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The Thing (also known as John Carpenter's The Thing) is a 1982 science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell.
The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a parasitic extraterrestrial lifeform that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. The Thing infiltrates an Antarctic research station, taking the appearance of the researchers that it absorbs, and paranoia occurs within the group.
Ostensibly a remake of the 1951 Howard Hawks--Christian Nyby film The Thing from Another World, Carpenter's film is in fact an adaptation more faithful in its premise and characters to the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. which inspired the 1951 film, and not a remake in the conventional sense.
Carpenter considers The Thing to be the first part of his Apocalypse Trilogy, followed by Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness. Although the films are unrelated, each features a potentially apocalyptic scenario; should "The Thing" ever reach civilization, it would be only a matter of time before it consumes humanity and takes over the Earth.
On June 25, 1982, The Thing opened #8 in 840 theaters and remained in the top ten box office for three weeks.
The lower-than-expected performance has been attributed to many factors, including Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which was released at the same time and features a more optimistic view of alien visitation. However, The Thing has gone on to gain a cult following with the release on home video.
The film was subsequently novelized in 1982; adapted into a comic book miniseries in 1991 and published by Dark Horse Comics titled, The Thing From Another World; a 2002 video game sequel titled The Thing, and a prequel film with the same title, released on October 14, 2011.