While Hawks' movie followed a traditional 'monster on the loose' format, Carpenter's version focussed on 'the beast within' motif. Using stunning visual effects; created by Rob Bottin a mentor of monster makeup maestro Rick Baker; Carpenter conveyed, (until Terminator 2 came to town), moviedom's most memorable shape shifter.
Wanting a European sound to the music, Carpenter brought in Ennio Morricone to supply the chilling soundtrack. Perhaps it was Carpenter's habit of providing his own synth based soundtracks that rendered virtually all of Morricone's material to be excised from the final cut and replaced in part by the director's own compositions. What remains of Morricone's score for The Thing is dark, disturbing and atmospheric especially during the opening sequence (Humanity Part 1), where the 'alien' husky is being pursued by a helicopter. The most easily recognisable cue from the movie, the glacial "Humanity Part ll" is ironically the least like Morricone and actually resembles Carpenter's own work.
The out of print soundtrack for The Thing, eschews Carpenter's own material and focuses entirely on Morricone's score and includes material not used in the final cut. One can only muse how these unused cues would have fitted in Carpenter's icy masterpiece.