Ten reasons why The Thing is the best film ever made.

Didn’t you just…. yeah we did, shut up.  So, we love The Thing. It’s the best horror film ever made. Fact. It may also be the best film ever made. It’s so good that it even spawned a fairly credible follow up.

How do you not love The Thing with it’s ridiculously tight casting and insanely good practical effects? It’s the greatest movie ever made (according to us today in our particularly fickle opinion) and here are ten reasons why we’re right about this.

1. If you speak Norwegian, the opening scene tells you what the film is going to be about. “Get the hell outta there. That’s not a dog, it’s some sort of thing! It’s imitating a dog, it isn’t real! Get away, you idiots!”


2. Even if, like us, you’ve seen it roughly a million times, you’re never quite sure who is a Thing at any given time. Seriously, watch it again RIGHT NOW. You’ll get so caught up in the suspense of the whole thing, your mind will forget that that guy is about to go all tendrils at everyone. How have they managed this?!


3. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding!”

Simply the greatest line ever uttered. Sums up the situation quite well. Guy has heart attack, falls back, is defibrilated, chest opens up and chews the doctor’s hands off, gets set on fire, head peels off of his body, grows legs and runs off.  Standard.

4. Except it’s not the best line ever uttered. It’s not even the best line in The Thing! That’ll be ” I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!”

R. J. MacReady. Pilot. Probable human. Badass.

5. MacReady. Kurt Russell nails this role. A mixture of laid back American heroism and utter terror and paranoia. From pouring drinks into chess machines to laying waste with a flamethrower, MacReady is the man.

6. The bit with the dogs. Even now, over thirty years since it was made, this scene is still terrifying and hard to watch. Some of the best special effects ever committed to celluloid.

Who’s a fluffy fella? Aw!!!

7. The tension of the blood test scene. Holy shit!

8. Snow. Not enough films are set in the snow. I got married in Lapland earlier this year and it’s because of The Thing. Wrong hemisphere, I know, but who cares. Snow is excellent.  It’s probably why we’re the only people who seem to love 30 Days of Night.

9. Childs. GOD DAMN Keith David is a bad motherfucker. Childs is awesome in Alan Dean Foster’s novelisation of this movie (which has some fun stuff about him growing pot) but Keith David is unfuckwittable in this movie. Never been as good since but then again none of them have. Apart from Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China.

10. Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack, which is mainly just a note being repeatedly played on a bass guitar, is FANTASTIC. Minimalist and stripped down to the core, just like the movie. Arguably the second best ever soundtrack (after Lalo Schifrin’s Enter The Dragon score).

There you have it.  Ten reasons why The Thing is the best movie ever made and if you don’t agree, that’s because that’s what they want you to think.  Trust no-one.

54 thoughts on “Ten reasons why The Thing is the best film ever made.

  1. Nigel Cleft

    Pay close attention to the end scene. Notice there’s no vapour coming from Keith David’s mouth. Continuity error? Or is Childs the thing? Nighty night kiddies!

    • Quinn R Lorenz

      Good call! I choose to believe it ISNT an error…

    • Remember, the fire’s got the temperature up all over the camp! 🙂

    • Ah, but the Prequel solves this: Child is still wearing his earring, and the Thing doesn’t imitate non-organic matter, so it tends to drop jewelry and fillings during the assimilation process. Both Childs and Mac are human, and will sadly freeze to death. But at least they saved the Earth.

    • The question is, why would the thing not produce vapor? Surely it breathes and has roughly human body temperature, otherwise they wouldn’t have needed the whole blood test .

    • Frimp Chugney

      I’ve read a well argued theory it’s likely Childs is actually a thing, and that MacReady tests this by offering Keith David the bottle. It had been well established earlier in the film they were not to eat or drink anything they hadn’t prepared themselves. Were Childs himself and actually paranoid as he was behaving, he’d not have accepted the swig of booze. That in the script it’s revealed in the last moments that MacReady has been hiding a flamethrower close by, ready to grab it at any second.

      • Fil

        I think the bottle he offered was a Molotov cocktail…

  2. Jeremy Feit

    It takes an hour to fly from the American outpost to the Norwegian post, yet the Norwegian helicopter catches up to the dog just before reaching the American outpost. The dog would have to run on the snow really fast or the Norwegians would’ve had to start chasing it very late! It would take the the dog a day to run across the snow.
    The thing they dug out of the ice was too close to the surface compared to the spaceship which was estimated to have been buried at least 100,000 years.
    Why would the spaceship crash in Antartica if it was seeking to usurp lifeforms? It must’ve crashed by accident, although the Thing seems very intelligent.
    The computer assimilation simulation makes no sense. Each Thing cell absorbs the dog cell and then another. Based on the simulation all you’d have in the end is one cell.

