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The People Under the Stairs

Scream 6

The Covenant

So I Married An Axe Murderer

To Live and Die in L.A

The Burning

Thing, The


  • US TV-Version
  • Theatrical Version
Release: Oct 10, 2019 - Author: GKnoess - Translator: Asphyxia - external link: IMDB
The Syndicate- respectively Network-TV Broadcast Version (US TV Version) from Universal was compared with the uncut theatrical version from Universal.
Both are included on the US Blu-ray Collector's Edition from Scream Factory. This Blu-ray was used for the following comparison, but both versions can also be found on the German Blu-ray set from Turbine.

The US Collector's Edition offers a bunch of additional material and a new 2K sampling of the interpositive material. The picture quality of the theatrical version is outstanding. Even a bit better is only the 4K-scanning one year later from Arrow Video, which also formed the basis for the German Blu-ray-Set from Turbine available since 28 March 2019. The syndicate version, on the other hand, is only available in SD format in the bonus material section on the US Blu-ray and was also released by Turbine as a curious extra on the German Deluxe Edition. As a matter of fact, the source material was obviously a VHS recording.

While the theatrical version is available in widescreen format, the syndicate version for TV broadcasting was converted to 4:3 full-screen format at the time. Many important picture contents were lost in this way.

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

The present Syndicate version was interesting for a cut report from several points of view. On the one hand, the US TV versions often deviate from the theatrical version. In addition to many reductions in violence and action, it often happens that gaps created in this way are closed again by alternative material. Due to the high violence factor of The Thing this was to be expected.

John Carpenter has made numerous changes and adjustments to The Thing even in scenes already shot. Here are to mention in particular the already shot (deviant!) killings of Bennings and Fuchs as well as the "Baby-Doll"- and greenhouse scenes, which are documented on photos and lobby cards but were not included as deleted scenes in previous releases of the film.

Examples of documented deleted scenes:

MacReady sits in a shirt with a striking ethno pattern in front of the chess computer. Behind him hangs an advertising poster for the city of Cairo. In front of him are two (!) filled glasses of whiskey.

Copper and MacReady find another dead Norwegian researcher hanging upside down in a cupboard at the Norwegian station.

MacReady plays with an inflatable sex doll while watching the video footage from the Norwegian station in his hut.

Bennings was stabbed to death with a screwdriver in a first, finished version in the dog kennel by a stranger.

Palmer and Childs search for fox in the former greenhouse of the station ...

... and find him impaled with a shovel on a door of the greenhouse.

Nauls and MacReady search MacReady's cabin after finding Fuchs' burned body.

It was therefore interesting to see if any of this deleted material found its way back into the film within the syndicate version.

Another aspect that made the syndicate version interesting for a cut report was Scream Factory's announcement that this version would contain an alternative ending. Since John Carpenter had directed a total of three different endings for the theatrical version, but only showed two of them to a test audience at all, it was interesting to know what the alternative ending contained here shows.

Would one learn more about Childs' and MacReady's fate? After all, the third (never shown) alternative ending contained a shot of MacReady waiting for his death in the burned station, who was found just in time by the rescue team and subjected to a blood test. So he probably would have survived. This ending was shot by John Carpenter in case the producers would force him to change his preferred nihilistic end towards a positive one. Only a production photo of this ending is circulating, proving that the end was actually shot.

In the second alternative ending, discarded after the test screening, Childs was completely removed in the last scene. He would have been - like Nauls - a victim of the thing.

After viewing the material one has to note that the existing expectations were only partially fulfilled. So the syndicate version actually contains material from the original killing scene of Bennings and also numerous extended dialogue scenes (e.g. autopsy), but you don't get to know anymore about the fate of Fuchs or MacReady and Childs. The alternative ending does not correspond to any of the alternatives shot by Carpenter. Rather, it was compiled by Universal from unused archive material from the hunting scene with the helicopter and a warning appeal from a commentator himself. John Carpenter later said that this was probably the revenge of Sidney Sheinberg, the studio boss at the time, for Carpenter's failure to consider some of his creative proposals for the theatrical version, including a more optimistic ending. With the syndicate version he finally achieved this against Carpenter's will.

