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Celebrate 40 years of “THE THING” with THINGNATION, coming June 25

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 | Exclusives


Released in 1982, John Carpenter‘s remake of Howard Hawks‘ and Christian Nyby’s The Thing From Another World was initially met with lackluster box office and largely negative reviews. Not ready for the Halloween director’s violent brand of nihilism, audiences in the early ’80s preferred their alien visitors of the cute and cuddly variety, as E.T. The Extraterrestrial held the world in a  Spielbergian stranglehold. Four decades later, The Thing, the first part of Carpenter’s thematically-connected “apocalypse trilogy,” is universally acknowledged as one of the best films of its type by fans and critics alike. Featuring stellar performances from an ensemble cast led by Kurt Russell, nauseatingly graphic special makeup effects created and designed by Rob Bottin, and the brilliant, nerve-shattering suspense of Carpenter’s direction, The Thing is a perfect horror film that continues to add to its legion of devoted fans into the 21st century.

On June 25, the date of the film’s 1982 premiere, The Thing will return to the big screen for a one-night 40th-anniversary screening at Vaughn, Ontario’s Cineplex Theater (aka. “the Colossus,” the theater was chosen for its unique “flying saucer” design). However, Carpenter’s alien shapeshifter isn’t coming alone this time. Joe Hart, the mastermind behind the event, is bringing his amazing collection of Thing memorabilia and props, along with some surprises, for a special presentation.

Hart, whose interest in horror and sci-fi was sparked by a series of real-life paranormal encounters and UFO sightings, began his extensive Thing collection with an original Rob Bottin crew jacket he purchased from the legendary Bob Burns. His collection has since swelled to include countless pieces ranging from foreign one-sheets to scripts to actual props from the film. In the past few decades, Hart has been touring his collection as a guest at such genre events as Days of the Dead. “I have every single poster that was ever made for the film. I have Blu-ray, every VHS, just about every single thing, no pun intended, you can get,” says Hart. 

According to Hart, the crown jewel of his collection is Keith David‘s screen-used blue parka that he procured from Von Babasin, a member of Bottin’s The Thing effects crew. A true artifact, the parka nearly did not survive the shoot.  “When [special effects man] Roy Arbogast was blowing up the set, at the end sequence of the film, Von saw the jackets that were going to be torched,” Hart explains. “So after Keith [David] would do his scenes, he would hang up the wardrobe … Von grabbed it as a keepsake, not knowing that it was Keith David’s actual jacket. Von had it for 35 years. I asked him if he would be inclined to sell it. I have a huge collection … I’d like to show it to fans who love the film. He said, ‘Absolutely.’  We came to an agreement, and the rest is history.”

In addition to Hart’s collection, The Thing‘s cinematographer, Dean Cundey, and special effects crew member Von Babasin will be sharing pre-recorded Zoom presentations made especially for the event.  

For tickets and more information about Joe Hart’s ThingNation, click here. Special thanks to Joe Hart and Cineplex’s director of communications, Melissa Pressacco, for their gracious assistance in writing this feature.

William J. Wright
William J. Wright is RUE MORGUE's online managing editor. A two-time Rondo Classic Horror Award nominee and an active member of the Horror Writers Association, William is lifelong lover of the weird and macabre. His work has appeared in many popular (and a few unpopular) publications dedicated to horror and cult film. William earned a bachelor of arts degree from East Tennessee State University in 1998, majoring in English with a minor in Film Studies. He helped establish ETSU's Film Studies minor with professor and film scholar Mary Hurd and was the program's first graduate. He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife, three sons and a recalcitrant cat.