With Thing Week at its close, I would like to take this time to tell everybody (again) that it is the 29th Anniversary of The Thing’s theatrical release. Next year, funnily enough, will the 30th anniversary as well as the apocalyptic 2012. I will hopefully have something big planned but for now I decided to close off this week with my interpretation of the ending to The Thing. Yes, I’m closing off a week of The Thing to talk about the end of The Thing. Those of you interested, I did write up a “legacy” article last year. The eternal question for this film is, who is the thing? At the end, MacReady blows up the entire compound and falls to ground in utter exhaust. Rising up from the rubble we find Childs walking up to MacReady and the two men, with itchy trigger fingers, wait to see who will turn into a monster and the picture closes. Was Childs the thing or was it MacReady? Many people have said that MacReady is the thing because they feel like it would be a great twist to make our antihero become an alien. Others take the more heroic route and say that Childs is the thing because it wouldn’t be right to have MacReady turned into an alien. The comic books and possibly sequels are in favor of making MacReady the only human survivor. Excluding all the fan-fiction, comic books and fan-made sequels here is what I think of the ending.
I’ll skip right to the point. I think that none of the men were infected and the tragedy is that MacReady thinks Childs is the thing and Childs thinks MacReady is the thing, so the two will ultimately kill themselves. I believe that MacReady killed the thing when he bombed the outpost. I’ll stick with fans and say that since MacReady is our hero, it wouldn’t be right for him to be an alien… because if he’s the spitting image of the modern American hero, he must survive. As for Childs, I consider him an antihero as well but with more brawn and brass. For the most part, whenever the thing takes form of a human, you can tell by the way it moves and walks that it feels uncomfortable as if it’s not accustom to human anatomy. When the thing imitated BLANK, you can tell by the way it lifted up the flamethrower that it was in pain. When it infected Palmer, it was tied down but kept really quiet. When the thing imitates another person, it has the capability of talking but chooses not to talk; instead it puts on a paranoid face. When Childs walks up to MacReady, he does it with ease, caution and fluidity. He engages in conversation with him and doesn’t look like he’s uncomfortable in his own skin. Many may argue that maybe it took a while for the thing to adapt to human anatomy but I don’t buy that because given how fast it takes to imitate, it should adapt by (at the most) the second person.
So there’s my take on the ending. The thing was ultimately destroyed and the two men were not infected but that won’t satisfy their paranoia. That’s not to say that maybe some remnants of the thing are still in the ice or maybe escaped from the compound before they blew it up (the blood that spilled on the floor). Now that the 2nd Thing Week has passes us, I think it’s a great time to do what I always do and provide some great Thing links from other bloggers. And with that, I want to thank those who contributed, not just with suggestions and written pieces but also to those who contributed their thoughts on my articles. I greatly appreciate it.
Horror Film Quotes with the World “Pants” Inserted: The Thing Edition from Evil on Two Legs
Kinder Flix: John Carpenter’s The Thing – Fully Sweded from Kindertrauma
Awesome Movie Poster Friday – The John Carpenter Edition from Final Girl
Monday Morricone Madness: The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982) from Days are Numbers - A great article on the music of The Thing. And if you like the music, you can download it at Sideshow Cinema.
Halloween Top 13: The Remake #1: The Thing (1982) from The Lightning Bug’s Lair
The Thing (1982) from Zombies Don’t Run
John Carpenter’s The Thing: I still Say Kurt Russell’s Finest Performance Was in OverBoard from The Horror Digest
The Thing from Lost Highway – make sure you look for the ‘things I learned’ portion.