A coastal town is plagued with an unearthly fog that
contains the undead spirits of a crew of betrayed pirates.
The Fog (1980)
Directed by John Carpenter
Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Starring Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh,
Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook, Charles Cyphers, John Houseman
Those of you who follow The Filmgazm Podcast know that I am a massive Carpenter fan. Halloween, Escape from New York, The Thing, and Assault on Precinct 13 are some of my all-time favorite films. The Fog was the one Carpenter classic that I had never seen. I felt it was finally time to cross this one off my list and boy, was I in for a treat. The Fog is an eerie movie that excels in the slow burn. It opens with a literal campfire tale, telling the story of the mysterious deaths of Captain Blake and his entire crew on the coastal rocks of Antonio Bay, a hundred years to this very night. Cue one of Carpenter's most unsettling scores, and you've got a ghost story that will keep you up at night.
The cast is great, with a host of Carpenter mainstays turning up, like Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, and Charles Cyphers. But this film isn't character driven, it's narrative driven. The true star of the film is the fog itself, which contains the spirits of Captain Blake and his crew. They've come to claim six lives, representing the six conspirators that sent them to their deaths. While not particularly scary, The Fog is extremely creepy. Its atmosphere is perfect, and you feel like something could pop out at any moment and tear someone up. That brings me to the look of the ghosts. Dark shadows bathed in glowing mist, like demons right out of your nightmares.
The Fog is a must-see for Carpenter super fans, and it's a perfect Halloween movie to creep out the whole family. I adore the music and the tone of the film, both of which work together to really make this film as unnerving as possible. This is another Carpenter film that was remade into a piece of shit, just like many of his films. A lesson that must be learned, especially with The Fog, is that nobody can replicate Carpenter. He's a unique filmmaker who uses his own tricks, his loyal actor mainstays, and his personally scored music to make timeless genre film masterpieces. So, let it be. It's impossible to be like the king. You either are or you aren't Carpenter.