Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Has the true meaning of the ending to The Thing been revealed?

A post went up on io9 today about a reddit user who may have revealed the meaning of the ending of John Carpenter's classic The Thing. If you haven't seen the movie then you should probably reevaluate your choices in life, or at least stop reading now because I'm going to be spoiling its awesome ending. Seriously though, you haven't seen The Thing? Come on, you can do better than that.

If you're still reading then I'm assuming you've seen The Thing and recall how at the end Kurt Russell and Keith David are left sipping whiskey and contemplating their assured demise, but it's unclear whether both of them are still human or not. The film ends on a totally awesome and characteristically ambiguous note with the audience left wondering, "Was one of them the thing at the end?" It's the perfect ending for a perfect movie (you can expect a post on this at some point), and one that has resonated with viewers since the film was released in 1982.

UNTIL NOW (maybe) [probably not]

reddit user kleinbl00 posted a comment on a discussion of The Thing describing a conversation with a friend of his about the movie. His friend claims to have worked for and talked to John Carpenter about The Thing, and well... Just check this out:
A friend of mine, back when he was an assistant, spent a great deal of time with John Carpenter doing interviews and the like for video games and comic projects. I was discussing my conversation with Larry Turman with this friend and he said 
"You know, I asked John Carpenter about The Thing." 
"Oh yeah? What did he say?" I asked. 
"He said he never understood where all the confusion came from. The last frame of The Thing is Kurt Russel and Keith David staring each other down, harshly backlit. It's completely, glaringly obvious that Kurt Russel is breathing and Keith David is not." 
I looked at my friend for a minute, soaking it in. Straight from the horse's mouth. 
"That's a pretty subtle cue to expect the audience to absorb having seen severed heads grow spider legs and run around," I said. 
"That's the genius of The Thing," my friend said, and we moved on to other subjects.
Holy. Freaking. Hannah.

Admittedly it's totally a "friend of a friend of mine"-type unsubstantiated anecdote that could be totally fabricated, but even then it'd still be a really cool take. It just makes me want to go back and watch The Thing again and do a frame-by-frame when I get to the final scene. It's also way too cool a story for me not to have shared here.

(reddit via io9)

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