VANCE NORRIS’S DEATH: The Subtle Horror in John Carpenter’s THE THING

VANCE NORRIS’S DEATH: The Subtle Horror in John Carpenter’s THE THING

Think About It!

The truly horrific part of the famous AFib Paddles bursting through Vance’s Chest Sequence in John Carpenter’s THE THING, is NOT Vance Norris’s chest turning into a giant mouth full of jagged fangs and biting Dr. Copper’s hands off!

The truly horrific part, that lingers in your mind long after seeing the movie, until the true nature of The Thing becomes apparent, is that Vance is NOT a walking talking Thing Copy of himself before succumbing to a fake heart attack!

Vance is his own thinking speaking self, at least in his own skull, right up to the moment he collapses.

Charles Hallahan as Geologist Vance Norris in John Carpenter’s THE THING

He is Vance, the 100% Human Being, at least until that unknown and unseen earlier time when some supposedly tiny particles of The Thing infiltrated Vance’s body, and slowly grew and expanded inside him (no doubt duplicating tissue, organs, blood, etc. over minutes or hours) Without Vance Even Being Aware Of It, until he starts feeling chest pains, up to the point he loses consciousness and collapses.

Dr. Copper (Richard A. Dysart) tries to restart Vance’s heart with a pericardial thump

The Thing does NOT attack Vance and swallow him up and duplicate him from the Outside… it does it from the INSIDE! And not all at once, but slowly, and inexorably!

This means that all the other surviving members of Outpost 31 have to spend the rest of the movie, wondering in the backs of their own minds, if The Thing has already secretly infiltrated their own bodies, say from a single drop of blood flying through the air and landing on their skin, slowly, secretly, and inexorably spreading throughout their flesh…

Just imagine it… knowing that, without any warning, that at any moment, Your Own Body could suddenly spring to life, turning on you, betraying you, killing and consuming you, from the inside out

Surely this concept of internal infiltration is MUCH more horrifying than a large mouth biting off someone’s hands. 🥶