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The Thing was an extraterrestrial creature which survived the crash-landing of its spacecraft in the Arctic. The monster is the primary antagonist of the 1951 film The Thing from Another World and was portrayed by actor James Arness.

History

After its spacecraft crash lands in the Arctic, the creature emerges from its vessel and promptly freezes in the hostile conditions; only to be discovered shortly afterwards by a United States Air Force (USAF) expedition. They try to free the craft with thermite heat explosives, but in doing so accidentally destroy the craft. Crew Chief Sergeant Bob's geiger counter locates a tall body nearby, frozen in the ice. They excavate the body, preserving it in a large ice block and return to the research outpost as a major storm moves in. Feeling uneasy guarding the body, Corporal Barnes covers the ice block with a blanket, not realizing it is an electric blanket, and the creature thaws out, revives and escapes to the outside cold.

The creature wards off an attack by twelve sled dogs, and the scientists recover an arm, bitten off by the dogs. As the arm warms up, it ingests the blood from one of the dogs and begins to come back to life. They learn that, while appearing humanoid, the creature is in fact an advanced form of plant life. Dr. Arthur Carrington soon realizes that the creature requires blood to reproduce. He later discovers the hidden body of a sled dog, still warm, drained of blood, in the greenhouse. He has volunteers from his own team, Dr. Voorhees, Dr. Olsen and Dr. Auerbach, stand guard overnight, waiting for the creature's return. Later, the men find the bodies of Olsen and Auerbach, drained of blood. The creature returns and the USAF crew, after gunfire has no effect, trap it in the greenhouse.

The creature escapes and tries to break into another part of the camp. Following a suggestion from Nikki Nicholson, Capt. Patrick Hendry and his men set it alight with kerosene, causing it to flee into the night. Nikki notes that the temperature inside the station is dropping quickly, probably due to a cut fuel line. The cold forces the scientists and the airmen to make a final stand in the generator room. They rig a booby trap, hoping to electrocute the thing. As the creature advances on them, Carrington twice tries to save it, once by shutting off the power, and then by trying to reason with the creature directly. It throws him aside, before falling into the trap and being reduced to a smouldering husk. Its seedlings are also destroyed.

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