Directed by John Carpenter [Other horror films: Halloween (1978), Someone’s Watching Me! (1978), The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988), Body Bags (1993, segments ‘The Gas Station’ & ‘Hair’), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Village of the Damned (1995), Vampires (1998), Ghosts of Mars (2001), The Ward (2010)]
John Carpenter’s Halloween is a true classic, and one of my favorite horror flicks of all time. The Fog is not far behind.
An almost flawless movie, there’s very little to gripe about when talking about The Fog. The score is fantastic, there’s a plethora of great actors and actresses, you get a fun story, great visuals, and often a feeling of claustrophobic suspense.
It’s amazing how well-done some of Carpenter’s early horror work is (Halloween being his first horror movie, and The Fog being his third, the television film Someone’s Watching Me! popping up between them). This film had an atmosphere to kill for, and the score ranks up there with the Halloween theme as one of the creepiest scores around.
Of course, the highest awards, as far as the cast goes, are awarded to Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Atkins. Barbeau hadn’t really done horror before this (she was in two television horror films, one being the aforementioned Someone’s Watching Me! and the other being The Darker Side of Terror), but she does wonderfully here. Her silky voice is certainly soothing and memorable, and just as memorable, her line, “There’s something in the fog.” Always a chilling scene.
Curtis, of course, was in Halloween (and in 1980, not only was she in this movie, but also appeared in both Prom Night and Terror Train), and does pretty fair here, though it’s worth noting her character doesn’t really have that much to do. Still, she’s a nice presence. As for Atkins (aside from this one, his biggest additions to the genre are Halloween III, Night of the Creeps, and Maniac Cop), his persona is fun, and again, while he’s not all that consequential to the plot, it’s still enjoyable seeing him run around trying to save people from the fog.
Even some of the smaller actors and actresses stand out, though. Janet Leigh (from, of course, Psycho) did her character extremely well, and despite never having much screen-time, was always a pleasure to behold. Nancy Loomis (also from the first three Halloween’s) got some good lines in, playing Leigh’s sardonic assistant. And Hal Holbrook (who I recognize most from the fantastic, yet underrated, Rituals from 1977, along with a few appearances in The West Wing) does beautifully as the often-drunk Father Malone.
Much like Halloween, gore wasn’t this movie’s strong point, but then again, it really didn’t need it. The atmosphere alone is worth much applause. The slow, creeping fog covering the whole of Antonio Bay is always good fun to view. Combine that with the score, and the lack of gore goes by pretty much unnoticed.
Really, aside from a few of the characters not having much to do, I’m having difficulty finding flaws to this movie. From the atmosphere to the acting, most everything about this movie is solid. Even the story is decently fun. Seen this plenty of times before, and I’ll see it plenty of times in the future.