    The chess game MacReady plays shows two shots which are not even remotely close to be two moves removed from each other.
    Windows justs stands there like a complete idiot not shooting the Thing, allowing it to kill him.
    The Thing at the end of the movie is monstrously huge, way bigger than it could possibly be, combining all the humans and animals it absorbed.
    When Childs shows up at the end of the movie, he’s wearing a beige colored coat for the first and only time when it was always blue. This suggests he was taken over by The Thing. Also, there’s no visible breath coming from his mouth, when it’s pouring out like crazy from MacRready. Yet John Carpenter in the commentary says he himself never decided and doesn’t know if Childs is The Thing, or not. MacRready shares his whisky with Childs declaring defeat/checkmate, just as he poured whisky in the computer Chess Wizard after being checkmated.
    When the Doc tries the defibrillator on Norris, he uses it on the abdomen instead of on the chest, and gets his hands bitten off. Also, When Doc is trying to revive Norris and his arms fall into Norris’ chest, he is wearing long sleeves down to the wrist. In the closeup of Doc’s arms being ripped off, the sleeves are pushed up to the elbows and the forearms are bare.
    In the kennel scene, MacReady fires at least 7 shots from a pump shotgun. That particular shotgun can only hold 5.
    When they are all outside and MacReady has separated the three most likely suspects and orders that they be tied down and tested, he comments at that time that they are to be hit by a storm in six hours. Cut to the scene where Mac is dictating into his recorder and he comments that the storm has been hitting them hard for 48 hours. However it is the same night and at best, maybe only an hour has passed.
    When Windows breaks the glass to the gun cabinet, he takes out one of the shotguns and picks up some ammo. At the left hand side of the cabinet, there is some remaining glass in the cabinet along the side. The glass along the left side vanishes when Windows places the shotgun on the floor.
    When MacReady is giving the blood test, the scalpel they are using is not properly sterilized after each person cuts themselves (shown when Nauls cuts himself, then when Windows goes next: all he does is wipe the scalpel on his pants). Using the same scalpel seems like an extremely stupid thing to do as Fuchs told MacReady that even a small particle of the Thing could take over a person.

    • Marty

      Holy shit, dude. Got some free time on your hands? They’ve got this thing called “girls”. You should try it out.

      • Claire

        I am a girl and I find Jeremey’s analysis of the Thing super sexy and would enjoy arguing with him about it over a mulled wine if I didn’t already have a boyfriend with equaly developed views on the Thing

    • Jonathan Kuhn

      “It must have crashed by accident.”

      Yeah… because that’s what that word means.

    • Too much time

      First….if you watch the prequel, Lars checks the helicopter pilot to make sure he is not the thing. Then they probably had to get those grenades out of the shed that Lars showed Kate and then finally up in the air they go. And they start following and shooting at the dog from the helicopter for quite some time. Second, it’s a crash for the love of Pete! It didn’t have much choice where it was crashing and the space ship crashed in the ice…which means a super heavy object would have been dug in quite a bit to start with. A body that is climbing out and on top of the ice would not be as deep. It’s an old ass 80’s flick and that cheesy computer graphic was probably enough work and just a simple quirp in the film. Ever see any errors in movies? I’ve seen TONS of them! Like in Lethal Weapon 2 when Gibson shoots someone like 10 times and the next time you see the body there isn’t a single bullet hole on the guy! So don’t take the cell transformation sequence so seriously. Fourth observation about the chess game….Again, don’t look so hard into it dude! Just another take or two or three and then edited together. I’m sure Carpenter wasn’t thinking some guy 30 years later would be looking at the sequence of chess pieces. Now the size of the monster at the end of the film is subject to anything! We’ve no idea the capabilities of the creature, it can dissolve cells and reproduce it’s own cells to mimic any creature and maybe it can just produce lots of cells on it’s own forming all that it has ever consumed at will. Afterall it grew tentacles to reach out and get the dogs and Bennings. Maybe Child’s jacket got dirty and he grabbed another one! They had lots of jackets hanging about. Doc’s sleeves being rolled up….again, just nitpicking and a really stupid complaint. McReady blasting the dog thing….we only see him fire 5 times….Garry is also firing his “pop gun” which is why you hear more shots. The storm……as with any movie, you can’t say the time line was the same day he said the storm was gonna hit in 6 hours and when he made the recording that the storm has been hitting them hard for 48 hours. They probably even purposely made sure that line was in the film so we knew they had been cooped up and paranoid for a couple or more days. Seeing Child’s breath or anyone elses for that matter could have simply been camera angle and lighting. If you know much about the film, a lot of those scenes were shot in a cooler at about 50 degrees with high humidity because that produced the best breath fog. Can’t always get everything perfect when you have a budget and time constraints. The only thing that you may have hit on a good point is the scalpel and either the surviving crew didn’t think of that or possibly the filmmakers overlooked that one. All in all…..no matter if there are some flaws (because every film has them, just look at Gone Girl [a bad outing for Fincher, one of my fav directors]) The Thing is still the best damn horror movie of all time and in my opinion, one of the best damn movies of all time period!

