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There is something I always found odd about the soundtrack of John Carpenter's 1982 version of "The Thing". It has a very atmospheric and fitting subtle synthesizer soundtrack, which is indeed very Carpenter-like. But in fact the soundtrack for this movie wasn't made by John Carpenter himself (although he often does it), but by Ennio Morricone, another famous soundtrack composer, but one who I wouldn't bring into relation with such a soundtrack.

So why did such a famous soundtrack composer like Morricone make a soundtrack so atypical for him but in fact more typical for Carpenter, who indeed often makes the soundtracks for his movies himself? Is there some interesting back-story behind this oddity or was it just the usual business?

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I just watched the movie (again) yesterday and that was the first time i noticed it wasn't carpenter who did the soundtrack. Good question! –  matt_black Jan 24 '12 at 23:03
Excellent question. –  Nobby May 18 '12 at 1:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Carpenter found he was way too busy with filming The Thing (mostly due to the location shoot but also the post-production) and passed the duties off to someone else. He also stated that he really wanted to work with Morricone as he was a big fan.

As for why the soundtrack sounded much like his own, Morricone said he wanted to make it feel like it was a John Carpenter film. Carpenter went as far as to tell Morricone "not to do so many notes" and make it "simpler and spookier". After putting together some selections for Carpenter, he picked one that mostly resembled his own compositions and that became the basis for the main theme.


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Thanks for your answer. Especially the links were really informative. –  Napoleon Wilson Dec 8 '11 at 0:03

On a recent interview I saw with Carpenter he said that Universal would not allow him to do the soundtrack but he got a chance to work with Morricone who he was a huge fan of. It's a great testament to the skill of Morricone to create a score which really complimented the director.

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"he said that Universal would not allow him to do the soundtrack" - Thanks for the answer. Can you back this up somehow (maybe where did you see this interview, was it some documentary, or a live interview?), as that would be completely new information. –  Napoleon Wilson Feb 17 '14 at 9:46

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