THE THING

THE THING
From right to left : John, Myself, Production Manager Robert Brown, Associate Producer Larry Franco. The Juneau Ice Field. Location Scout April, 1981

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

WHEN THE THING BECAME JOHN CARPENTERS' THE THING












               It is often mentioned that John Carpenter had the luxury of time when he made THE THING ( Maintaining an office at Universal Studios from April, 1981 through the end of June, 1982 ) and that this expansive schedule in large part contributed to the films' overall quality. Although this was true in some respects it stands in contrast to a frenzied Six Week period from late October to early December, 1981 in which THE THING shape shifted into something harder and more powerful, and in the process took a decisive turn toward the dark side. During this time John restructured the film, wrote what was essentially a new Second Act to conform to the editing he had done ( including new death scenes for two characters ), adopted MacCready as his spiritual doppelganger, and scrambled to get all of it shot on location in Stewart, B.C. Coming face to face with his own greatest fear - fear of failure -  he was able to make THE THING undeniably his...

           This is how it happened...
    

          
     ( 1 ) The Quirk In The Schedule


        In the summer of 1981 Universal Studios was worried about the possibility of a threatened labor strike in mid October and insisted that we advance our schedule and finish all of the stage work with the principal actors ( about 8 weeks worth ) before that date. Even though we had purposefully chosen Stewart, B.C., the then snowfall capital of the world to be guaranteed sufficient early snow for filming, it would not be possible before early December - this created a six week hole in the schedule, a hiatus from filming, where we planned, optimistically, to finish the bulk of Rob's effects work ( normally, it would have been customary to have begun production several months later and made the transition to Stewart almost immediately for the Exterior work ) 

           This break from filming, forced by circumstance and very unusual at the time, gave John an advantage he was to enjoy only once - the opportunity to view the assembled footage without the pressure of ongoing production knowing that, due to a quirk in scheduling, he would have the largest crew he'd ever had (about 250) at his disposal in British Columbia in a few weeks time... 



      ( 2 ) " A Long Time Between Monsters"




         A few days after production on stage wrapped John Carpenter stood in the doorway of my office. He had just seen a rough assembly of THE THING for the first time, and he wasn't happy. The movie didn't work. Lacking the location footage and many special effects he found the cut to be long, dull, and, above all, lacking in tension - his biggest fear. The early scenes with the men were endlessly repetitive and dragged on forever. Most of the byplay and humor fell flat. The film felt formless and just seemed to drift along, with no one character breaking out of the pack to drive the action...

                Another big worry was the basic idea of assimilation that underpinned the film. The constant indirect allusions to the process were too subtle and confusing. He did not think the audience had a clear idea of what was going on, and the stakes involved... 
               
         He said the movie came to life for the first time during The Kennel, then lapsed into passivity until the next effects scene which was then the Norris transformation. And for a film that was trying to lay down its' marker as a state of the art monster movie that, I remember John saying, was "a long time between monsters"...








                     I saw the cut several days later at Johns' request. Although I agreed with his overall concerns it seemed to me that he had shot a better film than he was seeing. After his grim initial assessment I wondered whether John had overreacted and prematurely lost faith in his own work. I knew he had his own share of nightmares from his experience in making THE FOG, its' post-production tinkering and considerable re-shoots - was he scared that history was repeating itself ?



   
  ( 3) "DIRECTING IS ABOUT DECIDING  - WHEN YOU DIRECT, DECIDE " - John Carpenter






    
 And decide John did. He proceeded to immediately attack his film, stripping each scene down to its essentials. If something didn't directly service the story, it was gone ( and never to return ). It was pace John was initially looking for and he was ruthless in pursuit of anything he felt slowed the film down.


The earliest deletions, I remember, were scenes involving MacCready and his blow-up friend and Childs and his " magic garden ", both of which, John said, "took us nowhere". The men and their endless squabbling throughout the film was an easy target and large chunks hit the editing room floor almost immediately.



The decisions John was making were not hasty but they came quickly. His desire to wrestle with the implications of the story he was telling took on an urgency that I hadn't seen before...  










          Also dropped quickly was Bennings' death scene by an unknown ( and never revealed ) assailant. A   replacement itself for Bill Lancasters' much more expensive and effects-filled original scene set out on the Antarctic Ice, this sequence was designed and written by Bill as a no frills way to kill off a character by playing into Johns' wheelhouse, HALLOWEEN style. And that was part of the problem. John certainly executed it well enough, but it still felt like a scene that belonged in a different movie - a conventional murder mystery, perhaps. With no monster or even blood to recommend it John judged it "non dramatic" and set about trying to come up with something better...

