I can honestly say I am not a huge fan of remakes. They very rarely turn out as good as the original. But lets face it, even new Hollywood stories aren’t too good now days. So I thought rather than watching the remake of The Fog I would take a peek at the classic by John Carpenter. For whatever reason I had never seen this movie, but I got a few recommendations that it is one I can’t miss. And hell, Carpenter’s The Thing was freaky as anything I’ve ever seen so why not give it a shot.
The film takes place in Antonio Bay, California in 1980, 100 years after a terrible shipwreck. As the story goes sailors were out late one night when a terrible fog hit. The only thing they were able to see was a huge bonfire which was coming from the shore. As they attempted to make their way into the bay they crashed into some rocks and everyone aboard the ship perished in a watery grave! What we later learn is that the bonfire was set by members of the colony, including the local priest who kept all of this information in a journal. Their purposely intended to sink the ship because all of its passengers were from a leper colony on an island off the coast. The ship was also carrying a ton of gold which the Antonio Bay folks recovered and used to sign their charter and build their church… I smell a CURSE coming on!
On the 100th anniversary of the conspiracy and shipwreck weird things begin to happen during the witching hour (midnight to 1am). A strange glowing fog takes over the town and a fishing ship goes missing. Residents also notice car horns going off at the same time, windows breaking, and weird knocks at the door. The next night people start turning up dead as the ghosts of the “Elizabeth Dane” come to seek revenge on the town that profited from their death!!
One thing that I can say about a lot of Carpenter movies is that he knows how to use violence and gore to his advantage. But with The Fog he uses some old school touches like creepy knocks, dark figures, or items moving on their own. And for its time the use of the fog was brilliant. Overall it was a freaky movie where you spent a lot of time yelling for people to run the hell away from the fog… which seems like a strange concept but it was done very well. There were a few well known actors in this movie, but there was not one main character. Jamie Lee Curtis played a small part as a drifter who comes to town and is picked up by our good buddy Tom “It’s Miller Time” Atkins (Night of the Creeps). Adrienne Barbeau plays Stevie Wayne, a radio station owner and nightime DJ who narrates a lot of the town “goings-on” during the end of the film. Hal Holbrook also does a good job as Father Malone, the priest who finds the journal from his late grandfather. I enjoyed watching this movie and I’m glad I listened to the recommendations. It is not a movie that will make you pee yourself in terror, but it is a great, classic horror movie everyone should experience at least once.