During the winter of 1982, a group of Norwegians chased a shape-shifting extraterrestrial organism (imitating an Alaskan Malamute) from their ruined research station to U.S. Outpost 31. The dog runs to the station's American crew, pawing and licking at Bennings. After his warnings fail to be understood, the armed Norwegian shoots at the dog, grazing the researcher, who drops to the ground clutching his wounded leg. The Norwegian is subsequently shot dead by Garry, who mistakes his actions for hostility, and the Dog-Thing is adopted by the ignorant crew. After being stitched-up by Dr. Copper and pouring himself a drink, Bennings retires to his living quarters; complaining to Nauls over the intercom when the cook's music prevents him from sleeping.
Several hours later, as evening fell, Copper and helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady return from their investigation of the Norwegian camp with the charred remains of a split-faced creature - which all present, including Bennings, stare at in disgust. As the creature is autopsied, Bennings, Norris and Garry play a game of poker in the rec room. He is startled by the dog brushing past his leg under the table and requests that the station's Dog Handler, Clark, put it into the kennel. During the night, he is alerted to a disturbance in the kennels and rushes to wake the other men; informing Childs that MacReady requested the flamethrower. Returning to the kennels with the men, he witnesses the dog-thing assimilating the outpost's sled dogs. After the creature is incinerated and tests are performed, Dr. Copper decides to lock the remains in a storage room. Bennings and Windows move the Things to the store and the researcher is left alone to collect his gear from the room - whereupon the creature ensnares him with tentacles. The Bennings-Thing is discovered mid-assimilation and is burned.
- Witnessing the Bennings-Thing, a confused Garry remarks to MacReady that he has been friends with Bennings for ten years.
- Unlike the film, the script and the novelization both had a different death scene planned for Bennings which was never shot due to constraints on time and money, which would have seen him dragged under a sheet of ice while working alongside Mac and Childs to keep the remaining dogs (who would have been assimilated by the thing) from reaching the coast.
- In the short story on which The Thing is based (Who Goes There?) he is called Benning and his final fate is never shown.
- Bennings original death in the film was with a screwdriver in the neck by an unknown killer next to the kennels