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The Thing Ending : Shocking facts revealed
Bijesh-Updated Jan 27, 2021
There is no-thing funny about this ending. There is some-thing weird about it, that’s for sure. Ambiguous is the word that springs to mind when fans broach the topic of how the Kurt Russell starrer “The Thing” ended.
This article contains spoilers, so if faint of the heart, proceed with caution.
Brought forth from the beautifully horrifying imagination of the legendary John Carpenter, this tale has enjoyed fame for four solid decades since its release in 1982, and accumulated a fair share of gossip and fan-theory during that time.
The SciFi-Horror genre is known to have strange endings for a plethora of titles, but this one has left fans wondering “What just happened?”
The Plot of “The Thing”
Horror critics and fans alike have enjoyed the sheer gruesome excellence they witnessed in this movie directed by John Carpenter.
Imagine this: you’re in the freezing Antarctic, inside a research station there, and you gradually come to realize that you’re not alone.
In fact, not being alone gets worse when you learn that an unseen alien entity has decided it doesn’t like having you around.
Rob Bottin’s makeup and creature design brilliance further enhanced the unforgettable Sci-Fi narrative that prevails throughout this film.
Aside from the action-hero presence of Kurt Russell, this movie also gave fans amazing performances from Wilford Brimley, Keith David, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Charles Hallahan, Thomas Waites, and more.
All this we already know. What we’re not sure of is whether the plot actually planned to generate so many unanswered questions and implications with the movie's ending.
How “The Thing” Movie Unravels
The movie set a clear-cut tone when it showed an alien spacecraft landing on Earth, crash-landing in Antarctica to be exact. But it would be 100,000 years before our main characters discover it buried deep in the ice.
The character Norris (played by Charles Hallahan) reveals as much. So far so 80s. And then the Thing, which is quite literally what it’s called, starts roving around the research base creating all sorts of havoc, to say nothing of the plotline-implications.
For one, the alien’s craft/ship did not look like it was put together with wood and nails. That was some real sophisticated tech right there. It, therefore, establishes the alien’s intellectual dominance, more so when you consider the fact that it visited Earth thousands of years ago.
That is a lot of time for an evolved alien being to remain AWOL. It is probable that others of its race came searching for it, which implies more landed/crashed spacecraft. Funny how such high-tech vehicles can’t perform a decent landing.
This particular ship could have gone off course, which has allowed some fans to sleep soundly knowing that no more aliens are coming over because they don’t know the address their lost mate arrived at.
The movie gives us some fine sequences, especially during the Norwegian helicopter moment. The character Windows (played by Thomas G. Waites) tries to get radio assistance but can’t seem to grab hold of a signal, which is to be expected seeing as how the team is in the Antarctic.
Tensions and fears arise when the character Dr. Blair (played by Wilford Brimley) figures out that it has been more than two weeks since anyone on the outside was even contacted.
And this is the first week of winter too, as the character MacReady (played by Kurt Russell) establishes.
Thrills and Chills of "The Thing"
At a certain point in the film, fans receive the distinct idea that the Norwegian team at the station are frightfully isolated. The movie’s very tone and theme depend on this, so nobody’s complaining, except of course for the characters in the script.
We come to learn that ‘The Thing’ can divide itself, physically speaking. These hapless men may have unwittingly dug it up and set it free.
But the fact that The Thing can divide in such an inhuman manner means the alien entity could well have sent bits and pieces of itself to other parts of the Earth, maybe even to nearby research stations.
This is pure guesswork and fan-fantasizing, so don’t get your nerdy knickers in a twist.
Director Carpenter seems to have intentionally kept fans from knowing the entire origin/history of the alien creature. After all, humans have always feared the unknown. Did I just refer to my own species in the third person? Anyhoo…
Geographically speaking, history has shown that Antarctica wasn’t always an ice-desert. Lands morph and vary over time.
The crash-landed alien spacecraft has been around for a long time, long enough to have tasted the surface air every once in a while. We are not told what may or may not have taken place since this space-creature came over 100,000 years ago.
Suffice to say, by this time, the movie has well and truly dialed up the paranoia meter to an intense degree.
