John Carpenter Hid His Love For The Thing In The Halloween Franchise

John Carpenter's "The Thing" is a heady, psychological science-fiction thriller about a group of scientists who find themselves trapped at an arctic research base with a shapeshifting alien that is slowly consuming and impersonating every member of their crew. Carpenter's version is based on the 1938 novella written by John W. Campbell Jr. titled, "Who Goes There?," as well as the 1951 film adaptation, "The Thing from Another World." At the time of its release, "The Thing" was largely criticized for its dark tone which was in stark contrast to the other alien-centered film also making the rounds in theaters at the time: Steven Spielberg's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." But even though audiences and critics weren't quite ready to be assimilated into the frigid atmosphere of Carpenter's film just yet, eventually "The Thing" found its fans, and it is now largely considered to be one of Carpenter's best creations.

"The Thing" was released in theaters in June of 1982, but Carpenter had actually been thinking about the story a few years prior. In fact, a subtle nod to the eventual film can be found in another one of Carpenter's famous works: his 1978 sensation "Halloween."

A hint of assimilation

In 1976, before Carpenter started work on "Halloween," he was considered to adapt "The Thing" for Universal Studios. However, because he was still largely an independent filmmaker, he was eventually passed up for another horror director, the fabulous Tobe Hooper. Hooper had recently shocked audiences with his film, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" about a depraved family and their homicidal tendencies, so he was the obvious option for this new retelling of "The Thing." However, the producers changed their minds about Hooper and eventually shelved the project until further notice.

When it came time for Carpenter to start filming "Halloween," it's clear that he still had "The Thing" on the brain. In the film, when darkness eventually falls on the town of Haddonfield, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Tommy (Brian Andrews) settle in to watch none other than "The Thing from Another World." Shots of the film's opening footage are shown on the television, and the movie continues to play across the street where young Lindsey (Kyle Richards) is engrossed in the frigid atmosphere of the 1951 adaptation while her babysitter Annie (Nancy Kyes) gets locked in the laundry house. Even though Carpenter had been turned down to direct a remake, just by including some of the story's original source material in his new movie shows that he was still contemplating the adaptation. 

Thankfully, Universal Studios eventually circled back to Carpenter and gave him the green light to direct the new retelling. According to Carpenter, he was hesitant at first — he felt the 1951 version would be hard to outdo — but he eventually agreed to take on the project after reading the original novella. And it's a good thing too because his 1982 version starring Kurt Russell and Keith David is perhaps the best version of the story.