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Franchise / The Thing

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A franchise about an alien shapeshifter hunting the personnel of an arctic base.

Not to be mistaken for The Thing, member of the Marvel Comics superhero team Fantastic Four nor does it have anything to do with the 1979 cartoon also known as The Thing.

This Franchise Shares These Tropes:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Could happen to anyone.
  • Antagonist Title: The Thing is the alien creature trying to take over the protagonists.
  • The Assimilator: 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 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 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.
  • Body Horror: What happens when The Thing reveals itself, ripping its way out of its host.
  • Eerie Arctic Research Station: The original is set at an Arctic scientific outpost, while the remake was set in Antarctica. There are two Antarctic research stations seen in the remake. One is the Norwegian post which discovered the alien spacecraft embedded in the ice crust. The other is the American post which adopts a sled dog that had been fleeing Norwegian commandos. The dog later turns out to be an evil, pleomorphic alien. While trying to learn more about their foe, the Americans visit the Norwegian post, which is found to be a thoroughly burnt and ravaged ruins.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe and out, the fact that anyone may be The Thing.
  • Parasitic Horror: The titular villain is an extraterrestrial single-celled organism that infects its victims just by mere touch, and hides inside of them. If its cover is blown, the Thing creates a horrific mish-mash of meat, tentacles, and mouths out of its host's body. To make hiding and hunting easier, the Thing creates and spreads paranoia to the heroes, causing them to accuse each other for being the titular monster.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: The bulk of the films essentially boil down to the cast wanting to kill the Thing, but not knowing who is or isn't infected.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Most terrifying of all is the fact that The Thing can change shape, infecting a person on a molecular level and then relentlessly absorbing and duplicating their cells, imitating them from the inside out until there is nothing human left. The only exception is the 1951 film.