The Kennel-Thing, also known as the Dog-Thing, was a three-formed Thing which assumed the form of a Norwegian dog. The creature originally appeared in the 1982 film The Thing and its origins were further explored in the 2011 prequel of the same name.
The Thing (2011)
The origins of the Dog-Thing are explored in the 2011 prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing. It is shown to be an imitation of (presumably) the station's sole dog, which belonged to Norwegian dog-handler, Lars. After the original creature escapes from its ice block in Thule Station it attacks the dog in its kennel. The dog is later found in a bloody mess in the corner of its cage by several Norwegian team members during their search for the creature. Due to their lack of knowledge of the Thing's life-cycle, the dog's remains were left alone and its whereabouts were largely unknown throughout the Thule crisis. It is only at the end that the dog, now assimilated, is seen by Lars leaping out of a window and running away from the destroyed station. He recognizes that it is an imitation and pursues it across Antarctica with helicopter pilot, Matias.
The Thing (1982)
In the opening scenes of 1982's The Thing, the dog reaches a nearby American research station known as Outpost 31. Both its pursuers are killed in an altercation with the station's crew, and consequently its true identity remains a secret. Left to roam around the facility unhindered, the imitation silently assimilates its first victim before Clark, the station's dog-handler, puts the dog in the kennel. Under the cover of darkness, its head splits into a three-jawed maw and spits against nearest dog with a jet of fluid, then mutates into a grotesque spider-like form and begins to violently assimilate the sled dogs. Clark notices the strange noises and goes to check on the dogs, only to be startled by two that manage to escape. Shortly afterwards, helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady also notices the commotion and wakes the men up using the fire alarm system.
Converging on the kennels, they discover the creature - now a bloated and pulsating blob of flesh with a second gruesome dog head on top - in the process of digesting and assimilating the dogs. After MacReady fails to kill it using a shotgun, the creature grows a pair of three-fingered claws and pulls a portion of itself towards the ceiling, separating itself from the main bio-mass and escapes into the ceiling. Confronted by a flamethrower-wielding Childs, the remaining Thing splits open and aims a flower-like proboscis in his direction. It is incinerated before it can strike and collapses to the floor, where the men extinguish the flames. Later, Blair performs an autopsy on the monster and discovers a partially assimilated dog within - granting the men a better understanding of how the Thing operates.
The Kennel-Thing is shown to possess a minimum of three distinct forms:
- In 1982's The Thing, the Norwegian dog was played by a half-dog, half-wolf hybrid named Jed. He acted all his parts eerily well and was extremely quiet and well-behaved on the set.
- In the novel Who Goes There? the Kennel-Thing's host was named Charnauk.
- This was the only thing effect in the film not done by Rob Bottin, as Bottin was hospitalised for exhaustion at the time, it was done instead by Stan Winston and his crew. Winston asked not to be credited because he didn't want to take away the praise from Bottin.
- The Flesh Flower is actually an incredibly detailed effect. Its petals are 12 dog tongues complete with rows of canine teeth. Rob Bottin dubbed it the 'pissed-off cabbage'.
- During the "Dogtown" scene, when the Flesh Flower begins to strike at Childs, at the top right side you can see part of the head and shoulder of an effects crewmember as they work the creature. They even cast a shadow on the wall behind.
- According to John Carpenter's commentary, in the Kennel-Thing we are seeing bits and pieces of creatures the Thing has absorbed on other worlds before reaching Earth.
Behind the scenes