In 1982, audiences everywhere were given their first glimpse of director John Carpenter’s now famous horror remake The Thing. Inspired by writer Joseph W. Campbell Jr.’s 1938 novella Who Goes There?, and the subsequent theatrical adaptation The Thing from Another World written by Howard Hawks and directed by Christian Nyby in 1951, Carpenter’s 1980s cult-classic is still the preferred version among genre film fans all of ages.
Set in an Antarctic research station, Carpenter’s The Thing stars Kurt Russell as lead protagonist R.J. MacReady, who soon discovers an alien entity of unknown origin taking on the appearance of his co-workers as it slowly kills them off, one by one. Featuring some of the most unnerving special effects work created by celebrated prosthetics designer Rob Bottin, Carpenter’s stunning 1982 remake has since gone on to become an indispensable monument to modern horror genre filmmaking. Nevertheless, one secret about the movie’s titular creature (and how it relates to the movie’s ambiguous ending) has been kept quiet – until now.
As reported by /Film, cinematographer Dean Cundey has finally seen fit to reveal one facet of the infamous movie monster’s nature that he and Carpenter have kept under wraps about The Thing for thirty-four years. As featured in the exclusive commentary included on the forthcoming 2K Blu-ray rerelease from Scream Factory (due out October 11, 2016), Carpenter always wanted a visual cue to be in place to hint at which crew members were still human at any point over the course of the production’s runtime. Speaking to how they want about achieving this, Cundey states on the 2K Blu-ray commentary:
“You’ll notice there’s always an eye light, we call it, a little gleam in the eye of the actor. It gives life.”
Such a subtle visual cue is a true spark of genius on Cundey’s part, and should serve to stoke the fires of fan appreciation for Carpenter’s The Thing ever higher now that that secret has finally been revealed. With that new tid bit of information about the film’s visual direction in mind, longtime viewers can now go back over the original film and begin citing moments where that “gleam in the eye of the actor” is either present or absent – most notably, during the film’s final scene.
The Thing of 1982 will perhaps always remain a seminal classic of the horror genre, and having such a subtle bit of information about the film’s cinematography in mind going forward should only serve to heighten viewers’ experience of the film going forward. Carpenter truly made his mark on the original Joseph W. Campbell Jr. novella with his theatrical adaptation, so much so that viewers might never see another interpretation of the same source material with quite the same “gleam” of life inherent to it.
The Thing 2K Blu-ray rerelease arrives on October 11th, 2016.
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