      • Funky

        speaking of Gone Girl, did you notice who the father in law is? You’ve got to be fucking kidding…..

    • George Schmidt

      Shut the fuck up

    • One thing I learned from years of working in a cinema theater during my late teens and early ’20s is that there is no such thing as a perfect film. Your analysis is spot on, but that certainly does not take away from it being a bang-up job. Just wondering – and I am asking this out of curiosity and not finger pointing – did you figure this all out yourself, or copy it from other sources. 8)

    • Darren

      That is a very full list there!
      You must have spent ages copying and pasting that lot from such sites as moviemistakes.com.

  3. David H.

    Nice, Marty. I knew after reading Jeremy’s analysis, there would be someone who would have to be “clever” and trot out the old you-too-much-time-on-you-hands shutdown. In the time you posted that, Marty, you could have gone and chased a girl or two. God forbid someone puts thought into something they really love. and analyzes it in comment section menat for precisely that.

  4. Death Cookie

    My band’s tribute to MacReady and the Thing.


    • nobueno

      Nope… Worst group of people pretending to be a band I have ever heard.

      • Death Cookie

        Thanks for the comment! Worst ever? Wow, now I know we have really accomplished something.

  5. Patrick Thomas

    I agree with so many reasons that make this movie the best ever!! But you are wrong about the best line in the movie. The best line in this movie (hell, in any movie ever) is MacReady looking at The Thing, dynamite in hand, “Yeah, Fuck You Too.”

    • Hahaha! You have a point, Patrick!

      Richie (T8MC)

  6. morgan

    Russell was pretty badass as Snake Plissken and Keith David was awesome in They Live. Both also John Carpenter classics. Of course everyone here knows that. Was anyone wise disappointed with The Ward? At least Ghosts of Mars still looked and felt like John Carpenter. Granted I don’t think he really gives a shit these days. His last great movie was Vampires.

    • True. Vampires is DOPE!

      Richie (T8MC)

  7. Da Ding

    The Thing Is A Fantastic Film . I Enjoy That Movie Upon Each & Every View Since It’s Theatrical Release . The Thing Is In My Top Ten Most Impressive Motion Pictures Of All Time .

  8. Steve T

    No.Sorry.Best line in the film:”I dunno what’s in there,but it’s weird and pissed off whatever it is.”

    • A good shout, Steve!

      Richie (T8MC)

  9. Keith David is indeed awesome in the movie, and it may be his best role, but I believe his portrayal of “King” in the movie Platoon was awfully good as well.

    “Just keep your pecker hard and your powder dry, and the world will turn.”

  10. Brian Kirby

    “Hey, well, thanks for thinking about it!” is another great comedic line from another great John Carpenter film. Carpenter has made some of my all-time favorites. My first experience was “Halloween II.” I saw that for the first time when I was in 8th grade, and I was so scared by the movie that I couldn’t fall asleep at night again until I was in 9th grade. The summer before my sophomore year in high school is when I stumbled across “THE THING” one late-night when it aired on HBO. I still watch this movie a couple of times a year, and I’m still a huge fan.

    • Funky

      I first saw this with my family at a pre-screening on the 4th of July and walked out of the theater stunned. The fireworks that 4th of July were nothing compared to the experience of seeing the Thing for the 1st time at 14 years old. Holy shit, fun!

