JOHN CARPENTER’S FAQ
Five directors. Five questions. Five answers
CORIN HARDY: Which single moment in The Thing are you most proud of and why?
I don’t know if there’s a single moment. I’m proudest of the blood-test scene, but that’s not a moment. I would say, rarely in movies is there a single moment of anything. Movies are a stream of images, you cut them together into a whole, so I don’t know that there’s ever any one moment that I’m proud of. That’s a cheesy answer, but it’s the one I’m gonna give.
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE: Is your work in horror inspired by your own inner fears, or the joy that comes from instilling fear in others? More to the point, what scares you?
I’m scared of the same things everybody’s scared of. Death, loss of a loved one, disfigurement, loneliness. It’s always the same in every culture. But I think I make horror movies because I loved them in my youth. I loved the darkness of them, what they did. There’s something about them that I loved. When I was a kid I was scared of everything. But I’m less scared now.
MATTHEW HOLNESS: With the exception of Macready, the male characters are realistic and unheroic. Was there studio pressure to reduce the numbers of the cast and make them more heroic?
No, there was never any studio pressure to do anything. I couldn’t believe it, it was great. They said, “Go and make your film.” It’s a big cast. It was a little intimidating, but when you have actors this good who can bring their own characters to life, I wasn’t worried. It was great working with them. They made the movie what it is.
BEN WHEATLEY: Did you have any contact with Howard Hawks or Christian Nyby about either Thing?
Not really. When I was in film school, Hawks came and spoke to my class. I met him then and talked to him about the original film but not in terms of this production. I don’t remember what I said, but he was a very impressive guy.
NEIL MARSHALL: There’s an early publicity still that shows someone sticking a screwdriver into Bennings’ (Peter Maloney) ear outside the dog kennels. What the hell was going on there?
That was a scene I shot, sort of as an experiment, just to see how it would fit in the movie. It was nothing we ever used. It was a murder scene, Bennings’ murder, and it was a different way than he dies now. I just wanted to try it out. It didn’t work because it was too human a situation. It wasn’t alien enough. It was too much of
Michael Myers. I thought, “We’re not going to do this.” Finally, we set him on fire.