Unused practical FX footage emerges from 2011’s The Thing

Ever wondered what the pre-CG effects in 2011's The Thing prequel may have looked like? Here's a brief sample from an unused ending...

“Well, the initial plan – slightly naïve, maybe – was to build everything practically,” director Matthias van Heijningen Jr told this very site in a 2012 interview about his prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing. “Although we shot the film practically, at the end of the day, it didn’t hold up. It looked a bit like an 80s movie, actually, which for some people is really special, but perhaps not in 2010, 2011. So we enhanced it with CG.”

Already greeted with much criticism before it was even released, The Thing was neither a critical nor financial hit when it scuttled into cinemas back into 2011. Although we won’t go into the relative merits of the film here (we’ve often said it’s not as a bad a movie as its 36 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes might suggest), we’ve often wondered what those originally shot practical effects would have looked like.

Although the director suggested they “didn’t hold up”, we’re wondering if he’s being a little disingenuous – the practical effects displayed in the clip below look wonderfully gooey to us. As captured by Amalgamated Dynamics, the company who provided the numerous animatronic creatures for the film, the footage provides a glimpse of an alternate ending which, so far as we’re aware, has never been officially shown.

In it, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character (and the audience) learns that the creature which attacked her Norwegian camp wasn’t the pilot of the spacecraft found earlier in the film, but a specimen which killed and imitated the craft’s original crew. Below, we get a rare look at this previously unseen alien pilot, which was replaced (if memory serves) by a computer-generated oddity made of rapidly-shifting cubes. Personally, we prefer the animatronic pilot – but you can leave your thoughts in the comments.

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If you’re interested, Amalgamated Dynamics have some fantastic images and videos from The Thing and their other projects (not least the classic Starship Troopers) over on their Facebook page – it’s well worth a look.

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