From right to left : John, Myself, Production Manager Robert Brown, Associate Producer Larry Franco. The Juneau Ice Field. Location Scout April, 1981

Thursday, April 5, 2012


               The novelisation of THE THING was considered a publicity tool - Alan Dean Foster was hired by Universal's publicity department, as was the custom at that time, early in pre -production and it was they he reported to. He was given the latest copy of the script and sent off on his own. It was finished months before the film was, and therefore does not, understandably, reflect many of the changes that were made.

                    We played no role in its production, nor did we expect to. I don't believe any of us ever met or had any contact with Mr. Foster. None of us were aware of the finished product until it was published ( in time for copies to be sent to exhibitors in early April ). I don't mean to cast any aspersions on the quality of the writing, but to point out how things were done then - we were simply out of the loop. Any embellishments in the novel that are not directly taken from an early script are Mr. Foster's, and Mr. Foster's alone...


  1. My first contact with the Thing was actually by reading the novel at the age of 13 or 14, that I loved so much that I read it again right after I had finished it.

    When I first saw the movie, I was disappointed because, to me, Carpenter focuses too much on MacReady while in the novel, you were unsure who the hero was until later in the story, as the characters were all equally represented. Also, there was a lot more backstories which made me really care about all of them.

    So, the first time I saw the movie, I was disappointed but the more I watched it, the more I liked it as, even if we don't know a lot about each character, they still all have their distinct personality. It was a diffrent "vibe", but I ended loving the movie as much as the novel.

    However, I would still like to see someday another adaptation of the script with the "dogs chase" and "lights out" scenes reintroduced. To me, the lights out scene was one of my favorite scenes, along with the blood fridge scene and all the scenes involving the increasing paranoia of the characters.

    As usual, thanks a lot for all those exciting information and I'm going to read the script again to see what were the differences with the novel.

    1. I know where you are coming from. THE TERMINAL MAN is a pretty decent 70's thriller based on Michale Crichton's novel. I like it well enough, but if there is a big disappointment it is missing a scene from the book, where the Terminal Man is inside a hangar with all of the lights turned out, and the focus is on one of the characters on the wing of a small plane, knowing that the Terminal Man has heightened senses (due to wiring in his brain to stop rage inducing black outs; needless to say, it doesn't go as planned). All of it happening in the dark.

  2. Stuart; Yep, that's pretty much how it went down. I would have loved to have had more material to work with, but when a film is in production and in the process of constant change and revision, it's just never possible.
    I still prefer the original cover painting on the book to the later film tie-in version.

  3. Alan, even without all the material, you still manage to produce the best novelizations out there. Great work on Covenant and the original novel that followed.The scene with the Japanese CEO and cult at the end had me in tears.