John Carpenter Debunks The Thing Ending Theory

You can cross one potential theory off the list with regard to The Thing’s ending. Debunked straight from the source.

I Know I’m Me

The ambiguous nature of the ending to John Carpenter’s The Thing is just one of the reasons it has stood the test of time. There have been plenty of theories over the years about which of MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Childs (Keith David) could be the titular shapeshifting alien or, if indeed, either of them is. It’s worth remembering that those assimilated by The Thing don’t even know it themselves.

Both are seemingly willing to freeze to death to prevent the shapeshifter from escaping to civilization. The beauty of it, of course, is that The Thing could easily wait it out, something that was implied in the 2002 video game sequel, which seemed to prove Childs’ innocence as you find his frozen corpse while MacReady shows up alive and well at the end of the game to help the player kill a monstrous version of The Thing. That ending left things just as open-ended as the film though, as we never got a follow-up game.

It also goes against the theory Carpenter debunked in an interview with Carpenter was asked about cinematographer Dean Cundey’s idea that there’s a specific light in the eyes of human characters that isn’t present in imposters. Cundey suggested that Childs did not have the light in his eyes, but Carpenter was pretty frank about that theory’s validity.

“[Dean Cundey] doesn’t know. He has no idea. He puts the lights up. He puts the lights up, and we were in the snow. He has no clue,” Carpenter responded. “You tell him that. Tell him he’s full of shit.”

Carpenter says that despite the ambiguity surrounding the ending, he absolutely knows who is and isn’t The Thing, but he’s not telling anyone. He did endorse the 2002 video game, though, so maybe that held the real clues all along. There’s also a chance a potential sequel could hold the answers.

The Horror Master is currently promoting his new Peacock show John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams. It’s about real-life terrors and is presented as a mixture of reality-based accounts and cinematic recreations. Carpenter returned to directing for the first time in 13 years for the show’s sixth episode about a stalker who torments a woman through her phone.

ComingSoon interviewed producer Sandy King-Carpenter about the series, which is out today.

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