The creature in the film has proven to possess great finesse when it comes to infiltration and assimilation.
Who’s to say it hasn’t already done that before in all the time it had chilling on planet Earth? And why is it still near its ship? How has it survived for this long, and on what/whom?
We’re going to divide our ‘ending explanation’ into four parts, so we can provide fans and sundry a suitably detailed exploration of how this movie left us all with too many questions unanswered, and why we sorta love them for doing that.
Spoilers ahead, proceed with caution.
“The Thing” Ending Explained – Part 1
We’re nearing the finale now, with one fact having been distinctly established: the Thing could be anyone on the ship. It can take on convincing forms of those it has killed, and assimilate their bodies.
The people at the research station are certainly not fond of that realization, and the possibilities it evokes.
Obviously, in classic human fashion, they start turning on each other.
One particular scene springs to mind, namely that time when the character Nauls (played by T.K. Carter) finds MacReady’s torn jacket outside the station, assumes the worst and plans to throw the man outside to die in the cold.
Being the hero of the movie must have its perks because MacReady makes a powerful return to the base and leads the survivors to safety over time.
Convincing them with a blood test while holding them off with dynamite kinda makes us think of an exaggerated covid-19 test moment that never happened.
Now, let’s get back to that ruined jacket, shall we? Why was it there in the first place? And what explanation actually explains that piece of attire being torn the way it was?
You can go ahead and add this to your list of unanswered queries. Bear in mind, this scene ties up with the finale in an interesting way.
“The Thing” Ending Explained – Part 2
The defibrillation sequence in “The Thing” movie gave Horror-SciFi fans one of the most unforgettable gore scenes in the genre.
The character Dr. Copper (played by Richard Dysart) found himself accosted by the shape-shifting alien, which took the form of a grotesque and twisted version of the character Vance Norris (played by Charles Hallahan).
The creature ripped off Norris’s head. Fans witnessed with burgeoning shock as the head sprouted antennae and legs and scurried away before the team could set fire to the creature.
This proved the alien’s ability to divide itself (like a starfish; our observation) and possess sentience in even cut-away portions of itself.
By this time, the movie has established the efficacy of fire and body-burning when it comes to safely getting rid of the victims.
But it hasn’t been confirmed whether or not every part of such bodies was successfully burned. The alien may have just ‘jumped ship’ as it did with Norris’s head.
With this in mind, the film’s final explosion sequence dons a dark and mysterious implication of its own.
“The Thing” Ending Explained – Part 3
‘Dog killer Blair’, as we like to call him, gave viewers a sad peek into what paranoia does to the human mind.
Terrified of The Thing being anyone or anything, the character Dr. Blair (played by Wilford Brimley) goes on a destruction spree to root out and rid the base of The Thing.
From comm systems and vehicles to a doggo (named Jed in real life) who found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time, Blair leaves no suspicion unturned.
When fans later learned that Blair was infected, more questions rose up like a bonfire fed fresh gasoline.
Could the alien have been using Blair to craft a makeshift vessel while the man was thrown in isolation? Was it planning to use said spacecraft and attempt an escape from Earth before or after killing everyone at the base? These are mere presumptions and have no concrete answers.
The fact that this alien can use human skill and brain-power to further its own nefarious goals further adds to its versatility and nerve-racking potential for assimilation. This creature is quite literally an ‘intelligent life-form’.
How best can The Thing use humans and our tech to fulfill its needs is an open-ended query that has drawn plenty of fun ideas over the years.
“The Thing” Ending Explained – Part 4
Remember that blood test scene we mentioned earlier? Looks like one’s blood gets infected if the alien is inside them.
Makes medical sense, after all the creature is not of this Earth. The character Palmer (played by David Clennon) gave viewers a heart-stopping example of the infection.
Recall that hot wire and a sample of his blood in a petri dish, and the way his blood literally leaped out?
Gave many of us chills and goosebumps when we saw that scene unfold. Goes to show the alien can infuse a type of ‘disjointed intelligence’ even at the microscopic level.
Now all that blood splatter in the base, and elsewhere, does not look so harmless, does it?
Might the alien survive in a drop of blood? Can it remain in cold stasis in the ice and re-grow itself from infected blood?