The syndicate version of "The Thing" is therefore only interesting for fans of the film and completeists.

Runtime of the syndicate version (subsequently titled SV): 93:45 minutes
Runtime of the uncut theatrical version (subsequently titled KF): 108:40 minutes

201 cuts and changes = 14 minutes and 55 Sec
1 of 2
US TV-Version 0:00 to 0:44
Theatrical Version 0:00 to 01:23
The intro runs much faster in the US TV-Version than in the Theatrical Version.
49 Sec

US TV-Version 0:43
In the US TV-Version, Ennio Morricone's Score starts significantly later with the insertion "Directed by John Carpenter".
No difference in time

US TV-Version 01:30
Theatrical Version 02:08
A narrator reads the text board "Antarctica, Winter 1982" off-screen.
No difference in time

US TV-Version 02:43 to 02:46
Theatrical Version 03:22
Only in US TV-Version: The helicopter can be seen much longer.
+3 Sec

US TV-Version 03:57 to 04:07
Theatrical Version 04:32 to 04:42
Reverse order: While in the Theatrical Version the sign "United States National Science Institute Station 4" is shown first and then a total of the research station is shown, in the US TV-Version the total of the station is shown first. No difference in time

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

US TV-Version 04:07
Theatrical Version 04:38 to 04.39
The sign "United States National Science Institute Station 4" can be seen one second longer.
1 Sec

US TV-Version 04:11 to 04:18
Theatrical Version 04:47 to 04:52
Alternative footage:
In the US TV-Version, Windows is shown working on the radio. A speaker informs off-screen that Windows is a radio operator and that he could not wait any longer to fly back to the USA.
In the Theatrical Version, Blair and Copper play table tennis, while the rest of the team reads or otherwise spends their time.
+2 Sec

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

US TV-Version 04:18
Theatrical Version 04:53 to 04:55
Only in the Theatrical Version: MacReady reaches into the ice bucket.
2 Sec

US TV-Version 04:18 to 04:32
Theatrical Version 04:55 to 05:09
The narrator informs in the US TV-Version from off-screen that MacReady is the helicopter pilot of the station and worked earlier as a test pilot, until he has argued with his superiors.
No difference in time

US TV-Version 04:32
Theatrical Version 05:10 to 05:46
MacReady makes his next move in a chess game with the computer. The computer reacts and "checkmates" MacReady. Out of rage, he opens the computer's case and pours the whiskey and ice cubes into it. Sparks fly out of the circuit board. Detail on the side: The voice of the chess computer in the Theatrical Version comes from Carpenter's (former) wife Adrienne Barbeau.
36 Sec

US TV-Version 05:03 to 05:09
Theatrical Version 06:17
Only in the US TV-Version: You see Childs watching the Norwegian helicopter. The narrator informs off-screen that Childs is a mechanic who moved from commercial school to an airline company, but he didn't like it any better.
+6 Sec

US TV-Version 05:40
Theatrical Version 06:47 to 06:50
Only in the Theatrical Version: After MacReady has put on his sunglasses, he looks even longer at the Norwegian helicopter with the whiskey bottle in his hand and takes a sip from the bottle.
3 Sec

US TV-Version 06:54 to 06:55
Theatrical Version 08:03
Only in the US TV-Version: Longer view of the landed Norwegian helicopter before the Norwegian takes another hand grenade out of the box.
+1 Sec

US TV-Version 07:04 to 07:06
Theatrical Version 08:11 to 08:13
Different footage:
In the Theatrical Version: After the hand grenade fell out of the hand of the Norwegian pilot and the rifleman shouts horrified: "Away! Away!", the rifleman runs away from the helicopter while the pilot searches for the hand grenade in the snow.
In the US TV-Version the shot of the dog who jumps towards and licks off Bennings, already shown at 06:54, is shown. However, this is now a slightly extended shot.
No difference in time

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

US TV-Version 07:44 to 07:48
Theatrical Version 08:54
Only in the US TV-Version: After Garry has shot the Norwegian, a dramatic music is laid over the scene that doesn't match Morricone's score at all.
No difference in time

