The Classic Sci-Fi Movie That Inspired The Hateful Eight

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino loves to pay homage to the films that shaped his own work, but none of his films do this quite as directly as "The Hateful Eight." The writer/director's 2015 revisionist western stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, and more in a nail-biting single-location thriller about a group of criminals and generally bad folks hunkering down together at a cabin during a terrible blizzard. The movie is incredibly theatrical, feeling more like a stage play than a feature film, but it's inspired by something much more out of this world. 

Paranoia, claustrophobia, and snow

That's right: Tarantino was inspired by John Carpenter's 1982 classic, "The Thing." In the video essay above, Kino highlights all the moments and visuals that Tarantino mirrored in his high-tension western. It's not a huge shock when you think about it: both films revolve around a paranoid group of strangers trapped in the snow, and they know that one of the people with them is secretly the enemy. In "The Thing," the enemy is a shape-shifting alien entity. In "The Hateful Eight," it's someone working undercover for captive criminal Daisy Domergue (Leigh). Kurt Russell appears in both films as well, though he plays very different characters. While he makes it to the end of "The Thing" and is ostensibly one of its heroes, his "Hateful Eight" analogue is either Goggins, or Jackson, who survive to the end of the film. And in both films, the "survivors" don't seem to have much longer to live.

Many of the gloriously gory deaths in "The Hateful Eight" are drawn pretty directly from "The Thing" as well, although no one's severed head grows legs and starts walking around. 

The sounds of Ennio Morricone

There's one other major link between "The Hateful Eight" and "The Thing," and that's the musical scores for both films. Both were scored by Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who had more than 400 film scores to his credit before his death in 2020. His score for "The Hateful Eight" was his first full Tarantino score (his work had been sampled in Tarantino's past films), and his first western score in 40 years. Morricone became famous for his work on the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, including his "Dollars" trilogy, so for many, his style of musicality automatically takes us to the Old West. His score for "The Thing" is an all-timer, however, and is one of the few Carpenter movies the filmmaker didn't score himself. Morricone's haunting sounds over the gorgeous visuals of "The Hateful Eight" evoke the film that inspired it while also creating something entirely new. 

Winter's the perfect time to check out both of these tales of cabin fever, mistrust, and brutal cold, so why not try a double feature and see how many similarities you can pick out yourself?