Author Topic: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do  (Read 2381 times)

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« on: February 09, 2019, 03:21:11 PM »
...or John Carpenter's The Thing, as its sometimes known.

I know that Neil likes for us to create separate topics instead of posting unrelated tangents within existing threads, so with that in mind, I'll post my reply to Shit Good Nose's post from the 'Alien 40th Anniversary' thread here, in the interests of promoting discussion and the avoidance of eliciting ire within our forum overlord.

The Thing (1982) is a million times better.

Struggled for years with "how would The Thing have their memories?" till I read it's a cell-by-cell process replacement it does when it infects you and synapses would not notice that. Brr, your consciousness wouldn't know. Memories are, in a sense, a chemical process. Works for me.

Went from 9 out of 10 to perfect. Perfect. Note to self, watch it every Christmas Day.

It's amazingly written and subtly explained, for example when Norris declines taking on leadership when he's already one of the things - in other words it perfectly mimicked his natural meekness and did itself out of being in a better position to take out/replace the entire group.

That's one interpretation of that moment.  Another is that Norris-Thing declined taking the mantle of group leader because in doing so, it would have provoked more intense scrutiny from the uninfected humans.  Either way, it's interesting to note that the 1:1 cell reproduction worked too well, as it perfectly mimicked Norris' unhealthy heart.  It's that very heart which leads to Norris-Thing suffering a heart attack, which in turn, though not directly, ultimately leads to Norris-Thing outing itself.  Hoist with its own perfectly replicated petard, if you will.

ToneLa

  • Kill your masters
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 03:28:12 PM »
Aye, aye!

Like I put in that Alien thread... Loved the film for years but kept a few of the trickier details at arms length. How does The Thing replicate you? How do you not know? How does it absorb your memories and mannerisms?

And I dived deep on TV Tropes and gained a newfound appreciation for the layers, the logic, the biology... It replaces you one cell at a time, and your synapses wouldn't notice that.

And the characters are so layered. Fuchs likely burning himself to death so he didn't get infected! Brrr

And the credible theory Palmer (the conspiracy nut) is ALREADY a Thing with the head crawling off scene. 'You have got to be fucking kidding me!', he says, to fit in...

And,

Quote
Either way, it's interesting to note that the 1:1 cell reproduction worked too well, as it perfectly mimicked Norris' unhealthy heart.  It's that very heart which leads to Norris-Thing suffering a heart attack, which in turn, though not directly, ultimately leads to Norris-Thing outing itself.


  Aye, leading credence to a theory it's more of a virus. Is it even classically sentient? How much control does it have? These aren't plot holes: they add to the terror of what the Thing actually is.

Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 04:03:50 PM »
That's one interpretation of that moment.  Another is that Norris-Thing declined taking the mantle of group leader because in doing so, it would have provoked more intense scrutiny from the uninfected humans.  Either way, it's interesting to note that the 1:1 cell reproduction worked too well, as it perfectly mimicked Norris' unhealthy heart.  It's that very heart which leads to Norris-Thing suffering a heart attack, which in turn, though not directly, ultimately leads to Norris-Thing outing itself.  Hoist with its own perfectly replicated petard, if you will.

Definitely an interesting take, my feeling previously was that the heart attack was a lure for the chest collapse and arm crunching. Rather that that you perhaps have a situation where The Thing acts more as an influence on the host leaving their consciousness intact but creating a sub intelligence pushing them in certain directions.

I think you could argue that actually Alien itself has more than a little influence from the original Who Goes There story but the Alien and the "threat from within" are spilt between the monster and Ash, personally I tend to think the reveal of Ash attacking Ripley is actually the best horror section of Alien. Equally of course I think Alien ends up being a cross influence on Carpenters film as well although I think that spitballing of ideas between films was generally a stranght of that era of genre cinema.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 04:46:03 PM by greenman »

MojoJojo

  • Member
  • **
  • Between a cow college and a MetaLab.
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2019, 05:23:46 PM »
This thread really should have been called "The Thing (Thing movie)".

(not really, just removing the edit glitch)

Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2019, 05:31:11 PM »
Rob Ager/Collative Learning on YouTube has put so much effort into studying The Thing it's admirable. I'd suggest checking his vids out.

It's a brilliant, brilliant film.