US TV-Version 07:48
Theatrical Version 08:58 to 09:05
The body of the shot Norwegian stiffens again before it finally slackens. MacReady and Norris lie in the snow and watch in a horrified way.
7 Sec

US TV-Version 07:48 to 07:55
Theatrical Version 09:05
Only in the US TV-Version: Garry removes the empty cartridge cases from his revolver and reloads it. The narrator informs that Garry has served in the army for 30 years and that he loves his current job as station chief very much.
+7 Sec

US TV-Version 08:00
Theatrical Version 09:10 to 09:10
The injured Bennings takes a sip from MacReady's whiskey bottle.
0,5 Sec

US TV-Version 08:00 to 09:58
The events in the US TV-Version are accompanied by strange organ music, while no score can be heard in the Theatrical Version. No difference in time

US TV-Version 08:10
Theatrical Version 09:22 to 09:24
The dead Norwegian can be seen longer.
2 Sec

US TV-Version 08:44 to 09:08
Theatrical Version 09:52 to 10:16
The narrator informs that Clarke is taking care of the dogs and is working on a study on the effects of extreme cold on animal behaviour. The entire crew is on site on behalf of the US National Institute of Science to conduct physical and scientific experiments on the Antarctic continent.
No difference in time

US TV-Version 09:04
Theatrical Version 10:17
In the Theatrical Version MacReady says „First goddamned week of winter!“. In the US TV-Version he can only say „First damned week of winter!“.
No difference in time

US TV-Version 09:08 to 09:14
Theatrical Version 10:22 to 10:28
Alternative footage:
While in the Theatrical Version you can see in close-up how Copper sews the bullet wound in Benning's leg, in the US TV-Version you can see this from another camera perspective.
No difference in time

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

US TV-Version 09:15 to 09:30
Theatrical Version 10:28 to 10:35
The narrator informs us off-screen that Copper has a medical degree from Harvard University. He was then educated at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Due to a personal tragedy, he had embarked on an adventure with the research station. Bennings is said to be a meteorologist and to have published numerous articles in his field. It is interesting that the alternative camera angle of the Theatrical Version (there from 10:25 to 10:31) was used to illustrate the commentary, which was supplemented by additional material here (in the US TV-Version from 09:15 to 09:18 and from 09:25 to 09:30).
+8 Sec

US TV-Version 09:41 to 09:52
Theatrical Version 10:43
The narrator informs that Blair is a pioneer in the field of microbiology whose research contributed significantly to the establishment of a DNA research foundation. He made many discoveries in the field of cell growth. The footage used here is a second use of the following shot in the US TV-Version at 36:24 and the Theatrical Version at 41:28, in which Blair looks at the photos from the Norwegian station in the lounge. +11 Sec

US TV-Version 10:06
Theatrical Version 10:58
While Blair says "Come on. Come on."in the Theatrical Version, he becomes clearer in the US TV-Version "Windows! Come on. Come on."
No difference in time

US TV-Version 10:14
Theatrical Version 11:04
In the Theatrical Version, Windows apologizes to Blair with "Look. I haven't been able to reach... shit... in two weeks." In the US TV-Version, however, he says "Look. I haven't been able to reach a soul in two weeks."
No difference in time

US TV-Version 10:23 to 10:55
Theatrical Version 11:15
The narrator informs that Palmer is the second helicopter pilot who wants to become self-employed as a mechanic after the mission on the research station. Norris is introduced as a geophysicist who had a professorship and suffers from heart problems. The footage of Norris' performance was taken from the scene in which the crew later watched the burnt thing from the Norwegian station in the Theatrical Version at 23:55. Norris' shot is one tick longer in the US TV-Version.
During the introduction of Palmer and Norris Garry examines the dead Norwegian lying on a table. He finds his identification tags and informs the other crew members that it would be Jens Bolan. Fuchs joins them and tells Garry that there is only one Norwegian camp in the area. Garry wants to know how far away this is. Fuchs replies that it is about 50 miles south-west. Garry is surprised that it is so far away. He asks the others if anyone understood anything about the words the Norwegian had spoken before his death. Childs mockingly asks him if he would look Norwegian to him( "Am I start looking Norwegian to you, Bwana?").

