[[caption-width-right:232:[[{{Tagline}} Man is the warmest place to hide.]]]]

->''"If I was an imitation, a perfect imitation, how would you know if it was really me?"''

Creator/JohnCarpenter's 1982 film ''The Thing'' is a much more faithful [[TheRemake adaptation]] of Creator/JohnWCampbell's novel ''Literature/WhoGoesThere'' than the original adaptation, Creator/HowardHawks' 1951 production ''Film/TheThingFromAnotherWorld''. It focuses on twelve men who are stuck in an Antarctic camp for the winter of 1982. After finding that the neighbouring Norwegian camp has been mysteriously destroyed, they realize that a deadly alien life form is on the loose. Most terrifying of all is the fact that this alien can [[VoluntaryShapeshifting change shape]], infecting a person on a cellular level and then relentlessly absorbing and duplicating their cells, imitating them from the inside out until there is nothing human left. Therefore, at least one among them may be the Thing.

It stars Creator/KurtRussell, Creator/KeithDavid, and [[Creator/WilfordBrimley Wilford "Diabeetus" Brimley]].

While a commercial and critical bomb when it was first released, ''The Thing'' is a remarkable example of what [[VindicatedByHistory time can do for a film.]] These days, it is very well known and has been very successful on VHS and DVD. In addition, you'll be pretty hard-pressed to find a "Best/Scariest Horror Movies" list that doesn't include it and it is regarded as one of the best uses of ParanoiaFuel in cinema.

Its [[BodyHorror visceral depictions]] of the [[ShapeShifterMashup anatomically creative forms]] the lifeform adopts when attacking or threatened were milestone achievements in both SpecialEffects rigging and creature design, and have been cited as influences for later franchises like ''Franchise/DeadSpace''. Especially the third one, [[VideoGame/DeadSpace3 as both take place on remote icy outposts.]]

The film is also unusual in the sense that it subverts NothingIsScarier while retaining every ounce of ParanoiaFuel. It was one of the first films to believably pull off DaylightHorror sequences, thanks to a fusion of masterful puppetry, makeup, and advanced FX rigging, bolstered by new green-screen effects like high-end claymation, matte painting, and early CGI. By using each for the tasks it did best, and combining several approaches in a single shot to create seamless composite effects, Carpenter left surprisingly little room for Narm to set in.

In a serious case of either TemptingFate or ParanoiaFuel, ''The Thing'' (along with ''Film/TheShining'') is screened every year for those "wintering-over" at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, after the last plane leaves them in the long winter blackout.

Its popularity has caused the story to be continued in other media. In the 1990s, Creator/DarkHorseComics published a series of four comics continuing the film's story, called ''ComicBook/TheThingFromAnotherWorld''. [[VideoGame/TheThing2002 A video game sequel]] (also simply called ''The Thing'') was made in 2002 - please go there for game related tropes. And lastly, a [[Film/TheThing2011 prequel]], (''[[RuleOfThree also]]'' simply called ''The Thing'') focusing on the Norwegian camp prior to the events of this film was released in 2011, starring Creator/MaryElizabethWinstead.

Theatre/HalloweenHorrorNights 2007 in Orlando introduced a house that was a sequel to the movie, featuring the alien being moved to a new research station in Florida, but whether or not it is canon is unclear (most likely not).

Unrelated to [[Literature/ScaryStoriesToTellInTheDark that thing,]] [[Literature/TheCatInTheHat those things,]] [[Series/TheAddamsFamily this thing,]] [[TheThingThatGoesDoink this other thing]], [[ComicBook/FantasticFour the ever-lovin' Thing,]] [[BuffySpeak you know, that thingy thing,]] or an alternate English name of Film/{{Mothra}}.


!!This film contains imita- uh, I mean examples of:

* AdaptationInducedPlotHole: The book suffers from this; in the original film, it's implied that The Thing sabotaged the blood by [[spoiler: picking up the keys Windows dropped when he saw Bennings being assimilated. However, in the book, Bennings is killed by being dragged under an ice shelf after chasing some infected dogs with Childs and Macready; leaving the obvious question of where did The Thing get the keys from?]]