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2019, 05:46:29 PM »
...leading credence to a theory it's more of a virus. Is it even classically sentient? How much control does it have?

I believe that there's two ways in which one can become assimilated.  The first is via the direct method, which is what happened to Bennings.  For all intents and purposes, the host is killed and then replaced by a thing.  People who are assimilated this way will be fully aware that they're a thing and act accordingly; stay out of the spotlight and when safe, try to assimilate other human beings.

The second method is via contaminating a food source.  As per the film...

Quote from: John Carpenter's The Thing
lf a small particle of this thing is enough to take over an entire organism, then everyone should prepare their own meals. l suggest we only eat out of cans.

If one is assimilated via this technique, then it would take considerably longer than the first method for the host to become fully assimilated.  During this process, the host would still be a human at the start and a thing by the end.  They'd slowly be assimilated from the inside.  The horrifying thought is what happens between the two stages; the slow, terrifying realisation that you've been infected and the ongoing degradation of your humanity.  Unable to stop it and too fearful to tell anyone what you know because they'll likely burn you alive).  You can do nothing more than ebb away into non-existence.

And the credible theory Palmer (the conspiracy nut) is ALREADY a Thing with the head crawling off scene. 'You have got to be fucking kidding me!', he says, to fit in...

I've always run with the theory that Palmer is the first to be assimilated (the shadow on the wall, when the dog-thing looks in the room).  John Carpenter purposefully used one of the crew members for that shot, so that it wouldn't be any of the actors and therefore, there could be no definitive answer to who was the first to be assimilated.  However, outside of the making of the film; in-universe, the two most likely candidates for which character was first assimilated would have to be either Palmer or Norris (going by the blood test and Norris-Thing's earlier reveal) and considering that the shadow is not of a larger man, I'd say that it would have to be Palmer.

With that in mind, remember how one method of assimilation could be via contaminated food?  Well, if Palmer is indeed the first of the group to be assimilated, then note how he passes a joint to Childs, when they're alone in their room together.  That passing of the joint would be the perfect method of assimilation; no noise or disruption of any kind and done with a behaviour that would be in absolute keeping with the human version of Palmer.  If you follow this logic, then Childs is a thing at the end of the film and what does he do?  Offers a bottle of whiskey to MacReady.  The cycle continues.

To further run with the 'Childs was a thing' theory, it should be noted that John Carpenter made three films as a thematic trilogy; Prince of Darkness, In The Mouth of Madness and The Thing.  He called this trilogy 'The Apocalypse Trilogy'.  Hmm, "apocalypse"; Prince of Darkness. Check.  In The Mouth of Madness. Check.  The Thing.  Well, MacReady kills Blair-Thing at the end, so no apocalypse.  Unless...

Carpenter didn't call this his 'Narrowly Averted Apocalypse Trilogy'.  Food for thought.  Don't worry, I haven't contaminated this food.  Trust me, I'm human...

Rob Ager/Collative Learning on YouTube has put so much effort into studying The Thing it's admirable. I'd suggest checking his vids out.

I second this.  In fact, if you're a cinephile then I highly recommend subscribing to his channel.  His videos are excellent.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 06:02:09 PM by St_Eddie »

Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2019, 05:54:35 PM »
For those intrested in Alien and The Thing its worth checking out the Two Roger Corman produced rip off films, Glaxay Of Terror and Forbbiden World, both containing sets designed by James Cameron.

Trailers


Galaxy of Terror - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTVKNW5s5js

Forbbiden World - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sDWjXk335s


Also for a laugh Thingu - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds4fqgwp4Ig


ToneLa

  • Kill your masters
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2019, 06:04:13 PM »
I believe that there's two ways in which one can become assimilated.  The first is via the direct method, which is what happened to Bennings.  For all intents and purposes, the host is killed and then replaced by a thing.  People who are assimilated this way will be fully aware that they're a thing and act accordingly; stay out of the spotlight and when safe, try to assimilate other human beings.

..


If one is assimilated via this technique, then it would take considerably longer than the first method for the host to become fully assimilated.

Aye. Bennings is a bit of a wildcard case if you go down the "Thing as unthinking virus" route I've seen touted. But I don't know how transference of memories would work with this method? Cell-by-cell fools the synapses but the murder method implies a sort of sudden transfer, which I can fully believe can happen, but sort of suggests a brutal invasion of every cell in a short time frame, which sounds fucking great horrifying

Quote
The second method is via contaminating a food source.  As per the film...