       

       
          John was not happy with the way he had shot the "reveal" of Fuchs death by shovel. He had already cut the earlier Greenhouse footage with Childs anyway...


                  ... and in the space of a whirlwind week and a half John had come up with a cut that was leaner, less elaborate and more to the point, but still lacked drive and a coherent point of view. On a late Friday afternoon he said he would take the weekend to think about what came next...









      On Monday Morning John called us into his office ( by us, I refer to Larry Franco, David Foster, myself, Production Designer John Lloyd, and Production Manager Robert Brown ). On his desk was a small stack of typewritten half pages, which contained a series of new scenes he had written. These pages were never officially published and were only distributed to cast and crew ( which is why it is next to impossible to find a script with them included ), and were written to conform to a new structure, of film already shot and edited  and not the script itself.  

           In addition to being used to bridge cut material and tighten the pacing the scenes had two primary objectives : 

          ( 1 ) To clarify for the audience the mechanics of assimilation, its' threat to the men, and the stakes involved...

          ( 2 )  The ascension of MacCready to full blown leading man status. Bill Lancasters' script had MacCready gradually emerging from the pack to take command much later, and then only with reluctance. Say goodbye to the ensemble. John had decided to move him front and center and have him take charge early on in order to be able to drive the action...

           ... John began to verbally talk us through his vision for the movie, reading aloud the new material as required. What he described in that meeting was, with scant alteration, the film you have before you now.




            The new scenes written ( as filmed ) by John :

                   
                    






               The MacCready makeover begins here. After a slightly awkward dissolve this first compact scene puts MacCready firmly in the drivers' seat. The original scene as shot on stage had the men endlessly bantering, with MacCready, ever reluctant,  refusing to go up... 




                    John turns this idea on its' head. Now, the decision to fly is MacCreadys'. Copper defers to this new status : If you say we don't fly, Mac, we don't fly "...  The " Crazy Swedes" line is John's first attempt to "imitate " the laconic nature of Bill Lancasters' MacCready...




            This next extended sequence, right at the core of the film, occupying some Ten and a Half minutes of screen time, is all Johns'...

    






                    Blair at the computer as originally filmed was a small and relatively insignificant part of a larger scene that came much earlier in the film. The script called for no specific information shown on screen, just a nondescript graphic of two cells splitting. The dramatic idea ( more of a brief dramatic beat, really ) was to focus on Blair and his increasing concern, not on what he was viewing, as part of a slower, more indirect buildup to his rampage...




                John fashions an entirely new scene out of a minor moment and takes the opportunity to show the audience, in no uncertain terms, exactly what's going down. We had no idea what a real program looked like and didn't much care anyway, so John instructed fellow USC Alumnus John Wash ( who animated this sequence on film ) for a video game vibe to help sell the idea by keeping it as simple as possible...
                   



                And, for the audiences delectation, a first stark appraisal - literally spelling out the stakes involved. To button the sequence, John added an additional insert of Blairs' hands going for the gun...
           





                  The next shot was made at Universal Heartland, Robs' special effects facility, in late December, 1981, after filming in Stewart ( and after the Outpost 31 interior set was taken down ) and introduces a new set constructed for this additional material. Done while Kurt Russell was still available ( the now famous alternate last shot with MacCready was also filmed this same day, right down the hall ), the shot sets in motion a sequence of events that puts Macready at the forefront... 






     
              The scene inside the Thiokol is primarily written by John, but contains a line or two of Bills' lifted from two earlier sequences that were cut ( the  "Chameleon Strikes in the Dark" line, for example ). Here Fuchs comes to MacCready with the information and allows him to begin to act on it...






               Designed to replace the original Bennings' death scene shot on stage, and meant to reinforce the idea of assimilation by having one of the characters being physically absorbed on camera , allowing the audience to make the visual connection between man and monster...





                A new set was designed and constructed inside The Outpost 31 Exterior in Stewart. The irony of travelling to the snowfall capital of the world to spend the first few days filming a cramped interior was lost on no one...





                     There was no money or time to develop anything much in the way of effects for the scene. Robs' shop in Los Angeles was overburdened and behind schedule, so they sent up a bunch a miscellaneous tentacles along with jars of Vaseline and tubes of  Orange K-Y Jelly...

