''The Thing from Another World'' is the first movie based on Creator/JohnWCampbell's novella ''Literature/WhoGoesThere''[[note]]the second being ''Film/TheThing1982'', unless you count 1972's ''Film/HorrorExpress''[[/note]], directed in 1951 by Christan Nyby (and produced by Creator/HowardHawks).

The setting is one that will become familiar to viewers of horror films; A small group of people are cut off from the rest of humanity - in this case because they are at the North Pole and the weather is horrible, even interfering with radio communications.

Our hero, Captain Pat Hendry (Kenneth Tobey), and his aircrew along with a stray reporter, fly to the Arctic outpost manned by a scientific expedition under Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) to investigate an apparent air crash. It proves to be a FlyingSaucer that is accidentally destroyed when the crew attempt to recover it. However they do discover the body of the presumed pilot frozen in the ice. Needless to say he/it (played by a young [[Series/{{Gunsmoke}} James Arness]]) is not dead, and once defrosted wreaks havoc until stopped by 'an arc of electricity'.

While Hawks' actual role in the film's production has long been debated, ''The Thing'' exhibits his trademarked overlapping dialogue and assertive female characters who neither scream, faint or become hysterical at any point in the proceedings. All screaming, fainting and hysteria is supplied by the male cast - and with good reason. The script is a quick patter of wisecracks and one-liners with minimal exposition that keep the plot moving at breakneck speeds. For what it's worth, the cast members have offered conflicting reports, with some saying he effectively directed nearly all of it and others claiming he only supervised the production. Of course, it could just be that Nyby was so influenced by Hawks he merely imitated his style to the hilt.

!!Tropes contained within this work:

