After only 34 years, it seems that the ending to John Carpenter’s The Thing might actually have an explanation. If you look hard enough. With an electron microscope.
In a commentary put together for the movie’s super-hi-def 2K Blu-Ray release next week, cinematographer Dean Cundey reveals a seemingly insignificant detail that could potentially put to bed once and for all whether the two survivors were indeed alien replacements at the end of the film. Cundey – also a veteran of films such as Jurassic Park, Apollo 13 and Carpenter’s own Big Trouble in Little China – is interviewed by Rob Galluzo on the commentary. Galluzo has this to say:
” Early on in the commentary track, I asked Cundey if he and John discussed doing a subtle lighting trick to imply who might be “the thing.” He waited until the blood scene to answer my question. As the scene began, he explained, ‘So we were looking for some kind of a subtle way, to say which one of these (men) might be human. You’ll notice there’s always an eye light, we call it, a little gleam in the eye of the actor. It gives life.’ ”
So, the answer is that there’s a reflected light in the eye of anyone who isn’t assimilated. A glint, if you like. But trying to see it on a TV, even one with 2K capability, is going to be problematic at best. Some people have noted that at the end, with Childs and MacReady facing a freezing death, Childs seems to have something to hide. Maybe the best thing to do would be to re-release it for IMAX, that way we’ll know for certain.
Just an idea. C’mon John, you know you want to…
The Thing – Collector’s Edition is released on 11 October 2016.