             



         
                    ...Peter Maloney is wearing the same pair of prop gloves Rob had fashioned for Palmers' flight to the ceiling, shot several months earlier...






                     This is the first scene in THE THING that is written, directed, and scored  by John - a complete package. Simply staged and elegantly shot, it does a lot with very little. John makes sure the audience is aware that, as MacCready shouts for all to hear, "It isn't Bennings ! It isn't Bennings !"...






               The next scene was also shot at Universal Heartland, Robs special effects facility, in late December, 1981, when Donald Moffat was available. It's purpose is to simply underline again, in spades, what the men have just witnessed...






                 Hitting the nail on the head with Mac's " That was one of those Things out there, trying to imitate him "






                 Donald Moffat suggested that John add the personal connection between Garry and Bennings at the end of the scene. The line " I've known Bennings for 10 years, he was my friend " is the actors'...





     The penultimate moment. John has mentioned that he felt it was at this point the movie needed a summation. This is it and of course MacCready makes it.






   
    Point by point MacReady lays out the dilemma and the options for the men. They aren't pretty. World domination or death. All or nothing. With this speech he presents the purest distillation yet of Johns' ethos, almost functioning as a stand in for the director... 







                As MacCready makes the tape recording it gives John the chance to clear up a plot point or two ( "It rips through your clothes when it takes you over") but the relevant moment that John is looking to underline here is the weary declaration that "Nobody trusts anybody anymore". Also filmed the same time as the other work in late December, l981. Busy day...  






                  When it came time to figure out what to do with Fuchs ( and when to do it ) John asked his Associate Producer Larry Franco what the production limitations were going to be. Larry told him he could do whatever the Hell he wanted, as long as it took Three Hours... 






     This is John's Three Hour version of Fuchs demise, dictated by considerations of time and money...






         What other filmmaker can you think of that has the courage to kill  two major characters off screen? At least Fuchs had a corpse. Poor Nauls simply disappeared...





 

     ...and none of us have a clue about what really happened to Fuchs, so I guess we'll just have to accept the mens' explanation...








           To accomodate the new work the entire schedule in Stewart, with production due to begin in several weeks, was thrown into disarray.  A number of short scenes and transitions were cut to make time to film the new footage. What remained ( really only Bill Lancaster's original opening and closing and The Norwegian Camp Exterior ) would have to be shot more quickly...  










                 The new pages were unable to be integrated into the existing script. This wasn't much of a concern when filming independently, but a problem for a system as militarized as Universals' who like to keep the various divisions on the same page.  The Executives and Production Department had to be informed - they hadn't seen the movie and John was about to head off to Canada to shoot material they couldn't even read. It fell to John to talk them verbally through the movie, much as he did with us in that first meeting.

            That took care of the Studio. The crew had been briefed  and wheels set in motion ...but what about the actors ? 






         ( 4 ) "  DON'T YOU GUYS GET IT ? IT'S ALL ABOUT THE RUBBER  MAN "


          
       That's Richard Masur ( Clarke ), quoting Wilford Brimley. Masur, speaking at a convention recently in Europe, was talking about an occasion while filming THE THING when John was knee deep in the process of setting up an effects shot with Rob. There were always delays which usually resulted in the cast being called to work and then just sitting around. One actor was complaining to another about the time John was taking, prompting Wilford Brimley to chime in with " Don't you guys get it ? It's all about the Rubber Man "...
                 







                There had been some tension on set, seldom bursting out into the open but found from time to time lurking in the shadows. John was, with the exception of Kurt, working with actors that were new to him and who customarily brought a lot to the table -  they expected a lot back in return from their director. A group dynamic had developed, a byproduct of the two week rehearsal period that was convened before production, and a number wanted the running dialogue kept up.This was simply not John's method of working, who kept conversation to a minimum once filming began and expected actors to do their job.  This dynamic mirrored The THING's central theme - some of the cast didn't fully trust John to watch their backs.  For his part John thought some were prone to paranoia - acting like little children - for feeling shunted aside in favor of the monster. For my part, I didn't like the thought of cast and director isolated from one other ( Thirty One and some odd years later I feel sure some of this real life dynamic infiltrated, and probably enriched, the final product ).

         How were they going to react to new material that unbalanced the ensemble and further diminished their roles ?