* [[AmbiguousEnding Ambiguous,]] BittersweetEnding: By the end of the film the characters have lost so much it isn't worth it to be paranoid anymore. [[spoiler: On the plus side, the Thing is dead. Probably. Maybe. On the downside, [[KillEmAll Mac and Childs definitely soon will be, too.]] Both men decide that it's worth it if they both die, just so the Thing can have no hosts to mimic, and to ensure the other that they're not the Thing (for which there is potential evidence to support every theory about which, if either, is infected.) This is the ''good'' ending. Creator/JohnCarpenter felt it was inspiring that each of the survivors were willing to give their lives to save the rest of the world.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: By the end of the movie [[spoiler: only Mac and Childs are shown to be alive, each unsure whether or not the other is the Thing. Since they are stranded, with no provisions, it's implied that they will both die]].
* AndThenJohnWasAZombie: Probably one of the most horrific examples to be put on film.
* AntagonistTitle: The Thing is the alien creature trying to take over the protagonists.
* TheAssimilator: Let's face it, almost any villain in any medium that can absorb or infect people to replicate them draws some inspiration from Carpenter's The Thing. It's a monster that's best described as a living virus as each part of its body can live and act autonomously from the main body and all it needs to do is [[ViralTransformation infect a person]] with even a small piece of itself for its tissue to spread, grow, replicate, and consume the host. It has the ability to [[ShapeShifting partially or completely assume the form]] of any creature it has previously infected and absorbed and can use the knowledge and skills of the people it has copied.
* AsteroidsMonster: Every cell of the Thing is an independent organism. At various times during the film, it gets parts chopped off it, which grow new appendages and scuttle off.
* AuthorAppeal: John Carpenter is a ''huge'' fan of the original ''Film/TheThingFromAnotherWorld''. It appears in ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}'' (which itself is a slasher film version of the film.)
* BadassNormal: Everyone, whenever they fight the Thing, but ''especially'' Mac, who manages to go toe-to-toe with it.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: One of the Norwegian's clearly decided this, as the Americans find him with his wrists slit. [[spoiler: It's possible that Fuchs immolated himself rather than be assimilated, since the Thing would gain no benefit in killing him.]]
* BilingualBonus: More like "Bilingual Spoiler", as anybody who speaks (or at least can understand) Norwegian would have much of the movie's plot ruined since the Norwegian pilot in the beginning of the movie tries to explain that the dog he was shooting at is no dog at all.
--> ''"Se til helvete å kom dere vekk. Det er ikke en bikkje. Det er en slags ting! Den imiterer en bikkje! Den er ikke virkelig! ...kom dere vekk, idioter!"'', which, translated, means ''"Get the hell away. It's not a dog/mutt. It's a thing! It's imitating a dog/mutt! It's not real! ...get away, idiots!"''
* BizarreAlienLocomotion: When one human-impersonating Thing is burned, its head breaks off, extends a very long tongue, and uses this to drag itself across the floor.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: [[spoiler: Inverted. Of the two black dudes, both survive into the final act, when there are four humans left including them. We don't actually see either of them die, although it's {{implied}} that everybody dies.]]
* BloodierAndGorier: Compared to the 1950s film... and compared to a hell of a lot of horror films at the time. However it wasn't trying to be a remake of ''The Thing From Another World'', which was a loose adaptation of the short story and didn't include the shapeshifter/body horror aspect. A lot of the gore isn't actually from humans being killed. The gore mostly comes from the horrible transformations the alien goes through. It's even bloodier than the prequel made in 2011 thanks to, ironically, having little CGI technology to work with.
* BodyHorror: This film is infamous for its transformation sequences. Once a Thing is forced to reveal itself, EldritchAbomination is the most charitable way of describing what pops out - a head growing extra eyes on stalks and skittering away on spider legs is perhaps the most ''tame'' example.[[note]]That particular scene had such a level of {{Gorn}} and NauseaFuel that Carpenter actually had to cut in a PrecisionFStrike to make it watchable by his standards, and was extremely unhappy cable airings cut it out.[[/note]]
* BolivianArmyEnding
* {{Bookends}}: Of the most nightmarish variety imaginable. [[spoiler:The first good look we get at a live Thing is the Dog-Thing, whose centerpiece is a mangled dog head. The very last Thing to come out of the Blair-Thing before [=MacReady=] dynamites it is another twisted dog head. In the cable version it gets ''even worse'' - the movie ends the same way it began, with a disguised Dog-Thing running across the Antarctic plains.]]
