After someone breaks into the blood plasma storage, the group gathers outside to burn the blood bags.

This provides an opportunity to gather the whole group and discuss future strategies for how to figure out who's who, and also an opportunity to get a shot of the whole group in a way that maybe the close quarters of the rooms in the camp wouldn't allow for.

However, since the blood in there was all human, and once it was gone all that was left was plastic, it was not immediately clear to me why the bags needed to be burned. Is there an in-universe reason for the bags needing to be burned? And for that action to have to take place outside (there is a lot of burning taking place indoors too)?

  • 1
    Well, you don't want to burn plastics indoors, that smoke's really nasty. (And it's been a while, but my memory is that soft plastics, because of all the chemicals to keep them soft, are worse than hard plastics.)
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 15:40
  • 1
    Fair enough. Still unclear why they needed to be burned, though ;P
    – JNat
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


You couldn't be sure that ALL of the blood was human.

At that point, the group knew that even a small Thing piece can act independently, and might be enough to kickstart the invasion that they're all trying to prevent. And the only thing they knew about the blood freezer was that The Thing had been inside of it and messed with it. Burning the bags and blood was less about specifically burning the bags and more about expediently burning all organic material that could have been a hiding Thing.

  • I think it was only established later in the movie that "even a small Thing piece can act independently," when Norris's head walked off on its own. Only after that did MacReady come up with the "let's put a piece of hot metal to blood samples and see how it reacts" experiment. That's much later in the film. At this point the experiment they were gonna do with the blood was a different one.
    – JNat
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 16:19
  • 2
    The Wikipedia page confirms what I said in the above comment: "MacReady hypothesizes that the Norris-Thing demonstrated that every part of the Thing is an individual life-form with its own survival instinct."
    – JNat
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 16:21
  • Yeah, that experiment is later, but the computer simulation that shows even a single cell can spread outward and imitate life happens almost first thing in the movie, and everybody was in the room when Brimley's character was shouting about the results. Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 16:25
  • If that was the reason, though, wouldn't they have burned the whole thing on site, especially given the amount of blood that was on the floor?
    – JNat
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 16:31
  • 5
    Honestly, the answer is probably cinematography since John Carpenter loves his fire-in-the-dark aesthetic. But I'm sure burning plastics inside of a small airtight room is a bad idea regardless. Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 16:34

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