                       





        The same afternoon the cast arrived in Stewart after the fabled bus ride from hell ( the bus slid off the road on the way in, prompting the group to literally pull together to get it back on the highway ) a meeting was convened in the vacant dining room at the hotel. Everyone had scattered since production on stage had finished, and this was the first time John was able to meet with the actors en masse. After handing out xeroxed copies John, for the umpteenth time, set about patiently and calmly explaining the changes the film had undergone, the reasons for them, and why they had new pages in front of them. And then asked for their help in seeing him through the next couple of very difficult weeks. And he got it...      







         ... and now all that was left was for John to negotiate the cold and the snow. Despite last minute preparations and daily hardships the company was able to get the hell off the mountain in time for Christmas. It was only days after that that John " locked " the cut ( with the conspicuous exception of the effects footage ) and that was that...



     ( 5 ) " We AREN' T GETTING OUT OF HERE ALIVE - BUT NEITHER IS THAT THING"


 





          Spoken resolutely by MacCready off camera - the last declaration of intent, the last wild line added by John in post-production, and the last line of dialogue he wrote for THE THING.  It sums up his approach to the film. A no holds barred, take no prisoners posture spurred on by the twin galvanizing influences of instinct and fear - a time when John Carpenter was compelled to stare into the abyss and didn't blink...
.






53 comments:

  1. I very nearly deleted this in my favourites thinking it was dead...glad I didn't. fascinating anecdotes there abou the budget and JC's rethinking of the plot. Fascinating to think that the first cut wasn't up to snuff.

    Still saddened by the loss of the original Benning's death it would have been epic to see that happen as we never got a daytime thing attack out in the open.

    Glad you have updated Stuart, keep it going if you can.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very enjoyable and insightful read. One of my all-time favorite movies!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fantastic post, thank you very much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been a fan of John Carpenter's THE THING ever since I walked out of a theater in Dedham, MA after an early showing(my first advanced screening).
    I've returned to it over and over again over the years, whether on cable, the abomination-that-is-the-CBS-tv-version, VHS, DVD, screening at the Egyptian with John Carpenter there and constantly passing it on to people who've never seen it..

    31 years later, I'm still fascinated but it-whether story or behind-the-scenes.

    Thank you for sharing. It is quite enlightening.


    Now to go back through the other posts!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amazing. This is a fantastic post with such wonderful information. THE THING turned 31 this week, so I've been consuming everything I can on the film, one of my top five favorites of all time. Thank you for sharing!

    -anna

    ReplyDelete
  7. This Film is amazing
    I can see why its about the rubber man, but on the other hand, the paranoia is brilliant
    As much as I hate to say this, I enjoy the paranoia more than the monster, the Rubber man has done his job great by executing JCs master plan
    Engaging the audience, letting the audience fill in the missing gaps
    Create their own paranoia

    Ennio's score is wonderful too

    So many people to thank for this production, as JCs vision would not have been achievable without their help

    Mr Cohen, you have done us fans a great justice to what the film could have been (JCs worst nightmare..)
    I hated the prequel FYI, CGI monsters, and showing us the whole process? why?

    Once again, brilliant info, its a testimony to all us fans

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks so much for a this wonderful story and the insights into the making of this great film!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great, great read. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the making of. There's a reason why it resonates so many years after its release.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Excellent read, thanks for typing it up.

    Makes me hope for a day that we'll see a special edition released one day with nearly another movie's worth of deleted material. :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. Amazeballs! Just Amazeballs! The thing prequel was a much better film, but this old 80's film has a certain goofy charm like those old Abbot and costello meets the wolfman kind of films. It's good to see a B-grade out of work director like John Carpenter actually trying to improve his goofy old films with things like rewrites and actual directing and basic communicating with his actors. Most of his films would have benefited from this new and exciting filmmaking approach. Thanks for the write up.

    ReplyDelete
  12. i just vomited after reading Peter Smithfield's joke post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. same here....i think he is trollin....i mean....i hope he is for his sake

      Delete
    2. HAHAHA!! Excellent!! It's so good laughing a lot!..

      Delete
  13. Are you aware of any original dialog in the script that made reference to "Hughes Aircraft Company and the Glomar Explorer?" I seem to remember hearing that reference when I saw the film's LA premier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. \


      I can't speak with absolute certainty about the script but there was never a reference in the film ( and there never was another version THE THING before the monsterous TV edit )...

      Delete
  14. Interesting. The Thing is just about the best American Horror film ever made. Even so it's a shame we didn't get some of what was in the original script.