Aye, agreed, even a single Thing cell can contaminate I believe. Brr.

Quote
I've always run with the theory that Palmer is the first to be assimilated (the shadow on the wall, when the dog-thing looks in the room).  John Carpenter purposefully used one of the crew members for that shot, so that it wouldn't be any of the actors and therefore, there could be no definitive answer to who was first assimilated.  However, outside of the making of the film, the two most likely candidates for which character was first assimilated would be either Palmer or Norris and considering that the shadow is not of a larger man, I'd say that it would have to be Palmer.

Ah seen that debated afore. Believe the literal answer is it's, as you say, no definitive answer. I've always thought Palmer, as 1) logical, 2) given his patter, thematically powerful.

Quote
With that in mind, remember how one method of assimilation could be contaminating food?  Well, if Palmer is indeed the first of the group to be assimilated, then note how he passes a joint to Childs, when they're alone in their room.  That passing of the joint would be the perfect method of assimilation

I've smoked watching The Thing with mates with wet mouths. Agreed! A single cell? And the rest!

Quote
no noise or disruption of any kind and done with a behaviour that would be in absolute keeping with the human Palmer.  If you follow this logic, then Childs is a thing at the end of the film and what does he do?  Offers a bottle of whiskey to MacReady.  The cycle continues.

I either side with "genuine mystery" or "world doom". Aye the computer takes the piss a bit but that's by the by. Because,

Quote
Don't forget that John Carpenter made three films as a trilogy; Prince of Darkness, In The Mouth of Madness and The Thing.  He called this trilogy 'The Apocalypse Trilogy'.

Not sure if Carpenter has been on record about this? Sure some stuff was cut, the alternate ending was a voiceover saying " watch others around cause who knows what tomorrow, tonight will bring" (!!!) or, on TV versions, and this is depressing as fuck, a dog running away in the snow

Doesn't sound jolly.

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2019, 06:08:37 PM »
For those intrested in Alien and The Thing its worth checking out the Two Roger Corman produced rip off films, Glaxay Of Terror and Forbbiden World, both containing sets designed by James Cameron.

Trailers


Galaxy of Terror - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTVKNW5s5js

Forbbiden World - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sDWjXk335s

Also, the latter's title is quite clearly a knock-off of Forbidden Planet.


...for a laugh Thingu - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds4fqgwp4Ig

I hadn't watched that in years.  Good stuff.

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2019, 06:13:39 PM »
Not sure if Carpenter has been on record about this?

He's not on record regarding my theory.  That's just my own take on the film in relation to Carpenter's self-titled 'Apocalypse Trilogy'.  As for that title itself; yes, Carpenter did indeed coin the term himself (source: a couple of the commentary tracks for films in said thematic trilogy).

ToneLa

  • Kill your masters
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2019, 06:20:51 PM »
He's not on record regarding my theory.  That's just my own take on the film in relation to Carpenter's self-titled 'Apocalypse Trilogy'.  As for that title itself; yes, Carpenter did indeed coin the term himself (source: a couple of the commentary tracks for films in said thematic trilogy).

Naw, your theory is sound! That's an open question. Just sort of half-remembering perhaps even a commentary where Carpenter talked about something around intention with the Thing ending I believe. I'll have a DuckDuckGo and get back to you ... :)

Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2019, 06:26:01 PM »
A single cell. So definitely don't give a Thing a blow job?

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2019, 06:59:57 PM »
A single cell. So definitely don't give a Thing a blow job?

Or have sex with a female-thing.  Cell contamination is one possibility but I'd be far more afraid of a transformation mid-coitus...


Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2019, 07:40:07 PM »
A single cell. So definitely don't give a Thing a blow job?

You can give a Thing a blowie (preferably behind the bus station), but don't let a Thing give you a blowie, even if it's behind the bus station.  Aside from owt else, probs bite your cock off.  And then there'd be a Cockthingmonster.

ToneLa

  • Kill your masters
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2019, 07:54:44 PM »
You can give a Thing a blowie (preferably behind the bus station), but don't let a Thing give you a blowie, even if it's behind the bus station.  Aside from owt else, probs bite your cock off.  And then there'd be a Cockthingmonster.

