The Fog (1980) --AKA: John Carpenter's The Fog
The Fog was John Carpenter & Debra Hill’s first outing since the runaway success of “Halloween”. This film holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first horror films that my parents made the mistake of letting me watch all the way through! The idea that there was an evil force inside the cloudy recesses of a bank of fog struck a real nerve with me as an 11 year old watching the film in my parent’s basement. It became even more ominous for me as a cloud of mist rose outside the ground level window behind the television. I sat there for what felt like an eternity trying to move as I watched the fog bank in the movie creep across the town of Antonio Bay reeking havoc as the fog rose outside my window! If someone had knocked on the door I might have had a heart attack… luckily I finally realized that the fog rising outside the window was actually steam from the dryer exhaust where my Mom had started a load of clothes in the dryer!
Anyway, back to the movie. Carpenter & Hill bring us to the sleepy little town of Antonio Bay California. It’s the 100th anniversary of the town’s founding and a big celebration is being planned by the town council. Unfortunately for the residents of Antonio Bay the council isn’t the only group with plans for the town, the ghosts of a colony ship filled with lepers that went down on that fateful night are out for revenge on the town. Why would the town be marked in such a way? You might ask Father Malone (Hal Holbrook), the town priest. He find’s his Grandfather’s journal telling the story of what really happened to the ship, The Elizabeth Dane when it smashed on the rocks in a thick fog 100 years ago. Of course you might also ask him about how his Grandfather and Father were both priests as well, but that would be letting the plot get in the way of the story… Other clues are found by Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau) the owner/operator of the town’s radio station who finds a piece of wood from the Elizabeth Dane that has a bad habit of bursting into flame after announcing cryptic messages through her recording equipment. Then there is Nick Castle (Tom Atkins) as the fisherman who picks up a hitchhiker (Jamie Lee Curtis) and gets more than he bargains for when all the windows in his truck blow out while driving home. All of these characters are drawn together as the story unfolds and one must wonder will they unravel the mystery of Antonio Bay or will they all be victims of the ghosts inside the fog.
If you want a good, creepy time, turn down the lights and watch John Carpenter’s The Fog. Be on the lookout for appearances by John Houseman and Janet Lee (Jamie’s Mother) as well as a number of actors and actresses that tend to pop up in John Carpenter’s films (Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis came straight in from Halloween and Tom Atkins pops up in a lot of later Carpenter films). As usual, Carpenter pens a haunting musical score to accompany the film. Although he endorsed and co-produced the 2005 re-make, the new version is a pale re-telling of the original classic.
I give John Carpenter’s The Fog 10 out of 10 and a blood curdling scream for good measure.
Check it out for yourself.