➊ A 12-chapter version of John W. Campbell Jr.’s novella Who Goes There? was first published in the August 1938 edition of Astounding Science Fiction magazine. In 2018, his unpublished manuscript Frozen Hell, from which the author adapted his novella, was discovered in a box of manuscripts at Harvard University by author and biographer Alec Nevala-Le. A Kickstarter campaign led to publication of the full novel in June 2019.
➋ Setting up a classic exchange of dialogue, Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) explains the vegetal nature of the alien beast in The Thing from Another World (1951) to an assembled team of scientists and military personnel. Reporter Ned Scott (Douglas Spencer) interjects, “Please doctor, I’ve got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you’re describing some form of super carrot.”
Carrington: “That’s nearly right, Mr. Scott. This carrot, as you call it, has constructed an aircraft capable of flying millions of miles, propelled by a force as yet unknown to us.”
Scott: “An intellectual carrot. The mind boggles.”
➌ Director John Carpenter first paid homage to The Thing from Another World in his 1978 slasher Halloween. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the film’s protagonist, is watching it on television on Halloween night while babysitting, unaware that her stalker, Michael Myers (Tony Moran), is lying in wait outside. Carpenter would later direct 1982’s The Thing, a film for which director Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) was originally considered.
➍ Nothing says “welcome home” like a good old sci-fi/horror movie marathon. Every year, the actual crew based at Antarctica’s South Pole Telescope inaugurate the changeover to winter staff with a back-to-back viewing of The Thing from Another World, The Thing, and the prequel to the 1982 film, also titled The Thing (2011). The films’ settings mirror their own, and some might say they’re tempting fate, knowing they’ll be isolated like the characters onscreen for months at a time.
➎ Universal Pictures canceled a multi-picture deal with director John Carpenter after The Thing received mostly negative reviews from critics on its release. Vincent Canby of the New York Times said the effects were “too phony-looking to be disgusting,” and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times noted that the story was derivative, having been better executed in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and in the original 1951 film. He suggested that there was no good reason to see it “unless you are interested in what the Thing might look like while starting from anonymous greasy organs extruding giant crab legs and transmuting itself into a dog.” But he added, “Amazingly, I’ll bet that thousands, if not millions, of moviegoers are interested in seeing just that.” And he was right. The Thing went on to achieve cult status among horror fans and is now considered a classic, like the original, in its own right. And it’s often cited as one of Carpenter’s best films.