61 Days of Halloween: The Fog (1980)


For an introduction to the concept of 61 Days of Halloween and a list of previously featured titles please go here.

The Fog (1980)

The first time I saw this film was quite a special experience. It was so not only because it was on the big screen (sure it was off a DVD, but still) but because it was very many years after the film’s initial release. The film is quite a magical feat.

What’s impressive to consider upon revisiting this film, following its wonderful transition to Blu-ray by the fine folks at Scream Factory, is that at its core it’s a very simple tale. In fact, it’s much like a campfire story, which is one of the things that really kick the film off. It’s what Stephen King might’ve described in Danse Macabre as a “tale of the the hook.” There’s a simple but wonderful backstory to this tale that allows many of the pivotal moments to be purely visual.

Furthermore, while some secrets about the history of Lorenzo Bay are being unveiled there is opportunity to crosscut to the simultaneous chaos ensuing. Which leads to another great thing about the film the fact that we the audience are given all the pieces, but the multi-character nature of the film leaves many of them only partially clued in.

Then, of course, there’s the rather obvious element of the fog itself. As human beings we get used to having five senses quite quickly, and having one taken away or severely impaired by something can lend itself to horrific situations, which is why so many horror films do occur at night or feature fog.

To have a film like this at any point after making something along the lines of Halloween would be impressive enough, but to have it come two years later and right before a very successful sequel and The Thing is why John Carpenter is one of the legends of the genre.

With Dean Cundey as Director of Photography and a cast featuring Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Hal Holbrook and Tom Atkins there truly is little that can go wrong with a film such as this and hardly anything does. Carpenter and frequent collaborator Debra Hill here quickly frame a story with many characters that never feels rushed, confused or aimless and one that delivers many genuine chills. A true classic.

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