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Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)
Sound format: Mono
While celebrating its centenary birthday, a small Californian coastal town is visited by a ghostly fog containing an army of murderous spirits who take revenge for a terrible injustice.
Released on a wave of expectation following the worldwide success of John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN (1978), THE FOG surprised everyone by generating only moderate returns at the US box-office, though it's arguably the better of the two films. Beautifully photographed by Carpenter stalwart Dean Cundey (BACK TO THE FUTURE, JURASSIC PARK, etc.), this unassuming 'ghost story' opens on a lonely clifftop at midnight, where crusty old sea dog John Houseman tells an audience of wide-eyed children how their home town was built on the foundations of tragedy. As with HALLOWEEN, the pace is slow but steady, punctuated by a series of well-judged scares, and there's a relentless accumulation of details which belies the script's modest ambitions.
Jamie Lee Curtis headlines the movie opposite her real life mother Janet Leigh, though Hal Holbrook takes the acting honors as a frightened priest who realizes the town was founded on deception and murder. As the fog rolls in, the narrative reaches an apocalyptic crescendo, as the film's principal cast are besieged by zombie-like phantoms inside an antiquated church, in scenes reminiscent of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968). Scary stuff, to be sure, though Carpenter was forced to add new material during post-production in an effort to 'beef up' the movie's horror quotient, including a memorable late-night encounter between a fishing boat and the occupants of a ghostly schooner which looms out of the swirling fog (similar scenes would be added to HALLOWEEN II in 1981 for the same reasons, though under less agreeable circumstances). Production values are solid, and Carpenter cranks up the tension throughout, resulting in a small masterpiece of American Gothic. Highly recommended.
A solid, powerful story slowly developing and photographed with a unique sense for tension. THAT is `The Fog'. This story will leave a big impression on you and it's easily John Carpenter's best and most effective horror film. His most underrated as well, since people always refer to `Halloween' and `The Thing' when listing his best accomplishments as a director. Personally, I think The Fog is much more haunting and fascinating than these two, and it's one of the very few films that still scares me after all these years. Uniquely set in a small coast-town called Antonio Bay, where the inhabitants are preparing the celebrations for the town's hundredth anniversary. Only, they do not know that the genesis of their town went together with a devilish conspiracy, resulting in the unfortunate death of many seamen. These doomed victims rise again now, suddenly appearing from mysterious fogbanks that come from the ocean. If you're like me - a sucker for ghostly myths set in abandoned surrounding, The Fog will be one of your most satisfying purchases ever. Carpenter brilliantly builds up an unbearable tension through simple methods, like long shots of an isolated countryside and a chilling musical score (not as famous as his `Halloween' score but equally effective). The bloodshed and images of cold-hearted monsters are kept to a minimum in order to leave it up to your own imagination. And for once, this actually works! The detailed sequences in which the town gets surrounded by an inescapable fog is more than horrific enough. Forget about all the overblown, big-budgeted and so-called `horrifying' films This little, overlooked production scares the hell out of people since more than 20 years already. And it'll keep on doing so for yet another very long time!
The Fog is an instant horror classic from the first scene- a salty, old sailor tells a group of young children the true story of a ghostly, wrecked ship. The scene was so simple yet so thrilling that the viewer is hooked (no pun intended) for the rest of the film. The cast is great and the music sets the tone just as it did for Halloween. The best part of the film is that it made no attempt to explain everything away in a hokey horror sense (Why are the bodies returning to life?). Things happen simply because they happen. Much like Night of the Living Dead, the characters are not concerned with why they are in danger, but more concerned with getting out of danger. On a side note, John Carpenter has the best endings of any filmmaker on the market. Just as Halloween and The Thing both ended with a sense of foreboding and silent terror, The Fog ends with style and allows the viewer one final scare. A definite hit!!!
"The Fog" is one of the very few real scary movies. For some reason
phones that begin ringing on their own and car alarms that go off
without any reason, is still much more scarier than a CGI-ghost
appearing out of a wall. John Carpenter has always been a master in
creating scary, creepy scene's with minimal resources but maximum
scare. If you also liked this movies, I also recommend "In the Mouth of
Madness" to you, a criminally underrated horror masterpiece, also
directed by John Carpenter.