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Subverted; a lot of the harsh language was cut out in cable airings, but that made certain scenes relentlessly bleak and nauseating without even a bit of comic relief (see BodyHorror above). The Cable ending involved the most GrimDark ending possible, worse than the original: [[spoiler:The base is wrecked, everyone is dead - and a disguised Dog Thing runs off across the plains.]]
* CanonForeigner: Windows, Fuchs, Childs, Palmer, and the Norwegians don't appear in ''Literature/WhoGoesThere'', while the other eight cast members do.
* CharactersDroppingLikeFlies: [[spoiler:By the end of the movie, every single character is dead or about to be.]]
* ChromosomeCasting: All of the station members are men. Don't want any hanky panky down there! Indeed, the only female presence in the film - Mac's chess computer, voiced by Adrienne Barbeau - is destroyed at the beginning of the movie.
* ClippedWingAngel: [[spoiler:Oddly enough, the Thing. What with all the [[KillItWithFire flamethrowers]] in the Antarctic base, any piece of the Thing which takes an easily recognizable form on-screen is immolated relatively quickly. The ''real'' problem is [[VoluntaryShapeshifting in finding who it is in the first place.]]]]
* TheCorpseStopsHere: Although for once this is actually a rather sensible policy, given that the "corpse" is a really contagious alien organism. Clark becomes prime suspect #1 due to his creepy behavior and prolonged exposure to the infected dogs. [[spoiler: Funnily enough, after [=MacReady=] kills him in self-defense it turns out he was human all along.]]
* CreepyLongFingers: The [[spoiler:Bennings]]-Thing is also "creepy misformed fingers", but they're clearly playing off the horror this trope provides when his hands are revealed. The poster of the [[Film/TheThing2011 2011 prequel]] also utilizes it.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Assimilation by a Thing counts as this by default. In addition to that, [[spoiler: Windows]] is ''brutally'' mauled by one of the Things (and then set on fire for good measure), [[spoiler: Copper]] bleeds to death after having his forearms bitten off, [[spoiler: Garry]] gets a Thing arm down the throat and is dragged around by the [[spoiler: Blair]]-Thing as additional biomass for a OneWingedAngel transformation, and [[spoiler: Fuchs]] is impied to have set himself on fire to avoid assimilation.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: The Thing, good God, the Thing, having presumably absorbed the memories of horror movie monster don'ts from its hosts.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Much'' more so than the Creator/HowardHawks version. And more so than the [[Literature/WhoGoesThere original novel]], [[spoiler:which has an ostensibly much more optimistic ending]].
* DaylightHorror: Somewhat. The base is entering a polar winter, so beyond a certain point in the movie it's just dark all the time. The alien usually attacks when it happens to be dark outside. However, some of the most intense scenes in the movie happen in the well-lit interiors of the base in plain view.
* DeathByPragmatism:[[spoiler: Blair is the first character to realize how incredibly dangerous the Thing is, and flips out, destroying the radio, the vehicles, and killing the surviving dogs. Admittedly, destroying everything the team could have used to warn the surrounding station about the Thing isn't a particularly pragmatic solution, but considering [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt what will happen if the Thing escapes the Antarctic,]] it's at least partially justified. This gets him locked in a storage shed, alone, while multiple Things start freely roving the base. [[YouWillBeAssimilated Eventually, the inevitable happens]].]]
** "Warn others"? Ha! The Norwegian tried that, IN PERSON, and look where that got him. Now try it over the radio. You think they'll believe you? How 'bout saying there's a crazy person on the loose? So what to do? Obviously they'll try to restrain him when they see him. How? By getting close enough for the Thing to dismember and attack every person close enough.
** That, of course, assumes that [[spoiler:Blair wasn't ''already'' a Thing. After all, [[ClothingDamage his shirt had changed]] from the last time he was onscreen.]]
* DecapitationRequired: Subverted horribly. Decapitation does absolutely nothing to the Thing. When its head is removed [[LosingYourHead it acts as an independent organism]] and tries to escape.
