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The answer to The Thing's open ending may be in the actors' eyes

09.08.2016by: Cody Hamman

The Thing John Carpenter Kurt Russell

Fans have been trying to figure out the open ending of John Carpenter's classic THE THING ever since the film was released in 1982. Was MacReady (Kurt Russell) the thing? Was Childs (Keith David)? Were neither of them the thing? Every detail of the final scene shared by those two characters has been examined, leading to the formation of multiple theories.

On October 11th, Scream Factory will be giving THE THING a two-disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray release that is packed with bonus features, and one of those extras might hold the secret to figuring out the questions fans have had about the film's ending.

Legendary cinematographer Dean Cundey sat down to record an audio commentary for the Blu-ray, joined by moderator Rob Galluzzo of Icons of Fright and Blumhouse.com. During their conversation, Cundey reveals that there was a subtle lighting trick employed during filming to indicate which characters are their normal selves and which are the thing at key moments. As Cundey says, 

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."

The prime example of this is the blood test scene, in which the human characters have this little gleam in their eye, while the eyes of the man who turns out to be the thing are in shadow.

Which brings us to the ending, where Galluzzo suggests the answer to "Is one of these guys the thing?" may lie in the way their eyes are lit. Although Cundey says that they weren't trying to indicate that MacReady or Childs could be the thing in the final moments, wanting to leave that question up in the air, Galluzzo points out that MacReady does have a gleam in his eye during the scene, but Childs does not.

Galluzzo himself doesn't take this as the definitive answer, preferring a more optimistic outlook on the ending, and John Carpenter has outright stated that there is no definitive answer to be found in that scene. Personally, I have no interest in finding out an answer, I don't want to know what happens to MacReady and Childs after the credits roll. I like the ambiguity. But if some fans do want an answer, this could be the thing that confirms their hopes or fears.

The Thing John Carpenter Keith David

Extra Tidbit: Do you have a theory about the ending of THE THING?
Source: Blumhouse

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