The Fog (1980) Poster

(1980)

User Reviews

Review this title
381 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
10/10
*Still My Favorite Ghost Flick!
riverheadestelle28 March 2005
Warning: 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'!
56 out of 68 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Old-fashioned horror movie works like a charm
Libretio1 April 2005
THE FOG

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.
105 out of 133 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A classic! One of John Carpenter's Best!
ivo-cobra88 November 2015
The Fog (1980) is a classic horror film from John Carpenter! Right after Halloween, this is a John Carpenter's BEST horror movie!! Much better (as always) than the remake. The remake sucked ass, It took me 3.hrs of watching the movie till I finish it. I will never watch the remake again. This film is fast paced not boring not too over long and goes with the story perfect! It is one of my personal favorite horror movies.

It is interesting movie and very intense horror film.I absolutely love this classic horror flick about revenge that began 100. years ago As the Californian coastal town of Antonio Bay is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary, paranormal activity begins to occur at the stroke of midnight. Revenge ghost keep visiting Antonio Bay and killing people ancestors who were responsible for killing them 100.years ago and stealing their gold. Seriously I love this movie to death. It is American Horror classic flick I love it. I can always enjoy watching this film, I had fun with it and the film is Entertaining, a great horror s lasher genre from the 80's.

According to legend, six sailors killed when shipwrecked 100 years ago in Antonio Bay, California, will rise to avenge their deaths when a strange glowing fog appears. The town is commemorating the centenary of the shipwreck and Father Malone discovers a diary kept by an ancestor; he learns that the ship was wrecked by six founding fathers of the town. The vengeance of their victims will be the death of six people. As daylight fades, a mysterious fog envelops the town and begins to strew panic and death. The pain plot to film that evolves a ghosts 100.years ago that were betrayed and robbed, now 100.years anniversary, they are coming for revenge as the fog and killing people.

One of my favorite best horror flicks from John Carpenter. The Fog (1980) was the perfect movie to watch on Halloween or at least during Halloween season. I think if Jamie Lee Curtis maybe got the DJ role instead of the hitchhiker one, she probably would've said nicer things about it. Even though I know it's unrelated, I think this is the closest we'll ever get to an American 'Blind Dead' remake. The Fog was intended as PG, but Carpenter put in stronger scenes due to a negative test screening. He mentioned that on the Fear On Film on the Criterion DVD/Blu-Ray for Video.

The Original movie The Fog was a classic. What I do not understand is Debra Hill produced the Original Fog and The Remake and the remake was just awful. It was not scary, the effects were terrible, acting was terrible and the new Stevie Wayne was just insulting and terrible. Adrienne Barbeau was awesome as DJ Stevie Wayne in The Fog she also co started a year later in my all time favorite Sci-Fi Action flick Escape From New York (1981) in which she is the beautiful in both movies , but In Escape From New York she is deadly Maggie. There are a lot actors and actress who worked with John Carpenter before and in the future films. Jamie Lee Curtis who played hitchhiker also played 2.years earlier in Halloween (1978) first classic Carpenter horror film. Sorry I don't like that movie, but I love this movie. I can go with this film anytime. Tom Atkins he also co started a year later in Escape From New York alongside with Adrienne Barbeau. They never shared screen time together in that film and they never shared any screen time in this on either.

It's a favorite of mine, and that version of the movie beats the tar off of the 2005 version.They're not even alike, and the second one to me is just plain fake! This one has so much more human interaction and realism. Great cast, maintained the creepy atmosphere throughout and plenty of good frights. I loved this movie from start to finish! It is a good ghost story and an awesome horror flick of mine! I love this film to death! I love it!!! I love Adrienne In this this film. I Love her on air voice and a terrified scene on the end of the movie when she had to face the ghosts alone. The Fog (1980) it is still all time classic and Everyone is still talking about this horror film today!

The rating I am giving to this film is 10/10 it deserves it and it is John Carpenter's underrated best horror film for me. It is my 6th favorite best Carpenter film.
58 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Creepy Atmosphere
BaronBl00d22 November 1999
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.
55 out of 68 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A film that is truly terrifying?!? …It exists and it's named `the Fog'
Coventry29 April 2004
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!
113 out of 148 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A rare real scary movie.
Boba_Fett113814 August 2005
"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.

10/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
87 out of 115 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A frightening film
Batman-3628 April 1999
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!!!
83 out of 111 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Still creepy after 25 years!
HumanoidOfFlesh29 November 2002
"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.
47 out of 64 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Forget the Remake. Carpenter's Original Ghost Story is Deeply Chilling.
evabba6 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
After watching the lack-lustre 2005 remake of Carpenter's "The Fog", I quickly ran to my nearest television set and inserted this DVD into my DVD player just so I can recall the days when horror film's were made without the over-use of annoying CGI.

