John Carpenter Says Only One Person Knows What Happens At The End Of ‘The Thing’

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the ending of John Carpenter’s The Thing.

John Carpenter’s The Thing — the film that could have starred Rick Dalton — has one of the great open endings. There are only two survivors of the shape-shifting alien beastie: Kurt Russell’s MacReady and Keith David’s Childs. The creature has been destroyed (probably) and the station — perhaps their only hope for survival — has been destroyed. One of them could have been infected by the titular “Thing.” Maybe both have been. Or maybe they’re both fine, minus the whole “probably freezing to death” part.

“If we’ve got any surprises for each other, I don’t think we’re in much shape to do anything about it,” MacReady tells Childs after he speculates that maybe he shouldn’t trust him.

“Well, what do we do?” Childs asks.

“Why don’t we just… wait here for a little while… see what happens?” MacReady replies.

End movie.

In the past cinematographer Dean Cundey says you can tell by the lighting who’s still human and who isn’t. MacReady, Cundey said, still has a human light in his eyes. Childs does not.

But in a new interview with, Carpenter — legendary filmmaker, possible Chevy Chase hater, and apparent Barbie skeptic — shot that theory down, saying Cundey “doesn’t know. He has no idea. He puts the lights up. He puts the lights up, and we were in the snow. He has no clue.”

Carpenter added, jokingly, “You tell him that. Tell him he’s full of sh-t.”

When asked if he, the director, knows, Carpenter replied, “Yes, I know. I know who’s the Thing and who’s not in the very end.” When asked if he wouldn’t mind telling the world, he said, “Nope … Cannot tell you. Sorry.”

And so, alas, fans of The Thing will just have to accept the ambiguity and keep living their lives.