In the movie Macready threatens Childs with a pistol if he doesn't comply with the blood test. We hear Macready say "I mean it" and then appears to either pull the trigger or cock the hammer of the gun but the gun in his hand is blurred.

Did he pull the trigger but the chamber was empty so the gun didn't go off? Is that why Clark charged at him right after?

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3 Answers 3


From the following YouTube clip it looks to me as if he just cocks the gun.

This is supported by the "script" which also states he cocks his gun.

                  (a beat)
          You ain't tying me up.

          Then I'll have to kill you.

          Then kill me.

MacReady points the .44 at Childs' head.

          I mean it.

MacReady cocks his gun.  Childs holds his ground.

          I guess you do.

A beat.  Clark springs for MacReady.  Scalpel raised.

MacReady spins and fires three shots, point-blank, the
forces of the charges sending Clark flying backwards.  The
others, themselves about to pounce, stop -- as MacReady
whirls the torch and gun back toward them.

Script taken from sfy.ru and awesomefilm.com (page 102). The first link gives a certificate warning so be wary of using it.

  • 1
    It actually sounds to me like he cocks it, then (accidentally?) pulls the trigger on an empty chamber. I think, story wise, he was supposed to just cock it and the pulling the trigger is a goof.
    – Kevin
    Aug 1, 2018 at 19:04
  • @Kevin I’ve only watched the clip without sound so can’t say for sure, I didn’t see the hammer fall though.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 1, 2018 at 19:26

It's the sound of the gun being cocked. The distinctive click of the hammer falling is not there. Besides, it goes with the character being the kind of guy who gives fair warning, but once given, you get what you have coming.

  • I think you could provide a "distinctive click" example :)
    – Jenayah
    Aug 1, 2018 at 14:10

I read a recent article on John Carpenter's The Thing. One of the key points was that the 'hero' wasn't supposed to be a hero until things went really wrong, more like a reluctant hero than the obvious protagonist we usually get in action movies and horror movies. This was pretty early in Kurt Russel's career, but after Escape From New York. After it's horrible reception, terrible reviews, and lackluster box office success (in the 80's it was regarded as the worst movie of the decade), most didn't really look into things like this. Yes, it does look a little like Kurt can't handle a gun (surprisingly, a lot of movie actors in the Action genre are rather bad with guns!) but he merely cocks the hammer back to emphasize the point. Besides, cocking the hammer back on a revolver means that very little pressure is needed to pull the trigger (I'm talking lifting a cotton ball kind of force, not a noticeable pull/squeeze). It could be that Kurt actually did accidentally pull the trigger on the 1.2 lb/in^2 trigger and it wasn't edited correctly.

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