And we know that all those pyrotechnics in the movie may not have thoroughly burned everything it was intended to.
See? More and more unanswered questions, and all of them with sinister implications where this other-worldly being is involved.
Justification for "The Thing" Ending
Let’s skip to the finale where we see MacReady (played by Kurt Russell) setting fire to the whole research station, though not technically every square inch of it.
Wielding a bottle of scotch like a typical American hero, he stumbles away from the burning debris only to find…
The character Childs (played by Keith David) returning from what he says was an attempt to seek out Dr. Blair who went missing sometime during the final struggle.
Both the men obviously have their suspicion meters at the red end. Kurt makes a witty statement to the effect ‘let’s wait and see what happens, we may just freeze to death before anything does.’
The alien has shown remarkable survival skills in the 1982 movie “The Thing”, leading fans to understand that perhaps this alien now resides, or rather is, either MacReady or Childs.
That the creature can divide and store intelligence in separate parts of itself, or even in parts of assimilated forms, means The Thing could be both MacReady and Childs at the same time.
At this point, dear reader, you’re probably just looking for confirmation instead of any justification for this brilliant movie’s rather bizarre ending. I’m afraid we are fresh out of justifications.
Online Reactions to "The Thing" Ending
According to Looper (the website):
“Some fans claim Mac’s bottle isn’t filled with Scotch, but gasoline, and perhaps he tricked Childs into proving he isn’t human by making him drink it. Some fans think that little smile at the end means Mac is the Thing.”
We appreciate cinematographer Dean Cundey’s take on the matter. He shared that Director Carpenter preferred to use light to distinguish the infected from the human.
Using this logic, fans have assumed that MacReady was safe and that Childs could have been the alien carrier.
But – and we’re sensing a pattern here – this has not been officially confirmed or verified even after forty years since the release (no pun intended) of “The Thing”.
Were Childs and MacReady rescued? Did they survive their ordeal at the research station only to die from the Antarctic freeze?
And if the human between them perished, did the alien go into some sort of ice-stasis, much like it has been doing for 100,000 years?
Here’s a Reddit discussion on the matter to help fuel your own guesses...
Popularity information of "The Thing" Ending
The popularity of any movie explains a lot to the people. It helps producers to think about a sequel. Let's have a look at how much people are excited about the thing ending.
We covered Google Trends for “The Thing” not just from the United States of America.
We also took a page out of this topic from worldwide trends. Whether or not The Thing survived, the hype around this John Carpenter classic is very much alive.
If we observe the trend clearly, We can say that people never stopped searching about the thing ending.
Search in US and Uk
The popularity of the thing is maximum in US and UK. Around 4k people globally search about the thing ending per month.
In the US, around 3k people monthly search about the thing ending on google. In the UK, around 500 people monthly search about the thing ending.
Is There A Sequel to "The Thing"?
The closest thing we have to one is Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight”, leading some fans to believe that it is a loose remake of “The Thing”, though certainly not canon.
The Western theme of this Tarantino flick may at first confuse viewers as to how it could possibly connect to “The Thing”. But reading between the lines and exploring subtext, we see more than a handful of similarities to John Carpenter’s original title.
Besides, Tarantino has admitted to being a ‘story thief’ (our words), and that he has been ‘inspired’ by several films that came before. There’s even a viral quote attributed to the man: “I steal from every movie ever made.”
In fact, in an interview around the time of the release for “The Hateful Eight”, Quentin Tarantino even stated that “The Thing” was a huge inspiration for him when he was penning the script for “Eight”.
The concept of ‘suspicious drinks’ also features in the “Hateful” movie, and we aren’t being paranoid with this observation.
Kurt Russell has gone on record stating:
“Quentin’s movie is about paranoia, too. It’s about being trapped and how things change in a room and how people begin to think different and hit the panic button or not. Where that paranoia comes from can be many, many, many different things. In the case of ‘The Hateful Eight,’ it comes from a lot of the different feelings that Civil War America offered at that time. I love the way Quentin deals with that matter.”
If this article doesn’t make you go see “The Thing”, either again or for the first time, then you’re probably host to that alien. A sip of Scotch to firm your nerves?