* DecliningPromotion: Norris is offered a chance to take over command by the resigning former commander, but turns it down.
-->"I'm sorry fellas, but I'm not up to it."
* DevelopingDoomedCharacters: To an extent. The first twenty-five minutes or so are spent watching the crew of Outpost 31 dealing with the aftermath of the Norwegian attack and investigating the destroyed outpost. Each American camp member is given an EstablishingCharacterMoment during this. However, at the same time, the dog the Norwegians were hunting is nearly omnipresent which adds to the buildup for when the Thing finally reveals itself.
* DistressCall: The Norwegian camp got it out far too late.
* DownerEnding: In some versions edited for broadcast on TNT/TBS, an AlternateEnding is included that is much grimmer than the original cut. After fading to black on the [[spoiler: burning camp, the camera fades up again on a husky running across the Antarctic landscape. So not only is everyone dead but the Thing definitely survived.]][[http://youtu.be/2Xu2cFljkPw?t=3m32s Can be seen here.]] Blair did say earlier that a dog couldn't make it very far, so there may be hope yet.
* DwindlingParty
* EasilyThwartedAlienInvasion: Played with. The Thing, if it landed most anywhere on the planet, would easily assimilate all higher life on it, including us. The crew of the spaceship, however, crash lands it into just about the only place where it ''wouldn't'' be easy for the Thing to take over the planet. There is hardly any life around to assimilate, and it freezes before it can get to any. The base crew also has flamethrowers, which is the only reliable way to kill it.
* EatBrainForMemories: A Thing can do this when it consumes a human being and converts it into a Thing. The new Thing has all of the memories of the original person.
* TheEndOrIsIt: Even after 30 years, fans still debate if [[spoiler:the last survivors were infected, allowing the Thing to possibly live to assimilate once more.]]
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: In keeping with Mac's strategy against the chess computer, he will do whatever it takes to win against the Thing, even if it means blowing the base - their only shelter - to bits.
-->"Yeah, '''FUCK YOU, too!'''"
* EveryoneIsASuspect: The movie creates its notorious sense of paranoia from this, though in this case it isn't so much "anyone could have committed the murder" as "any one of twelve men could in fact be a hostile shape-shifting alien capable of creating a perfect copy of people that it kills". Naturally, a good chunk of the plot is simply driven by the guys trying to figure out who to trust.
* EvilDetectingDog: The other dogs in the kennel sense that there is something very wrong with the newcomer...
** Not when it's first put in the kennel however, implying that The Thing can fool a dog as well as it can humans. Eventually the dogs rouse themselves and start growling and snarling at the newcomer, despite its (initially) normal appearance. Presumably The Thing changes its internal organs first, perhaps affecting its scent which [[UncannyValley the other dogs would pick up on.]]
* EvilIsVisceral: The alien while assimilating its victims.
* {{Expositron 9000}}: The base computer, during the explanation of The Thing's infection and replication mechanism.
* EyeScream:
** The Norwegian in the opening is [[MoeGreeneSpecial shot in the eye]].
** Several different eyes can be seen on the the body of the Dog-Thing, presumably former belongings of the dogs it was in the process of assimilating.
** The eyes of the [[spoiler: Palmer]]-Thing swell up with blood before bursting.
* FacePalmOfDoom: A particularly nasty variation performed on [[spoiler:Garry]] by the [[spoiler:Blair]]-Thing, which ''forces its hand into his throat.''
* FinalBoss: The [[spoiler: Blair]]-Thing. [[spoiler: It basically was the combination of Blair, Garry, and presumably, all the rest of the living-Thing biomass on the base, mashed together to fight as one.]]
* {{Fingore}}:
** A minor example in the blood test scene - the blood is taken via fingertips using a scalpel.
** When [[spoiler:Bennings]] is assimilated, The Thing is caught before it can wholly replicate him, leaving it with monstrous lower arms with stinted, malformed fingers.
* FireBreathingWeapon: Ah, the flamethrower...
* FireKeepsItDead: A person killed by a Thing will become one unless their body is destroyed by fire. After [[spoiler: Windows]] was killed by the [[spoiler: Palmer]]-Thing, [=MacReady=] had to burn him with a flamethrower. [[spoiler:Unfortunately the bodies at the Norwegian camp were burned too hastily, so there are still active cells that can infect others.]]
