John Carpenter Might Not Have Made The Thing If It Weren’t For Howard Hawks

Hawks’ work has been cited as an inspiration by some of the most prolific directors of all time, including Martin Scorsese. It’s no wonder that his work also made an impact on John Carpenter, who believed him to be a true master of his craft, according to an interview.

“Howard Hawks was the kind of ultimate hero, to me. And I saw his movies as a kid, but I wasn’t familiar with some of the older ones and the scope of his work until I went to film school at USC… …Howard Hawks is invisible. You don’t really understand what he’s doing when he does his technique and works it on you. And you think you’re just watching a movie and watching the actors, and in reality you’re watching a master at work.”

According to Carpenter, a Hawks movie that particularly impacted him was one he saw as a child, “The Thing from Another World.” The movie terrified him as a kid, and even from the title it’s obvious how it likely influenced “The Thing.”

Despite its lack of initial success, “The Thing” may be Carpenter’s greatest work as a director. It is horrifying and impactful, beautifully shot and directed. The ending, which is at once ambiguous and completely fatalistic, is beautiful and thought-provoking (this is ignoring the fact that he almost used another, worse ending). If you, like many, love “The Thing,” then we all owe Howard Hawks a debt of gratitude for inspiring it.

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