    ReplyDelete
  15. wow, a shovel death? that looks awesome.

    rob's work on this film is amazing. plus ennio and john's score nail it home.
    plus all the great actors. especially the dog. so creepy.

    i'm curious when the extra scenes for the tv version were filmed.
    or were they just scenes from the first cut ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies


    1. Yes, this is all footage from the first cut ( we had nothing to do with the TV edit, and refer to it as the MST3K version of the film ).

      Delete
  16. Excellent entry! Always a supreme pleasure to learn still more new details about the making of one of my favorite films of all time. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Probably my favorite film of all time. I read the original short story as a child, watched the Howard Hawks version many times (loved it) and then JC/Bill Lancaster took it to the pantheon. So close to perfect, across the board: music, cinematography, cast, art direction, effects. I've rented it and bought it on VHS, DVD and now Blu-ray. Even with all the advances in CG, no other "monster" movie can touch it. And the 2013 version - which borrows/steals shamelessly from JC's - is respectful enough of JC's version that I begrudginly gave it a thumbs up, too.
    Damn , I think I'll watch it again tonite! Thanks for this article!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have always thought I remembered a scene where MacReady is alone at the end and has blown up the camp. And before Childs finds him outside Mac wonders into the blown up room (with the bar) and sits down to get a drink. And someone walks up from behind and sits next to him and he looks at it. Then its cut to him (or is it him?) staggering outside collapsing, enter Childs and then credits.

    Please tell me I imagined this scene because I remember seeing it as a kid on a TV version.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You imagined this scene. You're welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for going into so much detail, most films have many stories and it is a great pity that they aren't properly recorded somewhere. You are showing how it can be done - even 30 years after production.

    I hope you have the chance to talk about the edit more specifically. You haven't used the word edit or editor so far!

    @Alex4D

    ReplyDelete

  21. Thanks for the kind words, and you are right. Johns editor, Todd Ramsay, was immensely influential in encouraging John to head down this path...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for this very interesting text. I know this movie very well, but all this was new to me. Thanks again !

    ReplyDelete
  23. I worked on the lot during the period and have a Lancaster studio script around here someplace - which was very very good, by the way, especially when compared'with many other scripts floating around at that time. I had no idea there was that much rethinking going on after shooting on the (refrigerated) lot sets had finally completed and the company shifted to Canada. But then the production was treated with quite a bit of secrecy at MCA/Universal. I too would be most interested in a comprehensive educational DVD release on the subject.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. The secrecy you speak of was self-imposed. There were to be no photographs of the monster taken while we were in production, a condition that frustrated the Studio later when it came time for promotion. This why there is very little visual material floating around today. This atmosphere also allowed John to sneak a few things under their radar...

      Delete
  24. Saw this a hundred times, but I'll always remember the theatrical release back in 1982, Fort Riley, Kansas on Custard Hill, snow on the ground and the theater staff left the air conditioning on the entire movie!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great article for one of the top three monster movies ever made. When Carpenter was on his game he was an epic talent.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow, thank you soo much for this! Lots of info!

    Linked on Sprawler: sprawler.tumblr.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Absolutley love this movie. I have found this article a fascinating inside on one of my all-time favourite movies and a great read.

    ReplyDelete
  28. The first version of the thing... Did I just dream that James Arness was the thing!?!?! Maybe not because I usually dream in black and white.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. That was no dream. James Arness was a giant carrot.

      Delete
  29. I believe John carpenter did an excellent job at his vision of The THING There are no rules in filmmaking..

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you very much for a fabulous and fascinating insight into my all-time favorite horror movie. The mark of a great film is that you can stand to watch it again and again without your enjoyment of it diminishing, and that's certainly true of this film. That's even more remarkable given this film relies on tension and paranoia so heavily; one might think that repeated viewings would suffer heavily from knowing what was about to happen, but for me the enjoyment - and the tension - has never wavered. The film works as well today on its twentieth viewing as it did on its first.

    It's also simply amazing to think that Rob Bottin's special effects from 1981 not only still hold up very strongly today, but are in fact still head and shoulders above most monster effects we've seen since! But of course at the end of the day, the greatest special effects in the world cannot make a film by themselves; a good script, good director and good editor are required for that, and The Thing had them in spades. I already rated John Carpenter highly before reading this article, but to learn how he had the courage, vision and skill to tear up a film he didn't feel was working and instead deliberately set about reconstructing it into what he wanted, to do it under such time constraints, and to ultimately produce the paragon of excellence that is the final film leaves me overflowing with admiration for the man.