This film (along with that other Carpenter film, whats-its-name?) is a testament to the fact that you do not need a $30 million dollar budget to create an effective scary ghost movie. There is no CGI here only talent, mood, a great location and a creepy story.

The story takes place in Antonio Bay. A depressingly gloomy but charming seaside town whose inhabitants become the victims of a thick, glowing fog carrying the angry ghosts of lepers who were killed in a shipwreck a century earlier. What makes this ghost story original in my opinion is that the ghosts depicted here are not transparent, floating phantasms that move objects and say "boo". They are walking dead guys, covered in rags, dripping in salt water and armed with knives, hooks, swords and possibly every other sharp, metallic object you can think of and simply slice up their unfortunate victims.

The cast is first-rate. The stand-out performer is Carpenter's then- wife, Adrienne Barbeau who plays Stevie Wayne. A sexy radio disc-jockey who becomes trapped inside a light-house while the rest of the cast seeks refuge in an old church outside of town. Scream-Queens Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh and Nancy Loomis co-star as the other luck-less female victims and put their screaming talents to good use. The legendary John Houseman makes a great cameo appearance in the opening sequence, setting the creepy tone and the man sure knows how to tell a tale. The great cast, the location, the creative fog effects and a simple yet effective Carpenter score all contribute in making this low- budget chiller a clear winner.

However, it should be stated that "The Fog" is not perfect. Despite a chilling first 20 minutes, the film takes its time in building its tension and therefore drags a bit. And even those who love this movie will admit that it's not as effective as Carpenter's "Halloween" and under close inspection, plot holes become too apparent. But us fans don't seem to care since we all know that this film is not intended to be taken too seriously. It's about a killer fog for crying out loud. Anyone approaching this for realism needs to re-evaluate their criteria for viewing horror movies since many of these genre films are simply made to entertain (and to scare the pants off you) and if you are a horror fan (like I am) you should find plenty to like here. By combining several different branches off the horror genre and using it to great effect, "The Fog" is a combination of such classics as "Halloween" and "Night of the Living Dead".

So forget all of this CGI stuff for a minute and see what a true horror movie should really be like. "The Fog" is simple yet deeply chilling and atmospheric. Follow it with Carpenter's ultimate classic (you know which movie I'm talking about) and double your pleasure.

There's a reason why this low-budget shocker is so beloved by fans of the genre. Recommended.

3.5 out of 5.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A First Rate Ghost Film
bayardhiler3 October 2012
In "The Fog", John Carpenter manages to accomplish what few other directors are able to do: create a very chilling and spooky ghost film, a real rarity in Hollywood history. I have fond memories of watching this with my mother for the first time at night and remembering both of us having goosebumps. The movie begins with an old sea captain (played brilliantly by John Houseman) telling a group of children around a fire about a ship that crashed into the rocks because they saw a strange light in the area. All the men drowned, though their spirits never rested. Instead, they lie in wait for the day when they will take their revenge on those who wronged them. A very effective opening indeed. Though it does not end there. All around town, strange things begin to happen: car horns and lights start going off, glass is blown apart in local shops, and a strange fog seemly comes out of nowhere. Beware of this, because there's something very powerful in that fog. So many things make this movie what it is. First, the effects are simple but effective. Scenes are shot in a wide pan vision, giving the film a broader look, the fog is so simple but yet so intimidating at the same time. Then there is the acting. I don't think one could ask for a better cast then what we have here: Tom Atkins, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, to name a few. But perhaps what really makes the movie what it is, is the fact that everyone loves a good ghost story, and John Carpenter, along with Debra Hill, manage to give us just that. PS. Remember to beware of the fog.
15 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
The Fog Keeps Rolling!
ccthemovieman-111 February 2006
"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.
35 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Stylish, Creepy…but a little Foggy!
Boggman23 June 2005
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!!

Recommend!
42 out of 64 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Stay Away From the Glowing Fog
claudio_carvalho2 November 2006
One hundred years ago, on April 21st, the wealthy leper Blake bought the vessel Elizabeth Dane and moved with his friend from a leper colony to California to build a town for them to live with more comfort. However, while crossing a fog in Spivey Point, they were misguided by a campfire onshore, steering the course of the vessel toward the light and crashing her against the rocks. On the present days, on the celebration of the centenary of the fishing town Antonio Bay, a glowing fog appears, bringing the zombies of Blake and his crew to kill the residents. Father Robert Malone (Hal HolbrooK) finds the hidden journal of his grandfather in the wall of his church, and discloses that Antonio Bay was built with Blake's gold. Further, a group of conspirators including his grandfather lighted the fire to sink Elizabeth Dane and robber Blake's fortune and now the ghosts of Blake and his crew are seeking for revenge on the locals.