The movie has a good and original creepy story with awesome ghostly figures and gore, without any blood. It is notable that this movie had a low budget which works perfectly for the dark, depressing atmosphere. The movie is quite short and because of that the movie feels 'incomplete', if like not all of the events are covered in the story, this is also due to the fact that the movie has an open ending of course like almost every horror movie has. For some reason, because of this 'incomplete' feeling the movie feels even creepier.
The movie has some good actors in it. Remember this movie was made back in the days when it still was OK for well known actors to appear in horror movies. Present day, only young unknown actors seem to appear in horror movies. This movie stars; Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh ("Psycho") and Hal Holbrook. Not the worlds worst actors if you ask me. It's especially amazing that all of those three are in this one movie, considering the low budget of the movie.
This movie is perfect in what it tries to achieve. It creates a perfect horror atmosphere, with a typical creepy musical score by John Carpenter himself and has some good creepy moments in it. This is one of the rare real scary movies ever made. "The Fog" is an unique and original horror movie and sadly, horror movies like this will never be made again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*(Riverhead Free Library)
(I would like to print a sort of retraction here. I said that I had never seen any other John Carpenter movie, but I fibbed. I remember seeing 'Prince of Darkness', and wasn't too impresed by it, despite all the neat special effects. I'll reserve further comment for that page.)
My bias runs towards the traditional ghost story and variations on that theme.
All the elements of a good ghost story are in 'The Fog': an ancient crime, retribution, foreshadowing, atmosphere and discovery of why things are going wrong. The film is most powerful because of what is not shown or explained. It's not even necessary to see the faces of the drowned lepers - just the glowing eyes and the sense of rotted bodies is more than enough thank you!
Antonio Bay is celebrating its anniversary as a town. However, the residents don't know the terrible secrets behind the founding of their township. 100 years ago, Blake, a rich man, was afflicted with the disease of leprosy. He wanted to use his own money to establish a colony for him and others like him. The town fathers back then, though, didn't want a leper colony close by. They pretended to be sympathetic, then hatched a conspiracy to lure Blake's ship to the rocks where it crashed and all on board drowned. The town fathers had nothing against taking Blake's gold, however.
You see, this is one of those movies where you have to pay attention - sometimes that is asking a lot with the public's short attention span of today. Pay particular attention to Hal Holbrook, who plays Father Malone, when he is reading from the diary that falls out of the church walls. That will go a long way in explaining the ending.
I also love this movie because it was made before all the advances in computer technology. There is an 'organic' feel and look to the special effects - very unlike all the computer-generated tricks you see in movies of today. People had to be more creative back then. Today, technology is so relied upon that many in Hollywood have become lazy. (I still marvel at how Demille did the parting of the Red Sea in 'The Ten Commandments - way before all these computer advances!)
My main complaint with the fog is that the progression of events is a bit choppy and uneven, but that doesn't stop you from enjoying the movie. Also take note of how this is one of those flicks where you can read all the credits and know who did what.
It annoys me that today's movies, when they run them on television, do this split-screen nonsense and roll the credits so darn fast you can't see who worked on the film.
Consensus is mixed on this film. Some say it's Carpenter's worse. I can't say that because I haven't many of his films. I'm not a fan of the slasher-type stuff. I love the more subtle chilling effects, the power of the unspoken word or a certain look, etc.
I'm 43 now, and when I'm talking to the 20-somethings about scary movies from years ago, I make it a point to bring up 'The Fog'!
John Houseman sits around a campfire telling children about the story of a ship that went down near their home Antonio Bay and how the drowned sailors will reappear 100 years to that very night in the fog. It is a wonderful beginning to a very chilling film, directed by the modern horror meister John Carpenter. As with most of his films, Carpenter creates a scary atmosphere through moody settings(the California coastline, a lighthouse, an old Church), relentless mood music as in Halloween, good character acting(Holbrook, Houseman, Curtis, Leigh), and a claustrophobic feeling of something vice-like gripping you. The story has some plot problems, but none enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the film. Adrienne Barbeau is as lovely as ever in the lead, and the film is credible amidst the background of supernatural actions.
