John Carpenter clears up the mystery of THE THING's ending
"You know, I asked John Carpenter about The Thing."
"Oh yeah? What did he say?" I asked.
"He said he never understood where all the confusion came from. The last frame of The Thing is Kurt Russell and Keith David staring each other down, harshly backlit. It's completely, glaringly obvious that Kurt Russell is breathing and Keith David is not."
I looked at my friend for a minute, soaking it in. Straight from the horse's mouth.
"That's a pretty subtle cue to expect the audience to absorb having seen severed heads grow spider legs and run around," I said.
"That's the genius of The Thing," my friend said, and we moved on to other subjects.