What if you sucked off The Thing but its foreskin of whatever sad, middle aged form it had subsumed, was flaking a fair bit? Even if it didn't come.... Statistically fucked I reckon. So to speak

Still, long as it had the cash, eh, lads?

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2019, 08:01:13 PM »
You know, I always thought (or didn't think at all enough about) that the Thing physically replaced its hosts, just when the others weren't about. Ate or hit the bodies. I am a stupid fuck inni?

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2019, 08:37:46 PM »
You know, I always thought (or didn't think at all enough about) that the Thing physically replaced its hosts, just when the others weren't about. Ate or hit the bodies. I am a stupid fuck inni?

Not at all.  The film actually supports this theory to some degree.  When Blair opens up the remains of the dog-thing, there's a half formed dog within.

Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2019, 08:47:44 PM »
It just absorbs them right? So in a sense that's basically eating them.


ToneLa

  • Kill your masters
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2019, 09:36:03 PM »
It just absorbs them right? So in a sense that's basically eating them.

I'd say it infiltrates them but both are probably possible due to its perfect ability to replicate cell by cell*



* which seems to take time nontheless

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2019, 09:57:31 PM »
I'd say it infiltrates them but both are probably possible due to its perfect ability to replicate cell by cell*

They've all been infiltrated and had their cells replicated by the time... etc.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2019, 10:02:24 PM »
Anyone know the origin of "they've all been..."?

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2019, 10:11:21 PM »
Do you mean where on the internet, or which specific post?

Cos as far as I know it originated within these blue walls, but I couldn't tell you which thread or which post.  No doubt another CaBber could, though.

biggytitbo

  • WHAT ABOUT THE GODDAM JAFFA CAKES ASSWIPE
    • theunredacted
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2019, 10:16:01 PM »
As other contenders fall away the thing increasing stands as the best horror film of its kind ever made.


I feel almost obliged to remind people on any thread about the thing that Doctor Who did an incredibly worthy childrens TV version of the same story called the Seeds of Dooms which may well of in fact influenced Carpenters version but is great in its own way regardless.

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2019, 11:26:07 PM »
I feel almost obliged to remind people on any thread about the thing that Doctor Who did an incredibly worthy childrens TV version of the same story called the Seeds of Dooms which may well of in fact influenced Carpenters version but is great in its own way regardless.

A quick perusal of synopsis for 'The Seeds of Doom' reveals that it was quite clearly based upon 1951's The Thing from Another World.  The creature is plant based and everything.  John Carpenter's version, outside of the title sequence (which is taken straight from The Thing from Another World), is a much more faithful adaptation of source material for The Thing from Another World; the 1938 novella, Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2019, 07:33:32 AM »
Do you mean where on the internet, or which specific post?

Cos as far as I know it originated within these blue walls, but I couldn't tell you which thread or which post.  No doubt another CaBber could, though.

I presumed it was from here but I've recently become curious as to how it became what it is. If it predates the board relaunch in 2004 then there's no way to find out.

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2019, 01:44:13 PM »
It's a remarkable piece of art. A multilayered masterpiece that works as a straight up horror film but also as a mystery play, and ensemble piece, a visual effects supernova and a meditation on existence.
As pretentious as I sound, I'm right. One of the greatest films ever made. What would you do if you were there? What could you do? And are either Childs or MacReady already assimilated? And if they are, what happens to the world when the are rescued?

I have seen the 2011 prequel but I cannot remember a single thing about it.

ToneLa

  • Kill your masters
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2019, 01:50:02 PM »
The Thing vs The Blob, now that's a crossover...

Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2019, 01:59:16 PM »
And if they are, what happens to the world when the are rescued?
I'd always assumed help wasn't coming and at the end, the two were both waiting to freeze to death.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2019, 02:38:06 PM »
The Thing vs The Blob, now that's a crossover...

Only the 80s blob, not the shitty 50s one with its own theme tune chasing the oldest school kids you've ever seen.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: John Carpenter's That Thing You Do
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2019, 02:40:03 PM »
I'd always assumed help wasn't coming and at the end, the two were both waiting to freeze to death.

The Thing comic from the 90s carried the story on.  I remember they were both rescued, but after that my mind's a blank.