* FocusGroupEnding: Reportedly, an alternate ending was made for this express purpose, where [=MacReady=] is rescued and confirmed to be human. This was apparently the crew's idea. They never meant to include it in the final cut, but they felt it was better to be safe than sorry if the studio demanded a change. Otherwise, they'd have to go to the trouble of getting Kurt Russell back on the set.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The initial cut was so gory that test audiences complained of nausea. Creator/JohnCarpenter alleviated this by ''changing nothing.'' Carpenter got away with more gore than the censors would typically allow for an R-rated movie by using different colors for the AlienBlood, such as the [[spoiler:Norris]]-Thing having green-and-yellow slime for blood.
* GoneHorriblyRight:
** In one interpretation, the Thing becomes a perfect copy of the original organism, even its flaws. This would mean that [[spoiler: Norris' weak heart condition was transferred into the Thing, causing it to have a heart attack. However, it's possible that Norris's heart stopped beating ''because'' he was being taken over, and the process was completed as he lay inert]].
** The men quickly burn all of the Thing they come across, killing every single cell, so they [[spoiler:don't find out until it's too late that each part of the Thing is an individual organism.]].
* {{Gorn}}: And so, SO much of it in the John Carpenter version.
* GrandTheftMe: The Thing's MO. It's unclear if it directly robs the victim of their consciousness, or slowly subsumes it, bit by bit, to maintain a guise. Carpenter kept it ambiguous.
* HealItWithBooze: In the beginning, the Norwegian shoots Bennings in the leg and they're given a flask of booze that they take a swig from before pouring it over the wound.
* HeroicSuicide: [[spoiler: [=MacReady=], Nauls and Garry decide to destroy the camp and themselves with it to prevent the alien infection from spreading to the rest of the world.]]
-->[[spoiler: "Whether we make it or not, we can't let that thing freeze again. Maybe we'll just warm things up around here. We're not getting out of here alive... but neither is that thing."]]
** Also {{implied}} with [[spoiler: Fuchs]], who is found as a charred corpse. There was no reason for the Thing to kill him off instead of assimilating him, so it's safe to assume that he did it to himself in order to avoid being assimilated and thus being used to assimilate the rest.
* AHouseDivided: When they realize what the Thing is capable of, people start choosing sides and trying to convince each other they're ''not'' the Thing. The alien is smart enough to play into this by planting RedHerring clues.
* IdiotBall: People make a lot of mistakes throughout the movie, [[TropesAreTools which is really what drives a good part of the horror - people are fallible, and, under this kind of pressure, will almost inevitably screw up a lot]]. Special notice should go to Nauls at the end of the film, who walks towards a moving form ([[spoiler: The Blair-Thing pulling Garry's body]]) without telling [=MacReady=], who's literally 3 or so feet away from him at the time. [[spoiler: We never see Nauls again]]
* ImpostorExposingTest: [=MacReady=] figures out a way to test for Thingness by reasoning that the Thing's blood cells are separate organisms with a survival instinct, so therefore, they can determine who is the Thing by how their blood samples react to a match. It works... [[GoneHorriblyRight horribly so.]]
* ItCanThink: During its initial appearances, the Thing only makes incoherent animal noises and appears to be driven by simple instinct, but it soon becomes apparent that it's highly intelligent. Granted, this was already strongly implied by the spaceship (assuming the spacefarers weren't its victims, too), but that doesn't change how unnerving it is when the [[spoiler: ruined blood samples]] make it clear just ''how'' intelligent it is.
** Also some understated FridgeHorror later on, [[spoiler: when the blood test reveals that it was smart enough ''not'' to infect someone if it was too obvious. Everyone knew that Clark had been alone with the infected dog for a long time, so it wasn't worth infecting him. The other two major suspects, Copper and Garry, were also not infected - it was smart enough to ''frame'' people to divert suspicion. ]]
* JerkassHasAPoint: By smashing up all the equipment, Blair essentially trapped everyone there, but he had recognized the danger of allowing the Thing access to the outside world, a concept which the others would soon pick up on. [[spoiler: Of course, he might have been taken over by this point anyway]].
