The Thing (aka John Carpenter’s The Thing) is a 1982 science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film’s title refers to its primary antagonist: a parasitic extraterrestrial lifeform that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. It infiltrates an Antarctic research station, taking the appearance of the researchers that it kills, and paranoia occurs within the group.
Ostensibly a remake of the classic 1951 Howard Hawks-Christian Nyby film The Thing from Another World, Carpenter’s film is a more faithful adaptation of the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. which inspired the 1951 film. Carpenter considers The Thing to be the first part of his Apocalypse Trilogy, followed by Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness. Although the films are unrelated, each feature a potentially apocalyptic scenario; should « The Thing » ever reach civilization, it would be only a matter of time before it consumes Humanity and takes over the Earth.
The theatrical box office performance of the film was poor. This has been attributed to many factors, including Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which was released at the time and features a more optimistic view of alien visitation. However, The Thing has gone on to gain a cult following with the release on home video. It was subsequently ‘novelized’ in 1982, adapted into a comic book miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics, and was followed by a video game sequel in 2002, with a film prequel due for release in 2011.