"The Fog" has the special place in my heart-it is one of the first horror movies I have ever seen.Everyone knows the plot,so let's concentrate on the other things.First of all the photography by Dean Cundey is absolutely brilliant(Cundey worked together with Carpenter on "Halloween" and "The Thing")."The Fog" certainly delivers some scares-the ghostly sea crew appears as shadows and aren't seen much.Jamie Lee Curtis is perfect as one of the leads and it's nice to see her famous mother,Janet Leigh in the film!All in all if you haven't seen this one check it out as soon as possible.A must-see for horror fans.9 out of 10.
"Scary then and still scary now." That's what a lot of people say about
this movie, and I have no argument against that. I'm not particularly a
fan of "ghost stories" but this is well done and still looks good,
which is why they keep coming out with DVDs on this film and a recent
re-make. It's a classic.
Unfortunately, the re-make didn't have the cast this film had. Ladies go first in this "original" with Adrienne Barbeau in the lead as "Stevie Wayne," a small- town disc-jockey whose studio is a lighthouse. "Wayne" has a sexy voice that complements the story and adds a nice touch to it. Then there's the real life mother-daughter duo of Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis. The male lead is played by someone I am not familiar with, Charles Cyphers, but he does a fine job. John Houseman gets good billing here but he's only in the film the first three minutes!
The "star" of this film, however, is the silvery, luminescent fog....a special-effect that was eerie 25 years ago and still has that effect. The films only lasts 90 minutes to the story zips by, the violence is effective but not overdone and the suspense is terrific. The only annoying aspect of the film is the typically-weird theology mumbo-jumbo with another weak priest (Hal Holbrook, in this case) shown. Hollywood loves showing priests who are pathetic. The rest of the movie is fun to watch.
While not John Carepenter's best movie, "The Fog" is an atmospheric
ghost story that delivers a few good chills. We can't expect our
beloved horror movies from the 70's and 80's to hold up forever, and
"The Fog" has become a little dated over time.
"The Fog" is very scenic and has a great ensemble cast including Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh (Jamie's real life mother), and a small cameo by John Houseman just to name a few.
I particularly liked the premise of Jamie Lee Curtis's character Elizabeth Solley, a solo hitchhiker on her way to Vancouver who gets picked up by local resident Nick Castle (Tom Atkins), sleeps with him the first night they meet, and then never leaves his side through the rest of the movie as the terror of "The Fog" unfolds.
Boy, you just HAVE to love the 80's!!!
The small coastal town of Antonio Bay is celebrating it's 100 year anniversary. However, also 100 years ago a ship sailed along its shores and a curse was born. Unbeknownst to the new residents, the sailors of that vessel have come back, walking through the nightly glowing fog to kill and avenge the loss of the treasure that was stolen from them.
I won't say more as not to give the movie away. For nostalgic purposes, this film is definitely worth a viewing. If it's been a very long time since you've watched "The Fog" and you don't remember it all too well (as was the case with me) it's worth a second look indeed.
"The Fog" is not bloodbath/slasher horror, but it does make for a good spooky late night film. With the current remake currently in production and to be released by 10-05, what better time to revisit the original!!
I watched The Fog for the first time since the early 1980's the other
John Carpenter and Debra Hill did a fine job with this one.
The good points of the movie deal with the overall story and the setting of the film. The story is explained fully during the movie and the setting in California is superb and creepy. The music is also disturbing. The background music coupled with the uneasiness and lonliness of the town, Antonio Bay, is very effective. No gore whatsoever in this one so the whole family may watch this movie together. When I was about 10 or 11 years old this movie did scare me quite a bit. The only negative was the characterization. No character development at all but that was probably intended. Jamie Lee Curtis's role is strange. Some references to Halloween are also found in the film. i.e. Look out for the name of one of the main characters.
Overall a good movie. Not great but good. 6 out of 10.
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