* JumpScare:
** [=MacReady=]'s test makes the Thing's AlienBlood ''scream'' and jump out of the dish, made much more startling in that he ''assumed'' said testee was human, and telling the next person he was going to check that he assumed ''he'' was the Thing.
** Also, [[spoiler:when Copper is trying to use shock paddles on Norris, and a giant mouth opens in his chest and bites off Copper's hands]].
** Let's not forget the scene where the lights go out. Fuchs takes out a flare, and [[spoiler: ''a shadowy figure suddenly slips across the room quickly with a horrific noise so unnerving that no words in the English language'' (or ANY language, for that matter) ''can describe what it sounds like.'']]
* KillEmAll: {{Implied|Trope}}. [[spoiler:Only Childs and Mac are alive in the end, and Childs might be a Thing. Even if he isn't, they'll both freeze to death in the Antarctic winter without shelter.]]
* KillItWithFire: Flamethrowers, kerosene and explosives, no other way. Shotguns won't "do the Thing." Notable examples include:
** When Mac torches one of the Things with a Flamethrower, then blows it to pieces with a stick of dynamite for good measure.
** In another scene, after killing the [[spoiler: Bennings]]-Thing, they bulldoze snow around it to form a pit, pour kerosene on it, and take several minutes to make sure it's completely burned.
* LosingYourHead: Decapitating the monster doesn't work; [[spoiler:in one instance, the head grows legs and walks away.]]
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: When Mac visits the imprisoned, oddly much calmer Blair, [[spoiler: a noose is hanging from the rafters. Neither character comments on it.]]
* MolotovCocktail: To ensure the alien's destruction, the remaining survivors start destroying their outpost by throwing stacks of dynamite into each room, followed by a molotov cocktail to lit the thing.
* MusicalEpisode: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8faq5amdK30 John Carpenter's THE THING: THE MUSICAL]] is [[LighterAndSofter a very cheerful and upbeat]] nutshelling in spite of the movie's gratuitous {{Gorn}} and {{Squick}}—all in the musical style of Frank Sinatra.
* MysteriousAntarctica: Played straight.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: The main characters are responsible for all of the ways in which the Thing is able to escape and spread amongst them.
* NiceHat: Mac's sombrero.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: Cross-Species Disease.
* NotHisSled: The effect isn't tremendous because ''Literature/WhoGoesThere'' isn't that well known, but everyone who was the Thing in the original short story [[spoiler: turns out to be human in the film]], with the exception of [[spoiler: Blair]].
* NotQuiteDead:
** The Norwegian-Thing (and perhaps the Dog-Thing) were burned too hastily, so there is still some cellular activity in them. It's weak, but revives enough to infect Bennings.
** Averted later when Mac insists on doing the blood test for the two dead humans as well. A deleted line from the shooting script has Mac explicitly point out that Norris looked pretty dead, and he thinks the Thing is smart enough to play dead. Though it turns out that both Copper and Clark turned out to be human.
* {{Novelization}}: by Creator/AlanDeanFoster.
* OhCrap:
** Windows gets several of these -- when he realizes whoever got to the blood did so by retrieving the keys to the fridge that ''he'' dropped, and when he sees [[spoiler: Bennings being assimilated]], [[spoiler: the Palmer-Thing drops down from the ceiling in front of him]].
** Everyone during the failed [[spoiler: defib scene]]. Especially Palmer, who has that one great line.
** When the "lynch mob" break down the storeroom door to find Mac holding a flare inches away from a bundle of dynamite.
** The look on Mac's face when Fuchs, reading from Blair's journal, tells him that [[spoiler: there's still cellular activity within the burnt remains of the Thing, and it's not dead yet.]]
* OneWingedAngel: Whenever the Thing is exposed, it assumes very dangerous, monstrous forms to attack the protagonists with. Particularly noteworthy when it confronts [[spoiler:[=MacReady=]]] at the end, and the Thing turns into a huge monster shapeshifter mash-up. Also an example of ClippedWingAngel.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: On numerous occasions you can hear Donald Moffat (Garry) slip back into his British accent.
* PantsFree: During the disorder of the Kennel scene were some of the guys rush out of their rooms half-dressed, you can see Dr.Copper only wearing a shirt and no underwear.
