The First Cut Of The Thing Was A Completely Different Film

John Carpenter's 1982 film "The Thing" is considered one of the best horror movies ever made. Notable for its intense practical effects and strong performances, the movie depicts a group of American researchers brought together by pilot MacReady (Kurt Russell) after discovering a parasitic alien has begun taking over their base. Most importantly, however, it is arguably one of the best displays of a Lovecraftian descent into madness put on film.

However, the movie didn't always have such a warm reception. In fact, "The Thing" was plagued by production woes and critical lashings leading up to its release. From being unable to transport a prop spaceship to the set to a messy body cavity, there is no shortage of interesting anecdotes and facts for horror fans to learn about this movie.

However, the movie that audiences grew to love was not always the one envisioned. In fact, the film's original cut was set to differ from what we now consider one of the greatest sci-fi horror movies of all time, and it was all thanks to an Alaskan Malamute.

Gone to the dogs

In 2011, "The Thing" producer Stuart Cohen began a Blogspot account titled "The Original Fan." For the next two years, he would post blogs about the movie's production from nearly all aspects — posts about Ennio Morricone's score, camera problems, and the movie's iconic practical effects are among those you can read on "The Original Fan."

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that Cohen spilled some secrets about the film's editing process. However, one particular scene ended up changing the entire movie for the better.

"[Carpenter] said the movie came to life for the first time during The Kennel," wrote Cohen in a 2013 blog post, "then lapsed into passivity until the next effects scene, which was then the Norris (David Clennon) transformation. And for a film that was trying to lay down its' marker as a state-of-the-art monster movie, I remember John saying it was 'a long time between monsters.'"

While more underrated than, say, the buggy transformation of Norris, the kennel sequence gives the audience a clear indication that the titular creature is not here to mess around. The dog-thing itself is such a terrifying creature that it might be easy to forget that it's a hand puppet (via The Stan Winston School of Character Arts). Thanks to the harrowing kennel sequence and how long it took to get from one creature scene to another, Cohen says Carpenter began cutting out superfluous scenes.

On the cutting room floor

By going over the scenes that weren't critical to advance the movie, Carpenter made "The Thing" more bloody and fast-paced than it was initially meant to be. Among the scenes completely cut out included MacReady handling a blow-up sex doll and mechanic Childs (Keith David) tending to a marijuana plant, which Cohen says was called his "magic garden." Two death scenes also became bloodier in reshoots: meteorologist Bennings (Peter Maloney) was supposed to have been stabbed by a screwdriver, while a shovel initially impaled biologist Fuchs (Joel Polis). Both characters ended up becoming assimilated with the Thing after Carpenter's edits. The complete list of altered scenes is lengthy, and simply summarizing them in one post does not do Cohen's blog justice. However, one thing is certainly clear: "The Thing" could have been a very different movie if Carpenter didn't want more monster action between the kennel scene and the infamous transformation of Norris. Talk about a good dog!

Having seen the final version of the movie, these changes helped it significantly. Don't get me wrong; a slow-burn reveal of the Thing would have still been cool. That being said, it is a little sad that two gruesome deaths in a movie known for gruesome deaths almost didn't happen. Carpenter ultimately improved "The Thing" with these changes, and we can't thank the good boys that assimilated in the kennel enough.