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John Carpenter doesn’t regret The Thing, even though it cost him work

John Carpenter's made some of the best horror movies of all time yet his greatest work, The Thing, cost him directing jobs, but here's why he doesn't regret it

John Carpenter doesn't regret The Thing, even though it cost him work

John Carpenter has made some truly great films, but arguably one of his best movies is 1982’s The Thing. If you’ve not seen it, The Thing is a tense and taught science fiction movie about a shape-shifting alien. It’s a paranoid thriller more than an alien movie, and honestly, it’s a masterpiece.

However, that’s a rather contemporary opinion. When the thriller movie was released in the ’80s, it was received rather negatively by filmgoers and movie critics alike, who hated its bleak ending. It also definitely didn’t help that the film had the bad luck of opening around the same time as the Steven Spielberg movie ET was in theatres.

All of this led to The Thing flopping at the box office, and it actually damaged Carpenter’s reputation in Hollywood. Still, the veteran horror movie maker didn’t care and still doesn’t because he knew what history would later prove, that The Thing was brilliant.

“[The Thing] was my first studio film, and it was pretty great, Carpenter told Variety. “You get a lot of stuff that you didn’t have as an independent. It was just incredible that way, and the studio was very nice to me throughout shooting.”

Unfortunately, as the production went on and the studio saw the first cut, it stopped being “very nice”. “The movie was finished, but all of a sudden nobody liked the ending… So then they were on me pretty bad to change it.”

However, Carpenter stuck to his guns and didn’t change the film’s bleak ending. “The movie was about the end of everything right from the start,” he explained.”

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“So my cut went out, and it was great,” he continued. “Then the movie was attacked like nobody’s business. The fans hated it because the original Thing is kind of a beloved movie. I love the original Thing. So I lost a job because of it, got fired off a movie because it didn’t make enough money.”

For years people thought of The Thing as a cursed movie, but over time it built up a reputation as a cult movie and was eventually recognised as one of the greatest films ever made. How does Carpenter feel about that decision? Well, he’s happy he never compromised his vision.

If you love Carpenter’s work, check out our article on his most famous creation Michael Myers. We also have a breakdown of how to watch the surprisingly confusing Halloween movies in order. If that’s not enough, we’ve also got a guide to all the new movies coming in 2023.