Dir.: John Carpenter
Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie-Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Tom Atkins and Hal Holbrook
There really is nothing like a juicy ghost story to whet the appetites of any self-respecting horror fan and John Carpenter knew this when he made this dandy of a gem. Coming hot off the heels of Halloween, people were expecting a similar experience which was quite unfair, I mean come now, how could anybody hope to follow up something like that? The answer is, you don’t, instead you try something new and that is what The Fog is; a new take on an old tale that willing ears will listen to at the stroke of midnight translated into a gleefully cult cinema form with some… interesting early 80s’ fashion choices.
While hardly a bloodbath, there is enough thrills and chills delivered in Carpenter’s homage to spectre-ridden tales of old with a crew of mist-bound vengeful wraiths coming back to haunt a coastal town on the anniversary of their betrayal at the hands of the townspeople by hunting down their descendants. It’s a classical trope of the genre and it’s one The Fog embraces with open, ghastly arms.
The Fog is certainly one of Carpenters’ most laid-back efforts and while it endured its fair share of problems during it’s production with re-shoots and re-writes, the final product is a respectable effort that doesn’t demand anything from the audience other than to just sit back, relax and enjoy a good yarn. Sure some of the side characters span from inconsequential to somewhat annoying, this should not cease the overall sense of enjoyment that the film actively promotes.
Of course, one of the major benefits of the film is indeed the cast, an assortment of character actors from the past and present and all of which present an interesting angle. You have single mother and lighthouse-bound deejay Stevie Wayne (Barbeau), carefree drifter (NOT a Manic Pixie Girl) Elizabeth (Curtis), a fussy town dignitary (Leigh) as well as concerned romantic hero Nick Castle (Tom Atkins) who are all caught up in the supernatural goings on and experience a night of horror in multiple situations.
While the success of the film falls down to individual tastes, The Fog is one of Carpenter’s most easy-going and accessible efforts that I feel even the most casual of film-goer with an open mind can enjoy.
As for the remake?… What remake? WHAT REMAKE? Exactly.
BT dubs: It is gorgeous that Carpenter named several characters after his fellow colleagues. What a sweet man. Additionally, this was Rob Bottin’s first job on a Carpenter film… two years before his stellar work on The Thing, plus, he played the ghost captain!