The Fog (1980)

I figured watching and reviewing a John Carpenter film prior to jumping into the Friday the 13th films was appropriate, considering his work on Halloween paved the way for Jason and the mainstream slasher flick.

The Fog is an effectively chilling ghost story set in a small costal California town. 100 years ago the townsfolk of Antonio Bay did some things. The things they did were not very Christian-like. Not at all. You see, a village of lepers needed a new place to stay and asked to colonize a place up the road up a bit from town. The townsfolk did the most logical thing they could think of. Trick the lepers into crashing their boat into the cliffs, killing them all. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the best idea.

If you watch a lot of horror you understand ghosts are a timely bunch. They are usually bound to haunt and kill in some sort of predetermined time schedule coinciding with an important event. Here, the celebration of the town’s 100th anniversary (and their deaths) serves this purpose well.

The fog rolls in and the town pays for their crimes. They do this by dying one by one in mostly gruesome manners. I always feel bad for the generation that has to pay for their ancestor’s crimes. It’s been a hundred years and the people that committed the crimes got away with it, along with a couple more generations of relatives. Then BAM! The zombie ghosts come out of nowhere and wipe out the latest generation. How unfair.

Carpenter creates an atmosphere in The Fog unlike anything in most horror films. Antonio Bay is an eerie, creepy place with a dark past and Carpenter makes sure everyone, including the audience, feels this. His ability to build tension is second to none.

The cast is held together by the real life mother daughter duo of Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) and Janet Leigh (Psycho). Hooray for scream queen families. Also, making an appearance is Tom Atkins. He is better known (at least by me) as Detective Ray “Thrill Me” Cameron from Night of the Creeps (one of, if not my favorite film of all time).

This film was remade, predictably. I have watched a good many remakes in my day and I can say without hesitation the worst remake I have seen is 2005’s version of this film. You probably already know this, but just in case, consider yourself warned.

The Fog is one of Carpenter’s most underrated films and one of my personal favorites alongside Prince of Darkness and The Thing.

Snore Factor: ZZ

IMDB 1980

Trailer:

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