  11. David H.

    Best exchange: “No way! I’m going with Childs.”
    “Hey, fuck you, man. Where were YOU when the lights went out?!”

  12. Nitpicky, yes, BUT…

    The line is simply, “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding.” No “me” at the end. No real big, but I’ve watched the film so many times I practically have it memorized. Thanks for pointing out why it truly IS the best movie ever. 🙂


      Thanks for the spot. Fixed now!

  13. DanO

    The rhythm of the dialogue in the film is just masterful. If it isn’t written in iambic pentameter, it must be close. Like watching a fire or listening to the waves crash at the beach, the dialogue between the characters is irresistible and makes the film as great to listen to as it is to watch.

  14. Phlasch

    I liked the THING, however the 1951 movie was the best…..

  15. Purple Janet Rae

    The Thing and the Hammer films with Chris Lee and Mr Cushing are my go-to flics !

  16. This film is so good, it HAD to be in our iPhone game … Stick Figure Movie Trivia.


  17. “[Carpenter] said he never understood where all the confusion came from. The last frame of The Thing is Kurt Russel (sic) and Keith David staring each other down, harshly backlit. It’s completely, glaringly obvious that Kurt Russel is breathing and Keith David is not.” {Emphasis his}

    You CAN in fact see Keith David’s breath, but what Carpenter himself says has to be the truth. It’s HIS movie after all.

  18. Rob Britton

    Best thing about the, “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding” line, is that the guy who says it is already the Thing. Smart creature.

    • Indeed! Goes back to my point about never really being sure! I’ve never really thought about that before. Ace!

  19. ike

    The PS 2 or PC video game The Thing is worth checking out as well

    • Ike is correct. It’s fab. Nice ending as well with a certain character turning up!

  20. ghostmania

    MacReady was the thing all along!

  21. JoeS

    Correction. Carpenter’s THE THING is the most OVERRATED (sci-fi) Film ever made

  22. And even those two lines aren’t the best two lines in the movie!

    Cheatin’ Bitch!

  23. SLKRR

    One of my all-time favorite films. So many deadpan comedic moments, as well, mixed in with the psychological horror. After probably 100 times watching it, I still laugh at Mac shouting “Hey, Sweden!” and Doc responding, “they’re Norwegian”

  24. Agreed. Best movie ever. So many classic lines – Blair: “I’ll kill you!”, “I’m much better now.”
    – Palmer: “And Windows, where were you?”
    – Mac: “Oh, I’m a real light sleeper, Childs.”
    I’d also like to point out the awesome scene where they find Fuchs, and wonder what happened to him – “Maybe he burned himself before it could get to him.” To this day, none of us know.
    I saw The Thing the day it opened in ’82, and also saw the other movie that was opening that day, Blade Runner.
    If anyone’s interested, my website, http://www.gore4.com has a section devoted to the best movie ever, entitled Things About the Thing.

    • Cool looking site. Fix your Twitter link and we’ll follow you up!

  25. Lillian

    My favorite memory of The Thing is from seeing it in the theater when it came out. It was a very stormy day and my boyfriend and I were in a very sparsely-populated theater. Sitting next to each other, of course. The blood test scene came…and he goosed me just as the blood moved. (He’d seen it the night before.)
    WHAM! Mega-sized Cherry Coke in his lap.
    To his credit, he looked down, shrugged, and said, “I deserved that.”

  26. Astra

    Actually, you know what the best thing about The Thing is? Other Thing fans.

    Loved reading the list and the comments, guys.

  27. Out of the Aeons

    I love both films and have a theory that the Thing is somehow related to the specimens found in Lovecraft’s story “At The Mountains of Madness” where the Thing itself could have been a sample of a lifeform being transported for study, and it escaped and consumed the pilots, thus the exceptionally awesome creature design at the end of the Prequel and the completely virulent behavior overall. There are plenty of mistakes in the film which can easily be ignored by simply reading the novel.

  28. […] are being ruined by pointless remakes but the idea of remakes isn’t a new one.  Famously, The Thing (1982) was itself a remake and Invaders From Mars was also […]

  29. […] when the original was some 1950s nonsense and the remake came in the ’80s and, much like The Thing, that’s the case here with The […]

  30. CrazySwede

    Oh what a joy coming across this post. There are so many fantastic lines in this film and yes, short ones, are typically the best. But the scene that I can rewind and listen to over and over again is Palmer saying, “Chariots of the gods man. They practically own South America. They taught the Incas everything they know.”

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