The “Eye Shine Theory” isn’t new, but it can be a difficult concept to visualize, especially if you aren’t familiar with technical aspects of filmmaking like lighting.
At the conclusion of John Carpenter’s The Thing, MacReady and Childs collapse exhausted in the snow as the entire research facility burns around them. The lone survivors of an extraterrestrial massacre at Outpost 31 share a drink, eyeing each other suspiciously. While we’re pretty sure MacReady’s still human, there’s no way to be sure about Childs. And if Childs isn’t an extension of the titular Thing, there’s no way he can be sure MacReady isn’t.
It’s the perfect mind-bender of an ending, one that left fans debating the survivor’s ultimate fates for decades. And while we may never know if Childs or MacReady ever made it off the ice, we now have a way of knowing exactly who was infected.
Warning: Below There Be Spoilers!
A few years back, John Carpenter and his DP Dean Cundey used a lighting technique that reveals who was human, and who was an alien replica. Basically, it all boils down to the eyes. If you can see the whites of his eyes, he’s human; if his eyes are covered in shadow he’s become something else entirely.
If you need to visualize in order to truly understand certain concepts (like me) the folks at Flick Connection have released the video below: How to Know Who is The Thing! It breaks it down with clips from the film, making it clear that “The Eye Shine Theory” holds true. So, is Childs infected? Re-watch the movie and see for yourself! Or give the video below a spin!
Official Synopsis: Ever wonder how to know who the Thing is in John Carpenter’s The Thing 1982? Ther’e’s a simple trick you can use to always know who the thing is. The Thing ending explained nothing about who The Thing might actually be, if anyone, but this simple trick will reveal the meaning behind the end of The Thing. I’ll also give you a list of movies like The Thing in case you can’t get enough of this classic sci-fi horror movie.
This trick will spoil the movie so don’t watch the end if you’ve never seen The Thing. The first half of the video is dedicated to some special behind the scenes details that make watching The Thing even better. Later, I’ll share The Thing lighting trick that tips you off to who’s human and who’s the alien in the thing. Throughout The Thing light in the eyes tips you off to who’s human and who’s not. It’s a subtle trick and not one you’d likely notice on your own but once you notice it, you’ll never be able to unsee it.
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Official Synopsis: In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.
Related Article: It’s Drama, Not Gore, That Makes John Carpenter’s “The Things” a Terrifying Masterpiece