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‘The Thing’ Movie Ending Explained

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‘The Thing’ Movie Ending Explained

In the horror movie world, creating a timeless classic often proves to be more difficult to accomplish than other genres. This is due to horror films’ inherent hokey/campy tones which usually don’t age well with time. Fans now roll their eyes with the majority of then-realistic horror films created four decades ago, like Sleepaway Camp or Slumber Party Massacre. But when you take a look at John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing, it’s fairly simple to see why this film, to this very day, holds up as one of the greatest horror films ever made.

Plenty of that has to do with the story itself, as well as the film’s setting. Taking place at a completely isolated Arctic research station, this shocking tale feels like a believable story, no matter what decade you watch it in. Whether it’s the early ‘80s or today, viewers will always accept the fact that when you’re in the middle of nowhere without communication from the outside world, things can, and will, go very badly. When you add paranoia, mistrust, and a parasitic alien entity trying to disembowel you, it doesn’t matter what time you’re living in. It’s kill or be killed.

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RELATED: The 50 Best Horror Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

However, depending on one’s point of view, the ending of The Thing, is either perfect and fitting for the story, or unsatisfying enough to ruin the two hours preceding it. With this film in particular, the conclusion’s ambiguity lends itself to be analyzed, ridiculed, or praised. To some, the ending is clear-cut with no real reason for a debate. To others, the finale holds clues to what exactly John Carpenter had in mind before rolling the credits. Without Carpenter ever giving a clear explanation, we scare-fans are left to form our own opinions.

For those who want more than just their own take, we have broken down the ending of 1982s The Thing:

To get to the end, we should start with the beginning. The story opens with a familiar looking flying saucer craft, clearly in technical trouble, barreling towards Earth. Jump to the present time setting of the film, where we meet an American research team stationed in the remote and frozen wilderness of Antarctica. Led by MacReady, played by Kurt Russell, the team investigates a helicopter incident that took place at a neighboring Norwegian research station, only to find there has been a much larger incident than that. In fact, the Norwegian team is now dead or missing, and now the station’s a ghost town. The American team discovers what the Nords found buried under the ice; the same alien spaceship we saw flailing towards Earth in the opening scene. Based on what they can decipher from the Norwegian team’s records, the Americans determine that the ship has been buried for over 100,000 years. Near this discovered ship, the team finds a strange looking creature that the Norwegians burned to a crisp. Along with an abandoned husky dog, MacReady’s research crew returns with the strange burned creature in order to study and hopefully learn its identity.


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It’s back at the American research facility where the team’s scientist, Blair, played by the late Wilford Brimley (widely known for helping your grandparents live a better life in between The Price is Right commercials), determines that the burned creature’s cells are still living and functioning. The audience, however, is then privy to the fact that the abandoned husky isn’t the dog it appears to be. Nope, this pooch has been replicated (imitated) by this alien and is now running loose at the site. To make matters worse, the site is so isolated from civilization, and thanks to a winter storm, all communication to the mainland will take over two weeks to reach. For the time being, the team seems to be on their own to deal with this creature, which they now know can take over and replicate itself to whatever living being it kills.


Blair uses his research to determine, based on computer calculations, how quickly this replicating extraterrestrial can spread across the human race, which will eventually be globally. His only solution is to make sure that this creature never leaves their frozen home. With anyone around him a possible imitation, this extermination plan now includes all the humans, as well. To protect humanity, Blair destroys any form of transportation out of the complex. This leaves the team left with the only solution available, which is to figure out where this creature is, and destroy it themselves.

The bulk of the story then becomes a tangled web of paranoia and mistrust, as no one knows who can be possibly imitated. A power struggle of leadership forms between MacReady and Childs, played by Keith David, who both have their own views on how to deal with this uniquely horrific situation. Between this struggle and ongoing gory moments, tensions hit a breaking point. This leads to one of the most intense horror movie scenes ever, in which team members are restrained to chairs while their blood is being tested for infection.


With most of the team dead, or presumed dead, including Blair, who ended up being a falsely accused man of wisdom, MacReady uses TNT charges to not only destroy the creature, but the majority of the camp along with it. Triumphant, yet badly injured, he ends up in an outside shack where he finds Childs waiting there. They appear to be the last survivors. Which leads us to the movie’s ambiguous final moments.

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On the surface, and when first watched, the final moments of the movie seem to be obviously open-ended. MacReady and Childs are the last men standing. Of course, they are overly suspicious of each other, still not truly knowing who is human and who is not. However, now that they are in a one on one situation, both characters’ paranoia makes it seem pretty obvious that they are both human and have successfully destroyed the threatening alien. In fact, the film ends with them sharing a bottle of scotch together in the freezing cold shed, seemingly waiting to eventually freeze to death. Like other films in the past and present, we seem to have an ending where the main characters have sacrificed themselves for the good of the human race. We are witnessing the final moments of these heroes, ones who will more than likely never get to tell their story. They are just enjoying a bottle of scotch together, waiting it out, making sure the success is not false. The movie ends… And that’s that. Or was it?


Well, it surely might’ve been. MacReady and Childs, recently clashing alpha males, are now seeing each other as (hopefully) human equals and are celebrating their final moments on Earth. That would be a perfectly fine, satisfying ending to an intense, thrilling, horror movie. However, the film’s creator John Carpenter has never officially given his stamp of approval to that ending’s interpretation. That fact alone has resulted in multiple theories and explanations of what The Thing’s ending actually meant.

One ending explanation, believed by some, is that Childs has been infected and is the creature. He did disappear off-screen for the film’s climactic ending, when MacReady destroys the alien along with the camp, and we only get to see him now after the fact. When MacReady enters the shed, Childs is there at just about the same time. He claims that he ran off looking for Blair, and was able to make it back safely to the campsite. But what really happened to Childs during that time off-screen? The events of the past few hours in the story suggests that he very well likely was killed and replicated by the creature, just like the others. When re-watching the ending, this theory does hold water. If it really is Childs, it has no reason for it to immediately kill MacReady when they sit down together in the shed. There is no hope for MacReady‘s survival. No one’s coming to save him and there is no power or communication. He’s going to freeze to death. If Child is the creature at this time, here is a perfectly benign moment to have a civilized conversation with its adversary: the human MacReady. There is no rush to kill or imitate him, not right away anyway. In this case, the movie ends with the audience believing MacReady will eventually be killed by the creature, leaving it’s very existence still wide open for eventual global domination.


With one side of the coin, there is always the other, and some people who have analyzed the ending believe that MacReady can be the creature. If it had successfully replicated MacReady, he would be behaving exactly the way he would in this final moment. The Thing posing as MacReady has no reason to kill Childs immediately.

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As mentioned earlier, John Carpenter has never explained the ending, nor given his “thumbs up” to any fan-theories. The closest he’s done was passively shoot down a camera trick conspiracy in which all the humans in the film have a literal glimmer of light in their eyes. Although this has now been debunked by crafty viewers, who have pointed out why this theory is false. But other than that, Carpenter kept mum on the topic. And maybe that was his plan all along.

No matter what the ending really was meant to be, The Thing is a beautifully gruesome and terrifying science-fiction horror film. As long as fans of the genre all agree that being trapped with a monster in an isolated location is scary, the film will continue to live on.


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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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