It is interesting that the dead Norwegian in the prequel The Thing from 2011 bears the name Lars. Here the deleted scene or the TV version was not taken into account.
+22 Sec

US TV-Version 10:59 to 11:04
Theatrical Version 11:20 to 11:25
The narrator informs that Nauls is a very inventive chef who is interested in aviation (?).
No difference in time

US TV-Version 11:07
Theatrical Version 11:26 to 11:28
The dead Norwegian and his eye wound can be seen in close-up.
2 Sec

US TV-Version 11:10 to 11:15
Theatrical Version 11:30
The narrator introduces Fuchs. He is the team's second biologist and has worked with Blair at the Rockefeller Foundation. The footage shown is only included in the US TV-Version.
+5 Sec

US TV-Version 11:10
Theatrical Version 11:30 to 11:40
Nauls rolls into the room with his roller skates. Palmer pulls on his joint and comments on the incidents. Garry looks at him blamefully before turning to Fuchs.
10 Sec

US TV-Version 11:15 to 11:20
Theatrical Version 11:40 to 11:45
Alternative footage: When Garry asks Fuchs how long the Norwegian has been on the continent, the US TV-Version camera shot offers a large view of Fuchs, while the Theatrical Version gives an overview of the entire room. Garry's final assessment that this hadn't been long enough to go crazy is the Theatrical Version's footage of Nauls rolling in, while in the US TV-Version he rolls in afterwards. This additional shot of Nauls is missing in the US TV-Version. No difference in time

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

US TV-Version 11:20
Theatrical Version 11:53 to 11:54
Palmer still symbolically shows Nauls the middle finger.
1 Sec

US TV-Version 11:22
Theatrical Version 11:46
In the Theatrical Version Nauls swear „Bullshit, Bwana.“. In the US TV-Version the swearing was weakened to "For what, Farmer?" (or something like that, unfortunately the audiotrack is not clear at this point).
No difference in time

US TV-Version 11:55
Theatrical Version 12:21 to 12:22
Palmer puts down his joint and begins his sentence with "Shit! …“.
1 Sec

US TV-Version 12:53
Theatrical Version 13:20 to 13:28
The helicopter's tail rotor begins to rotate.
8 Sec

US TV-Version 13:58
Theatrical Version 14:32 to 14:56
Bennings feels annoyed by Naul's loud music and screams into the intercom that he would like to sleep. Nauls then makes the music even louder. This scene follows later in the US TV-Version in a shortened form.
An interesting detail on the side is that the music piece "Substitution" to be heard here had to be replaced for the first TV broadcasts according to the available sources, since Universal did not own the rights for the TV use. It was only for later broadcasts that the rights to the song could be acquired. The present version was therefore probably recorded during one of the later broadcasts. 24 Sec

US TV-Version 16:53
Theatrical Version 17:49 to 17:59
Copper and MacReady see the bloody axe stuck in the door. MacReady throws himself at the door to open it.
10 Sec

US TV-Version 17:55
Theatrical Version 19:02 to 19:20
Copper flashlights the dead Norwegian sitting in the chair. You can see that he has cut his own throat and opened his wrists. The blood is frozen on his body. Copper asks MacReady what the hell happened here.
18 Sec

US TV-Version 17:55 to 17:58
Theatrical Version 19:21 to 19:24
A short shot of the dead Norwegian's right arm. Copper's rhetorical question was placed over MacReady's point of view.
No difference in time

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

US TV-Version 18:48
Theatrical Version 20:09
When MacReady turned away from Copper in the Norwegian station, the sentence "The videocassettes oughta tell us something" was placed over it.
No difference in time

US TV-Version 19:33 to 19:36
Theatrical Version 20:55 to 20:58
While you can see the ice block in the Theatrical Version for several seconds in a long shot, the US TV-Version is driving over it in a pan. This should obviously compensate for the loss of information caused by the full frame format. No difference in time

