The Thing About The Hateful Eight: John Carpenter’s Influence on Tarantino’s Latest

By  · Published on November 18th, 2016

A new video presents a side-by-side visual and narrative comparison.

It’s certainly no secret that when developing his most recent film, The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino was keeping another film in mind: John Carpenter’s The Thing. While it’s not odd that QT, master of the cinematic homage, would be drawing creative and narrative inspiration from elsewhere, it might seem a little odd to some folks that for a western Tarantino would choose to reference a sci-fi monster movie. But look at even the most basic comparisons: both are ensemble pieces (led by Kurt Russell) that take place largely in one room/compound in the middle of polar nowhere; both center on the themes of paranoia and mistrust; and both are violent as all get out. Makes a little more sense now, doesn’t it?

Beyond these surface similarities, Tarantino carried Carpenter’s inspiration past the script stage and into production, mirroring many of his shots with those by Carpenter and cinematographer Dean Cundey, especially in regards to casting the landscape as a character through various wide shots, slow, ominous pans, low, hazy, ice-blue-tinted lighting schemes, and shot-countershots with characters grimacing against the cold wind and snow like they were staring down an enemy.


In a new video essay from Kino, scenes from The Thing and The Hateful Eight have been gathered and placed side-by-side (technically top-to-bottom) to emphasize the connections between the two films both aesthetically and narratively. While it’s not the most direct homage of Tarantino’s career, it is perhaps the most inventive, as well as the most subtle. Russell and snow are dead giveaways, for sure, but instead of just copying The Thing’s style and content, Tarantino this time really dug into the essence of both films to link them thematically.

Naturally, there are spoilers galore here for The Thing and The Hateful Eight, so if you haven’t seen both you really shouldn’t proceed past this point until you have. If that’s the case, go ahead and have a chilly double feature then come back and see if you spotted the similarities before having them shown to you.

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