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Real Dynamite Was Used In The Filming Of This Classic Horror Movie

It's fair to say that a lot of modern movies rely on the overuse of CGI and visual special effects to create their stories. And because the horror genre often includes supernatural threats of ghouls, specters, demons, and other ghostly forces, there's usually plenty of visual trickery that goes hand-in-hand with bringing them to life on the big screen. However, some of the best works of art in the genre have often come from films that used practical effects to their advantage.

One of the first that comes to mind is "Alien," with the practical suit worn by Bolaji Badejo in 1976. The Nigerian visual artist was picked to star as the iconic Xenomorph because of his height, standing at 6-feet-10-inches, so when he was wearing the suit, his stature added to the intimidating look of the creature. Then there are the practical gore and body horror effects of films like "The Fly" and Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" trilogy ... But you get the picture.

However, there's another classic science-fiction horror movie that used real dynamite during its production to get a bigger effect out of the explosion.

Kurt Russell's genuine reaction

Aah, "The Thing" — a true classic. The John Carpenter movie was adapted from John W. Campbell's short story "Who Goes There?" and plays on themes of heightened paranoia and viruses, making it still pretty relevant for modern times aside from being a great movie. The film has been praised countless times for its creature design of the titular alien that emerges from an icy sleep in Antarctica, going up against a group of American researchers. The researchers quickly realize that the alien can be killed with fire, and they just so happen to have flamethrowers and dynamite on their base — so that's useful.

But John Carpenter and Kurt Russell revealed on the commentary track for the movie (per Film School Rejects) that they used real dynamite when MacReady (Russell) hurled a stick of the explosive at the Palmer-Thing (David Clennon) to kill it. However, the pair explained that there was a much bigger blast than what the actor expected, so his reaction at the side of the frame was one of genuine shock.

The pair also revealed during the commentary that they burnt their hands several times using flares. One moment, in particular, sees MacReady threaten the rest of the researchers with the dynamite and a flare, and Russell apparently rushed his lines so that the flare didn't go out and ruin the take. It's that kind of determination that makes "The Thing" such an incredible horror movie because it all feels authentic, gritty, and real. Well, aside from a parasite that transforms and eats people at will, of course.