* AdaptationalVillainy: Carrington's short story counterpart, Blair, does quickly realize that the Thing is a monster and can't be reasoned with. Although he takes it too far in the opposite direction by threatening everyone on the base, it's also implied that a combination of paranoia and guilt has driven him more than a little out of his mind by this point, while Carrington receives no such explanation for his behavior (Nikki suggests he's acting out of exhaustion, but this is clearly a weak defense). Also, it's implied that Blair's idea to thaw the alien was influenced by a telepathic suggestion from the Thing itself, while this version of the creature lacks the ability to influence Carrington.
* AntagonistTitle: The Thing from Another World is the monster.
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety: Averted. When a panicked, shock-stricken Barnes comes running into the main room and tries to describe what he saw while gesticulating at Hendry's midsection with his sidearm, Hendry quickly takes it away from him.
* BeardOfEvil: Carrington has a Lenin-like goatee.
* CameFromTheSky
* TheCaptain: Captain Hendry, [[CaptainObvious of course]].
* DeadpanSnarker: [[WorldOfSnark Everybody]], but especially the reporter Scotty.
* EvilDetectingDog: The sled dogs begin barking just before the Thing emerges from the melted ice block.
* {{Fainting}}: Scotty again!
* ForScience: The cry of Dr. Carrington, who thinks it is the expedition's duty to die to the last man rather than destroy "a source of wisdom". The others dissent.
* GenreBlind: Dr. Carrington in spades. He refuses to understand that simply because a creature is older than man that doesn't mean it's wiser or more intellectually/morally evolved. Even after the Thing murders his assistants, Carrington still maintains that it was all an accident and even tries to warn the creature about the electric trap. [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves The Thing responds by beating the crap out of him.]]
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: One of the soldiers likens the effect the frozen alien has on the scientists with the effect an Army nurse had on an island full of soldiers during the war. When asked what happened to her, he answers with a grin "She liked it there."
* HaveAGayOldTime: "Just got a queer message from your picnic party up north, from Dr. Carrington himself."
* {{Humanoid Alien|s}}: The Thing, in contrast to its {{shapeshifter}} abilities from the novel.
* ImmuneToBullets: The Thing, of course; what self-respecting alien isn't?[[note]]Considering its body is plant based, it might simply lack any sort of conventional vital organs to damage.[[/note]]
* ImplausibleDeniability: On returning from where they found the flying saucer, the characters have a lot of fun mocking an army report stating that UFO's don't exist.
-->"They'll probably make you a general for destroying the evidence."
* JumpScare: [[spoiler:Is anyone in the audience ready to see a fully regrown Thing standing [[OhCrap right at the doorway]] when Hendry opens it?]]
* JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: Dr. Carrington again. He knowingly puts colleagues in harm's way and tries to grow little Things. Nikki kindly suggests he is not himself due to sleep deprivation.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Dr. Carrington]]
** Well, he did get his collar bone broken by the Thing.
* KillItWithFire: Hendry: "What do you do with a vegetable?" Nikki: "Cook it." Which leads to -
** InfernalRetaliation: They set a whole room on fire but the Thing gets away. The crew eventually decides to Kill It With Electricity instead.
* MadScientist: Dr. Carrington becomes one.
** More like WellIntentionedExtremist: Carrington only sees a being capable of space travel and other advanced capabilities. Which is why even up to the end he tries ''talking'' to the Thing like it was capable of understanding English... or the concept of mercy...
*** He starts ''off'' as a MadScientist. He wants to defrost the presumed-dead Thing ''right away.'' It's rather clear that they've not got the proper equipment for a necropsy, no less to preserve samples. Cold, meanwhile, preserves rather well.
* ManOnFire: The first time this particular effect was attempted in a movie.
* ManInARubberSuit: Probably the only disappointment about this movie for those who got introduced to the story in ''Film/TheThing1982''.
* MundaneSolution: When Hendry opens a door to find [[spoiler: that the Thing is RIGHT THERE]] he very sensibly closes it again.
* MysteriousAntarctica: Except of course this is the Arctic.
* NothingIsScarier: We rarely get to actually see the Thing, which spends most of the film either hidden behind doors [[spoiler:until it's time for a JumpScare]], waiting in the shadows, or running about in the snow with the blizzard covering the view. Making it scarier is that the Thing's approach is heralded with [[SensorSuspense Geiger counters]] (it gives off a low radioactive buzz) that [[OhCrap start clicking faster and faster]]...
** [[spoiler:A good non-narrative reason we don't get a clear view of the Thing is because the [[SpecialEffectFailure makeup effect]] is pretty obvious]].
* OhCrap: Barnes, when he sees the shadow of the Thing emerging from the block of ice behind him.
** Everyone when they realize the alien has disabled the heating system.
* PlantAliens
* PluckyGirl: Nikki keeps her head throughout the crisis.
* PragmaticAdaptation: The original novella used a [[StarfishAlien shape-shifting creature]] that ''ate its victims'' and [[ReplicantSnatching created copies of them]] that could then consume and alter others. The effects of the era made it impossible to film, so the producers changed the Thing into a blood-sucking shambling monster. The [[Film/TheThing1982 remake by Carpenter]] - when [=SFX=] was able to make effective-looking monsters - was more faithful to the novella.
* RecycledInSpace: Thanks to John Carpenter being a ''huge'' fan of the film, the entire SerialKiller genre sprung from this film (thanks to ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}''), not to mention films like ''Film/{{Alien}}'' and, of course, ''Film/TheThing1982''.
* TheReveal: The [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome scene where the rescue party fans out]] to get an idea of the shape of the crashed airplane... which they quickly recognize is in the shape of a FlyingSaucer!
** The brief moment [[spoiler:when we get a clear view of the Thing... when Hendry opens a door with it [[JumpScare standing RIGHT THERE]].]]
* ScientistVsSoldier: With Dr. Carrington being the "scientist" and everybody within the base as the "soldier".
* SealedEvilInACan: Or rather, [[HumanPopsicle Inhuman Popsicle]] evil.
* ShoutOut: Asked if he knows how to use a gun, [=McPherson=] responds, "I saw Creator/GaryCooper in ''Film/SergeantYork''." (Producer Hawks had directed that earlier film.)
* SlidingScaleOfAdaptationModification: This movie falls into Type 3 (PragmaticAdaptation).
* SmurfettePrinciple: Averted. In addition to Nikki the expedition's physician is a woman and the wife of one of the scientists.
* TheSquad: Hendry's gallant flight crew. It is, however, admittedly difficult to tell one from the other.
* TagalongReporter: Ned "Scotty" Scott.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Hendry and Nikki have quite a bit of this, although they've dated in the past. They end the film as an OfficialCouple.
* YouHaveGotToBeKiddingMe: Scotty's reaction when Dr. Carrington informs them that 'the Thing' is essentially an intelligent carrot.