's a really great bit of writing on the film, if you fancy learning German.
 

Racquel Darrian

Well-known Member
JC has said he knows which one is the thing at the end but he won't reveal who.
 

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