JOHN CAR­PEN­TER’S FAQ

Five di­rec­tors. Five ques­tions. Five an­swers

Empire (Australasia) - - Review -

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.

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