* ParanoiaFuel: InUniverse and out.
* PersonalArcade: There is an ''VideoGame/{{Asteroids}}'' arcade machine at the ice station, one of the few times this trope is not played for laughs. In fact, it foreshadows the idea that each component of the monster is a danger in and of itself.
* PerspectiveFlip: The short story ''[[http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/watts_01_10/ The Things]]'' by Creator/PeterWatts, which is told from the creature's POV, and makes it [[BlueAndOrangeMorality somewhat]] sympathetic.
* PlungerDetonator: The remaining crew members set up dynamite charges to blow up the base, with a detonator to set them off. Unfortunately the title monster grabs it before they can use it, but TheHero improvises.
* PoorCommunicationKills: If only they knew to speak Norwegian, or if the Norwegian knew English...
* PracticalEffects: One of the more iconic examples of the benefits of using practical effects, ''The Thing'' especially benefited as the effects were more horrifying than cleaner computer-generated imagery, and the less refinement made the Thing seem even more alien.
* PrecisionFStrike:
** Upon seeing a human head grow legs and walk away:
--->'''Palmer:''' You gotta be fucking kidding...
** Upon seeing a monster crawl out of the stomach of another big monster:
--->'''Mac:''' Yeah? Well ''fuck you, too!''
** Right after one of the movie's most intense fight scenes:
---> '''Garry:''' 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!'''
* PyrrhicVictory: If the protagonists have won at all it's come at a devastating cost.
* RealityHasNoSubtitles: When the Norwegian gets out of the helicopter he speaks in Norwegian without any translation.
* ReCut: Of the TV variety. When the movie was due to premiere on TBS, a good deal of gore was cut out - to the point where they were falling under the expected runtime. To make up for the cut footage, previously cut material (such as character exposition) was edited in. A new twist to the ending was also featured in this version, but not in broadcasts on other networks (such as AMC or Sci-Fi).
* RedHerringMole: [[spoiler: All the characters set up to be The Thing turn out to be human. In fact, in the end it turns out that only 3 characters (Palmer, Norris and Blair) had been infected.]]
* RuleOfSymbolism: [=MacReady=] destroying the chess computer by pouring whiskey into it mirrors the metaphorical game of chess played through the rest of the movie, and how he will destroy the game, or [[spoiler: burn down the entire facility]], to prevent his opponent from winning. Notice how in the end, [[spoiler: he hands Childs a drink]]?
* SealedEvilInACan: Already opened [[LateToTheTragedy when our guys find it]].
* ShadowDiscretionShot: Right from the start, we can guess that that dog is the Thing. It's no spoiler to say that we're right. And in one bit, it's seen in shadow, licking the hand of a man who, from his shadow, is either [[spoiler:Palmer or Norris, both of whom turn out to be the Thing as well]]. It's actually the shadow of a crew member, who looks a lot like both the relevant characters. Carpenter felt like being indeterminate again.
* ShockAndAwe: Sufficient voltage can cause a Thing to lash out instinctively (this is how [[spoiler: Norris]] is outed as a Thing during the [[spoiler: defib scene]]).
* ShootTheShaggyDog: An inversion with the cable cut: [[spoiler:All their suicidal efforts to stop the Thing are in vain. The end result: the shaggy dog running across the Antarctic plains, headed for life to infect and ready to take over the planet.]]
* ShoutOut:
** The Norwegian scientists finding the saucer is an exact recreation of the scene in the 1951 film.
** The effect used for the main title is a slicker version of the one used in 1951.
* SoreLoser: When we meet [=MacReady=], he loses a game of chess to the computer, accuses it of being a "cheating bitch", and then pours whiskey into the CPU. [[EstablishingCharacterMoment [=MacReady's=] character will destroy the game rather than lose to it]] - which is what he does at the end of the movie, [[spoiler: burning down the camp in order to deny the Thing victory]]. This was noted in an article in Script Magazine.
* StopHelpingMe (InUniverse): Macready's reaction to Palmer backing up his talk of {{Flying Saucer}}s.
