The mystery surrounding The Thing ending has finally been solved

Was the secret hiding in plain sight all along?

Has The Thing ending finally been explained
80s horror Kurt Russell in John Carpenter's The Thing. Image Picture Universal

John Carpenter’s The Thing stands as one of the greatest sci-fi horror movies ever made.

The Antarctic-set film, a remake of 1951’s The Thing from Another World, centred on an alien creature capable of shape-shifting and assuming the identity of humans.

The movie’s ending saw Kurt Russell’s RJ MacReady and Keith David’s Childs sat around a burning fire weighing up their chances of survival after the extra-terrestrial carnage.

For years the implication has been that Childs, who appears out of nowhere, is The Thing. That swig of gasoline in a whiskey he takes, while MacReady laughs to himself, seems to cement this theory.

Now a new piece of info has emerged, which seems to prove once and for all that MacReady is facing off against the alien in the film’s bleak finale.

The Thing ending has finally been explained
Horror classic Has The Thing ending finally been explained? Image Picture Universal

According to cinematographer Dean Cundey, he and Carpenter devised a lightning technique to show who was The Thing and who wasn’t.

“You’ll notice there’s always an eye light, we call it, a little gleam in the eye of the actor. It gives life,” he told moderator Rob Galuzzo on the commentary track for The Thing’s 2k Blu-ray release.

Did Carpenter deliberately use this for The Thing ending scene?

“That was discussed. Should one of these guys be treated as if one of them are ‘the thing?’ But no, John very deliberately wanted to leave the question of if one, or both, or neither of these guys is ‘the thing,” Cundey noted.

However, viewing that sequence again, as pointed out by Galluzzo on Blumhouse, you can see MacReady has the glint while Childs does not.

Watch The Thing ending below and see for yourself:

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn