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The paranoia and uncertainty in John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) is so well constructed that there is still no consensus on who gets infected, or even when some people do. The thing I really like about it is that the creators may not have actually had a definitive answer in mind themselves, but we should be able to interpret the most likely sequence of events using in-world and real-world logic. The FAQs at this fansite and IMDB do a great job of presenting some theories and explanations. The thing is, the question-answer format makes it a bit hard to follow the events as the movie unfolds.

Are there any timelines available (or could they be made) that chart the different theories of the infection spreading through the crew? For when I inevitably watch the film again.

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The infected timeline is an attempt to put answers where something can't and shouldn't be answered. This is what horrifies the viewer. Carpenter did a great job on playing with your paranoia. In some parts of the film, it appears that even the infected may not know they are infected until they are in close proximity with or alone with another to be infected, or are injured and must react (like in the blood tests). Perfect imitation and the camera not always on all members is what makes it impossible to answer, thus more fun. –  BB Stacker Dec 13 '12 at 12:48

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Been searching and found this timeline picking up on a lot of timeline objects, but not specific to infections.

Also, this Two-part infection timeline analysis might be the closest thing you get to a timeline chart to this movie.

Best of luck :]

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Thanks for the links. I had found the first but I didn't realise Rob Ager had something on it. His work is always really good. –  Verge Feb 3 '12 at 11:26

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