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

US TV-Version 20:42
Theatrical Version 22:04
When MacReady and Copper leave the burnt Norwegian thing at the Norwegian station to look for a shovel, MacReady's sentence "We can get this thing into the chopper" can be heard.
No difference in time

US TV-Version 20:44
Theatrical Version 22:07 to 22:09
The burned corpse can be seen longer.
2 Sec

US TV-Version 20:44 to 21:09
Theatrical Version 22:07
A part of the scene in which Bennings complains about Naul's loud music (Theatrical Version from 14:32 to 14:47) is shown. In the US TV-Version Bennings shouts "Nauls, would you turn that junk down? In the Theatrical Version he calls "Nauls, would you turn that crap down?" instead.
+15 Sec

US TV-Version 21:09
Theatrical Version 22:10 to 22:20
The Helicopter's approaching the station longer.
10 Sec

US TV-Version 21:50 to 21:52
Theatrical Version 23:00 to 23:42
The camera pans in the Theatrical Version longer over the burned thing. Blair coughs and turns away. Copper tells Blair to start the autopsy right away. Instead, the US TV-Version shows a shot of Garry that would follow in the Theatrical Version at 23:41.
40 Sec

Theatrical VersionUS-TV-Version

US TV-Version 21:52 to 21:56
Theatrical Version 23:31
The shot in which Copper looks at Fuchs was given preference in the US TV-Version and starts earlier.
+4 Sec

US TV-Version 21:56 to 22:07
Theatrical Version 23:41
Additional footage in the US TV-Version: The camera pans further from Fuchs to Blair, Bennings and Norris. This shot should obviously follow the transition at Theatrical Version 23:41. The shot was accompanied by the instruction to perform the autopsy.
+ 11 Sec

US TV-Version 22.07
Theatrical Version 23:44 to 24:20
The camera pans even further over the thing and shows even more horrified crew members. As soon as MacReady looks skeptically upwards, both versions run synchronously again.
36 Sec

US TV-Version 22:49
Theatrical Version 25:01 to 25:18
Blair uses a scalpel to cut open the belly of the dead thing.
17 Sec

US TV-Version 22:56
Theatrical Version 25:24 to 25:25
Blair is looking up to Fuchs.
1 Sec

US TV-Version 23:01
Theatrical Version 25:30 to 25:35
Blair's getting another organ out of the belly of that thing.
5 Sec

US TV-Version 23:04
Theatrical Version 25:39 to 25:47
Close-up of the distorted, melted face of the thing.
8 Sec

US TV-Version 23:34
Theatrical Version 26:16 to 26:31
After Palmer changes the videotape, he goes back to his bed and lights a joint. After the first inhale, he passes it on to Childs, who makes a gesture.
15 Sec

US TV-Version 24:55
Theatrical Version 27:52 to 27:55
The dog thing lies longer with upright head in lurking position.
3 Sec

US TV-Version 25:38
Theatrical Version 28:22 to 28:27
The head of the dog thing bursts apart and a tentacle slips out of the neck after the skull has fallen off.
5 Sec

US TV-Version 25:26
Theatrical Version 28:30 to 28:33
Tentacles pour out of the body of the dog thing.
3 Sec

US TV-Version 25:29 to 25:29
Theatrical Version 28:35 to 28:38
In the US TV-Version the shot of the tentacles bursting out of the body of the dog thing is much shorter than in the Theatrical Version.
2,5 Sec

US TV-Version 25:31
Theatrical Version 28.40 to 28:48
The husky tries to bite a hole in the wire mesh for a while longer. Meanwhile legs grow out of the dog thing.
8 Sec

US TV-Version 25:33
Theatrical Version 28:50 to 28:58
The Husky has meanwhile made a head-sized hole in the wire mesh. The dog thing moves on spider-like legs and turns to the fleeing husky.
8 Sec

US TV-Version 25.35 to 25:35
Theatrical Version 28:59 to 29:05
In the US TV-Version there is only a short shot to see how the dog thing spits twice on the fleeing Husky. In the Theatrical Version it spits much more often on the husky. In the Theatrical Version you can also see the spitting dog thing in close-up.
6 Sec

1 of 2