Kurt Russell Basically Shoots Down That Theory On 'The Thing'

"Where were you, Childs?"
Universal Studios

Who is "The Thing"?

The question has given movie fans conniptions for years. At the end of John Carpenter's 1982 horror classic, we're left with two survivors, MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Childs (Keith David). They share a drink while their camp burns and we're just left wondering if one of them is actually a shape-shifting alien monster in disguise ... or are we?

One of the most popular theories on the ambiguous end says Childs is The Thing. After Childs, who has been gone for a mysteriously long time, returns to camp, MacReady offers him a drink. Fans suspect this drink is actually a test. Many believe Russell's character gave Childs a bottle of gasoline since he was using Molotov cocktails earlier. This would prove Childs was the Thing because the monster wouldn't know the difference between gasoline and alcohol, but Childs would. A Redditor explains:

When Childs sips [the drink] MacReady starts laughing, while Childs responds in kind. In some versions of this interpretation, MacReady still has his flamethrower hidden at the ready, while in others he's unarmed and too weak to fight so can do nothing but laugh as he realizes he's lost.

This theory appears to get even more support when the dark music starts up after Childs takes a drink.

So did Russell's character prove Childs was The Thing by tricking him into drinking gasoline? It seems to make a lot of sense, unless you ask Russell.

The Huffington Post spoke with the actor at the red carpet for his new movie, "The Hateful Eight." When asked about the theory, Russell shook his head before explaining why it may be missing the point.

"John Carpenter and I worked on the ending of that movie together a long time. We were both bringing the audience right back to square one. At the end of the day, that was the position these people were in. They just didn’t know anything," said Russell.

"They didn't know if they knew who they were, but had you seen all the things in the movie, you’ve heard MacReady say, 'I know I'm me,' Well, you either believe him or you don’t. And Childs -- you know, one of my favorite lines in the movie [is], 'Where were you, Childs?' And I think that basically says it all," explained Russell. He continued, "I love that, over the years, that movie has gotten its due because people were able to get past the horrificness of the monster -- because it was a horror movie -- but to see what the movie was about, which was paranoia."

"Hateful Eight" director Quentin Tarantino revealed in interviews that "The Thing" was a big part of the inspiration for his new film, and Russell also reflected on the similarities between the two movies.

"Quentin’s movie is about paranoia, too," he said, "It’s about being trapped and how things change in a room and how people begin to think different and hit the panic button or not. Where that paranoia comes from can be many, many, many different things. In the case of 'The Hateful Eight,' it comes from a lot of the different feelings that Civil War America offered at that time. I love the way Quentin deals with that matter," said Russell.

Interestingly, "The Hateful Eight" also has an element of suspicious drinks. Could this be a nod to the true nature of the beverage MacReady offers Childs? Or are we just being paranoid?

"The Hateful Eight" is in theaters now.

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