Shadow’s Monster Survival Guide: The Thing – By Timothy Martinez

Name: The Thing

Monster Genus: Carrotus Intellectus

Notable Appearances: The Thing From Another World (1951)

Height: Approximately eight feet. As is all too often the case, we really cannot be certain what the specimen’s exact height may be, as he hasn’t shown the slightest willingness to hold still long enough for someone with a measuring tape to get in, get the figures and get out without meeting a rather sticky end. The Thing was found frozen in ice and his height estimation was made by those who saw him while he was in that state. Once he was freed from his icy prison, he went on a wild rampage and sadly, measuring him for a new suit was the last thing on anybody’s mind. Going by those rare instances when The Thing was relatively close to a Human, it appears that the eight-foot approximation may be a tad off – by a foot or more. Sure, he towers over us puny humans, but don’t go getting him an NBA try-out just yet – this guy seems to be wearing some serious platform shoes which increase his height. Thus, when encountering him, keep in mind that some of that height is illusory. Still, try not to climb up a stack of boxes to get away from him.

Weight: Once again, getting him on a scale for an exact figure was proved to be impossible – if not fatal, so we must guesstimate his weight. Simply put, this guy is big. Sure, he may not be quite as tall as initial guesses would indicate, but he makes up for it in the mass department. Factoring in height and bulk and this guy weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred pounds. And there isn’t an ounce of fat (or the vegetable equivalent) in the mix. What does that mean in context of this examination? It means that if you’re unlucky enough to encounter him, trying to subdue him physically is not only a colossal waste of time, it’s pure idiocy on your part and the fastest way to end up as paste, or worse – hanging upside down from the rafters doing a damn good impersonation of a rack of beef. In other words, unless you are a WWE wrestler, you are severely outmatched.

Intelligence: 5/5 Yes, five out of five. Not only is The Thing big and muscular, but his intellect is way beyond yours or mine. Remember that this guy hails from a species that has mastered the engineering skills to make interstellar travel a reality. Your McGyver-like ingenuity aside, he has still got one up on you in his understanding of the universe and how it works. So, whatever you do, don’t try to match wits with the guy by challenging him to a game of chess. That may work with the Grim Reaper, but not The Thing. Likewise, keep in mind that his intelligence enables him to do more than just beat you to a bloody pulp. If given access to tools and materials, it is very easily within the realm of possibility that he is going to use that know-how of his to cobble together some type of lethal contraption. I mean, if E.T. could make an interstellar communications device out of an old Speak ‘n’ Spell, imagine what this guy, with his attitude and surly disposition, could come up with. We’re talking disintegraters made from TV remotes here! Bottom line: don’t underestimate this guy and don’t give him the chance to use those smarts.

Description: The Thing looks like the Frankenstein Monster’s middle-aged cousin. He is big, tall and sports a protruding forehead – the latter no doubt to make room for his large brain. His head is hairless and is covered by a network of thick veins. He also has long and very sharp fingernails that are almost claw-like…which means that his people have yet to master the manicuring arts. The backs of his fingers also have daggerish nails, which have been proven to be a chitin-like substance, located on the knuckle joints. Suffice it to say that no one wants to be bitched slapped by this guy. However, the most unusual thing about this guy is that he is not an animal – he is a vegetable – and I don’t mean that he sits in front of the TV all day.

Origin: All we can say for sure is that he comes from outer space – some planet beyond our solar system. One of the few things we do know in addition to that is that on whatever planet he comes from, the vegetable life evolved into intelligent organisms that fed off the animal life forms rather than the opposite path taken on our own Earth. Yes, that is right, this guy is an intellectual carrot. What that means for you is that when he looks in your direction, all he is going to see is food – primarily your blood, which he will use to nourish his seedlings.

Habitat: Unknown. We do know it must be relatively temperate in order for plant life to thrive, but beyond that, everything is speculation.

Behavior: Some monsters really do wish to be left alone and adopt a live-and-let-live approach when dealing with we Humans. Only when we manage to piss them off in some capacity do the bodies start piling up. However, this is not the case with The Thing. This guy is already pissed off. He was pissed off when he landed, he was pissed off when he thawed out and was REALLY pissed off after that. His first order of business will be to find a suitable stretch of ground to plant his seedlings. After that his priority will be to find a way to sustain those baby things that he has planted in the ground (don’t ask how he does that as I don’t know and furthermore, I don’t want to know). Given that his species has evolved in such a way that they need animal tissues to live, this means that The Thing will be looking for blood. Now, the blood from any animal will do, but that won’t stop this guy from snatching a few Humans in a pinch. These poor bastards will end up strung up over the seedlings and having their throats cut in order to provide that nourishment the babies require. This means it may be wise to avoid natural parks and forests.

Special Abilities: This guy really is resilient. Being thrown from a crashing spaceship didn’t do him in, neither did quickly being frozen in ice. He shrugged both off easily. He also managed to fend off a pack of angry dogs, tossing them around like stuffed toys. Even when one dog managed to rip off one his hands, all he did was grown a new one. Being lit on fire, while no doubt painful and one way to kill him if given the time, was not able to deter him either. He simply regenerated new vegetable “flesh.” Guns? Forget it. All you’ll be doing is popping holes in vegetable matter. So dropping heavy objects on him and the use of fire extinguishers, cutlery, flame throwers or firearms are all pretty much useless tactics to use, unless of course The Thing is somehow restrained and you can lay into him. Otherwise, he’s either gonna run away or come pound your ass into jelly.

Weaknesses: While freezing him will pretty much incapacitate him (like it will with most everything else), it won’t kill him. So far the only thing that is known to cause pain or do him in is extreme heat damage. In other words – fire. Sure he can regenerate from fire or heat damage, but if the intensity is high enough, he’ll cook rather quick…just like a carrot is a stewpot. Any strong source of heat will do: fire, electricity, etc. Just be sure to leave plenty of room between you and him. In addition, while super smart, sometimes he can be fooled due to his unfamiliarity with our environment.

Relatives: Other deadly plants include: Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, Pod People from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Killer Tomatoes from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Swamp Thing from the Swamp Thing films and Triffids from Day of the Triffids.

What to do if you encounter: Well the first thing that springs to mind is to avoid even meeting The Thing by staying the hell away from the North Pole, as that is the only place his kind has been spotted to date. If however, you do run into him elsewhere – run like hell! He may be big and strong, but he really isn’t too fast. If you can get a good head start, you may just outdistance him. Certainly do not try to fight him one on one. Doing that will only get you a one way ticket to slit-throatville. When possible, the using of weapons will help in fending him off, they just won’t always kill him. So empty that clip into him and then run. Just don’t count on those bullets to deal him a fatal blow. The use of swords or sharp knives will easily reduce him to pot trimmings, but unless you are a swordmaster of samurai skills, you may not last long enough to completely dismember him. The best way to take him out is with fire. However, unless you can chase him down with a full flamethrower on your back, as he will run once lit, your best bet is to use his unfamiliarity with Earth to trick him. Lure him into a giant microwave or cuisanart and you’ll be doing good. Just be sure to get out before hitting the “on” switch. In all other instances, your best option is to just run.

Endorsements: Miracle-Gro and Birds Eye.