Episode 59. In Plain Sight: The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter’s terrifying cult classic stands the test of time in many regards – from the practical effects, to the performances to the storytelling, there’s little about the film that doesn’t work. Andrea and Alex tackle the film and its stances on leadership, paranoia, the notion of discovery, and more over a bottle of Jim Beam.

REQUIRED READING

The Thing. Dir. John Carpenter, 1982.

EXTRA CREDIT

Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present by Robin R. Means Coleman. An in-depth look at Black culture and representation through the lens of horror films.

Aids as Monster in Science Fiction by Edward Guerrero.

Filmnoia, or How Fear Permeated Cinema. George Wead’s history of perception and paranoia in North American films.

You Must Remember This podcast – the Blacklist series.

The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 board game. Can you survive the infection?

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2 thoughts on “Episode 59. In Plain Sight: The Thing (1982)

  1. Steve Madrid says:

    Love the podcast, ladies! AS far as The Thing being an AIDS allegory, I’m not sure I completely agree. As a heterosexual male coming of age in the 80’s, AIDS was mostly considered a problem for the “gay community,” not something straight teens had to worry about. My friends and I were more concerned with an unwanted pregnancy than STDs. I will say that AIDS became part of my consciousness in the early 90’s with the Magic Johnson diagnosis. Even with Johnson’s positive diagnosis, most people speculated that Johnson was most likely a closeted gay man, rather than a heterosexual man with AIDS.

    I do agree that you can retroactively apply the AIDS allegory to The Thing, but it wasn’t until I saw Blade that I feel a mainstream horror/sci-fi/action movie even attempted to deal with the AIDS issue. Even in Blade, AIDS is only implied in passing. That said, there is definitely a strong fear of infection in Carpenter’s film. This fear of infection would continue to manifest in films like 28 Days Later.

    Just my opinion. Keep up the good work!

  2. Marc McAuley says:

    Amazing podcast! When I was first told about your show, this was the newest episode, and I put off listening as I obviously wanted to listen through the back log, which has all been incredible.

    The analysis on this film was really refreshing to hear, as most of the conversation that I’ve been involved with has been quite male-dominated, and your takes have introduced concepts and other writers I wouldn’t have heard of before.

    I wanted to throw a hat in the ring of “Childs and MacReady” theories at the end, one a friend pitched to me after we watched at a film theatre screening, and ties into what you were saying about things that call back to earlier scenes being more satisfying; the theory is that through the movie, the wardrobe informs the viewer who has been infected. During the film, the characters never really change clothes, other than putting on their cold weather gear, and a large plot point is how the clothes of someone infected are found shredded: The Thing tries to sow paranoia by finding and destroying some of MacReady’s clothes. So, extrapolating from this, the last time we see Childs before the final scene, he is wearing a dark blue parka, but when he show up after the encounter, his parka is a light beige.

    Still just a theory, but one I think ties in with the earlier plot point of the torn longjohns.

    Keep up the great work, I look forward to more great episodes in the future!

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