    Thank you so much again Mr Cohen for sharing your wonderful insights and knowledge. This is the best thing I've read online in ages :-)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I will watch this movie with a new set of eyes the next time I watch it. Loved the back story.... Thanks for sharing this with us all...

    ReplyDelete
  32. FINALLY! After all these years, I have some confirmation.

    PLEASE don't take this the wrong way, but, I've always found THE THING lacking. Loved HALLOWEEN. Dug THE FOG and ESCAPE FROM NY. Was DYING to see Carpenter's take on the THE THING.

    Still, after having seen the film numerous times, including fairly recently in a theater, it never worked for me.

    And, Stuart has it here. It's actually his paraphrasing of what Carpenter said after viewing the rough assembly, " He had just seen a rough assembly of THE THING for the first time, and he wasn't happy. The movie didn't work. Lacking the location footage and many special effects he found the cut to be long, dull, and, above all, lacking in tension - his biggest fear. The early scenes with the men were endlessly repetitive and dragged on forever. Most of the byplay and humor fell flat. The film felt formless and just seemed to drift along, with no one character breaking out of the pack to drive the action..."

    THAT is precisely how I've always felt about the completed film. Still do, despite the reshoots and edits you so fully explain in the piece.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Really insightful--thanks for a great post. "The Thing" remains one of my favorite horror films, and I'm not generally a fan of creature-features. It's really interesting to have an insider's perspective on its production.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Jeg vil se denne filmen med et nytt sett med øyne neste gang jeg ser den. Elsket baksiden historien .... Takk for å dele dette med oss alle ...
    snekker fredrikstad
    or snekker moss

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. "Crazy Swedes!"

      R.J. MacReady

      Delete
  35. Yeah... One of my all time favorite Sci-Fi movies.
    Saw the original The Thing from Another World, and it scared the crap out of me.
    I was younger then.
    And then I saw John's version (wow).
    Repeated viewings don't diminish the film in any way
    And the effects in Carpenter's version are still stunning today. Timeless
    Films that stand up to repeat viewings is the marker for a Great Classic film

    Great post: Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  36. Great film, one of my faves, I watch it around once a year. Thanks for all the juicy details, really adds flavour to the making ofs I have seen.

    Later this year I am going to be lucky enough to travel to antarctica..... hope I don't meet Mac or Childs while I am there!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Awesome blog. Thanks!

    IS this the last entry, or will there be more?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There will be more, as well as some revision to earlier posts...

      Delete
  38. A testament to filmmakers who understand story and pacing (sadly lacking in way too many films today). Thank you for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Well this is the most awesome thing I've come across on the internet since ever. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Could I believe during all my life, haunted by what will stay my first and last cult-movie forever, since I discovered it as a challenge to see a restricted audience movie (as I was underaged in 1982 to enter the theater, indeed!) that I will more than thirty years later in position to say directly to Mr. Stuart Cohen himself: "MERCI, MONSIEUR!" ?!?
    Many thanks for having been the artisan of this great opus, presenting David Foster to John Carpenter first, and counting for us fans the details of this fabulous masterwork!
    Greetings from France!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I met David Foster in 1982 when he went on a nationwide tour to promote (in advance) The Thing. He came to New Orleans and we had a great chat. He was very high on the film. But when it opened that summer, he was devastated at the lack of box office. Of course, in retrospect, it seemed nuts that Universal would release two films about aliens coming to earth, one sweet and lovable (E.T.) and one evil and malignant (The Thing) within a few weeks of each other. I know, 'cause I worked at a theater showing E.T. which was packed every day for every showtime. Next door, The Thing played to a nearly empty house.

    A few months later, I went out to Los Angeles and David Foster was nice enough to meet with me. I asked him about The Thing and he went off on a rant about JC or as he called him then "F-ing John Carpenter". He told me that "He (Carpenter) f*cked up Lancaster's script. All he kept saying was "We had such a great script, such a great script…" Of course, years later on the Blu Ray/DVD documentary, he praises JC but trust me, back then, during the tumultuous days of a movie's release and the studio pressure to deliver a hit, he was less than enamored with Mr Carpenter. I remember this as if it were yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Stuart, happy anniversary! Are we going to get our annual June 25th posting update?

    Keeping the faith we'll get more of you recollections!

    BeAst WisheS - L

    ReplyDelete