-->'''Childs:''' I just cannot believe any of this voodoo bullshit.\\
'''Palmer:''' Childs, happens all the time, man. They're falling out of the skies like flies. Government knows all about it, right, Mac? Chariots of the Gods, man. They practically own South America. I mean, they taught the Incas everything they know.
* SuddenlyShouting: Garry, after the intense fight scene with the Palmer-Thing during the blood test:
--> '''Garry''': (''calmly'') 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!''
* SurprisinglySuddenDeath: Pretty much whenever the Thing's new host is uncovered.
* TakingYouWithMe: [=MacReady=] grabs a bundle of dynamite and threatens to light if the others try to rush him. It also keeps them from burning him.
* TenLittleMurderVictims: The bulk of the film essentially boils down to the cast wanting to kill the Thing, but not knowing who is or isn't infected.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: After flaming [[spoiler:Palmer]]-Thing, [=MacReady=] chucks his dynamite bundle at it for good measure.
* TheyLookLikeUsNow: Milked for all the paranoia fuel it's worth.
* TomatoInTheMirror: Discussed. The survivors wonder, if the Thing perfectly mimics who it copies, does ''it'' even know it's a fake? The novel claims it does, absorbing the memories and personality of the Thing, and Carpenter in the commentary says that if it did, it wouldn't matter - it'd use their personality to react accordingly. Given that the Thing-imitations take several actions to frame unassimilated humans, and one of them is [[spoiler: secretly building a craft to attempt to escape]], it seems probable that they know what they are.\\
The actor playing [[spoiler: Norris]] mentions in the commentary that he played his character as being worried that he might be the Thing without knowing it. ([[spoiler:He's very much correct.]]) Note his reaction when offered [[spoiler: Garry's gun - "I'm not up to it."]]. Note also Nauls's expression when his turn comes for the blood test. [[spoiler: Though he does turn out to be human,]] it is pretty clear that he is terrified he will not pass the test.
* TrappedWithMonsterPlot: The only alternatives the characters have are staying inside or freezing to death outside in the Antarctic winter.
* TrashTheSet: The burned-down Norwegian camp was actually the same set as the American camp [[spoiler: after the final battle]].
* VirusVictimSymptoms: Played with in a scene with [[spoiler: Blair]], which just underscores the paranoia.
* WhamLine:
** When dealing with the power issue.
-->'''Garry''': The generator's...gone.\\
'''[=MacReady=]''': Any way we can fix it?\\
'''Garry''': It's ''gone'', [=MacReady=].
** Delivered by Garry with a mix of awe and utter defeat and despondence. They're in the basement, and the generator wasn't simply "broken" by the alien. Off-screen, it somehow removed the entire large machine weighing ''several tons'', leaving no trace of it behind. It casually reveals just how strong the alien they are up against is. They are screwed.
** Earlier...
-->'''Fuchs''': "Damn it, [=MacReady=], there is ''still'' cellular activity in these remains... [[spoiler: '''they're not dead yet.'''"]]
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never find out who sabotaged the blood samples, or whose shadow it was on the wall. [[spoiler:Presumably it was one of the men later revealed to be Things - Norris, Palmer, or possibly Blair, but which one is never specified]]. More importantly, we never see exactly what happened to [[spoiler: Nauls]]. They did film a resolution for that last one, but they weren't happy with the special effects on it, and Carpenter decided it would be more effective just to leave that particular thread hanging.
* WormSign: Near the end of the movie the giant Thing races underground towards McReady, splitting floorboards as it goes.
* YouHaveGotToBeKiddingMe: Said by Palmer [[spoiler:when he sees the Norris-spider head walking away]]
--> "You got to be ''fucking'' kidding..."
** The funny thing is that [[spoiler:by this point, Palmer is most certainly a Thing himself, which changes the tone of the scene completely. He says this a few seconds after Windows turns to see the Norris-spider head - realizing that at least one other person noticed it, he's trying ''too'' enthusiastically to "helpfully" point out an alien, to throw suspicion off himself.]]
** Or [[spoiler: he's flabbergasted that part of "himself" would be so stupid to try to escape in such an obvious fashion.]]
->[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8faq5amdK30 Those poor bastards in the snow\\
They were clueless, now they know\\
It's a special brand of nightmare that I bring\\
'Cause they thought I was a dog but I~'m\\