"The Fog" is a dark ghost story of this master of horror John Carpenter, who deserves an Oscar his great filmography. The cinematography and special effects are great, giving a scary atmosphere without the need of gore. It is nice to see again a gorgeous twenty-three years old Jamie Lee Curtis acting with her mother Janet Leigh. The screenplay builds the horror in a low pace, but increasing the tension. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Bruma Assassina" ("The Assassin Fog")
16 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
A Glowing Review
cewasmuthiii19 November 2002
I watched The Fog for the first time since the early 1980's the other night. 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.
32 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
00:00: 21st April, 1980.
hitchcockthelegend11 October 2012
The Fog is directed by John Carpenter who also co-writes the screenplay with Debra Hill. It stars Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, Jamie Lee Curtis and Nancy Loomis. Carpenter also scores the music and cinematography is by Dean Cundey.

The Californian fishing town of Antonio Bay is preparing to celebrate its 100 year anniversary. As the clock ticks past midnight strange events start to occur around the town, it seems that the town has a secret and that secret is back to make a point...

Not as praised as Halloween and The Thing from John Carpenter's early horror output, The Fog sees the director tackle the ghost story premise. For many who lapped it up back when the 80s began, it still enthrals and holds in its eerie vice like grip, for others in this desensitised age of gore and cgi overkill, it proves to be a film unable to justify the love poured on it by the fans. Which is a shame.

Being able to appreciate the craft of John Carpenter back in 1980 certainly helps to avert some harsh criticisms thrown its way, because Carpenter has achieved, pound for pound, a better ghost story on a fraction of the budget afforded big Hollywood genre productions that have been made since. That's not to say it's perfect, for it's not, Carpenter himself has never been wholly satisfied with the final film, this even after re-shooting a third of the film after originally making a picture reliant on suggestion over presence, but with some smoke machines, a synthesiser, a game cast and a spooky revenge story on the page, he's made a sub-genre classic.

Carpenter has somehow managed to blend old fashioned ghostly goings on within a modern setting, that of a fishing town that proves perfect once the sun goes down and the town tries to sleep. You can practically smell the salt in the sea, such is the knack of the director for setting the mood. Then with minimalistic panache, the director marries up fog with synth beats to create maximum dread, and then he teases, perfectly, by only letting us glimpse his ghosts as dark figurines, making us fill in the blanks as to what they look like, where armed with our imagination they prove to be more scary than some CGI enhanced entity created in the blockbuster age. The killings that follow carry a high gruesome factor, and we don't need (or get) buckets of blood for them to impact, and the suspense is jacked up so much in the final quarter it proves to be edge of the seat stuff as the spring finally uncoils.

Filmed in widescreen to give off a higher end production value, which works, Carpenter surrounds himself with familiar folk and inserts in jokes and homages that also keep the film grounded and a mile away from Hollywood excess. From character names to Hitchcock stars and references (Bodega Bay anyone?), the pic feels exactly what it is, a film made with love; Carpenter even cameos at the start of the film and it is a world away from the smugness of a Shyamalan. Yes there are problems, Curtis and Atkins are strangers who meet and in the blink of an eye they are in bed together, which looks to be a bad edit, while the gathering of principal characters in one place for the finale is a bit of a contrivance. Yet these are minor irritants, because The Fog is a film that once loved will always stay loved. In 78 Carpenter plotted the course for the slasher formula to follow, in 1980 he helped realign (see also Peter Medak's The Changeling) the good ship ghost story that was on rocky waters. Low budget creepy excellence. 9/10
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
One of Carpenter's best movies...
rainking_es7 April 2006
A little classic of horror cinema. Pretty simple, short and without any pretensions but to make you have a terrific time. These are three important requirements to make a nice horror film, aren't they?.

In my opinion "halloween" is the best movie that Carpenter has ever made, it is the most scary and the most popular, but "The fog" is way above of other pitiful products from JC such as "The Live!" or "Ghost from Mars".

"The fog" has grown old in a very good shape, maybe because of its simplicity. It is perfect for a horror spree, with some pals and a six-pack (a head).

*My rate: 6/10
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Atmospheric!
AhmedSpielberg991 November 2018
Lock your doors. Bolt your windows. There's something in THE FOG; there's an atmosphere full of dread and eeriness that I haven't seen it created like this before!

As he did in Halloween, Carpenter did an equally fascinating job in building up The Fog's idiosyncratic atmosphere from the get-go until the very end; the rich-colored shadow-drenched cinematography by Dean Cundey, the spine-chilling score that also has an ancient tale vibe into it to suit the story perfectly, the campfire intro scene, and almost every subtle nuance of the movie's style made The Fog one of the most atmospheric horror films ever.

Unfortunately, The Fog is also Carpenter's most poorly-written movie I've seen so far. The storytelling is all over the place, the characters are neither interesting, nor well-established (the performances, however, are all great, especially from Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Adrienne Barbeau.), and the plot is far from being cohesive; tons of plot-holes aside, the movie even feels if it forgot what it has established from its beginning, and only returned to it at the third act.

I wasn't prepared to see these glaring storytelling inadequacies in a Carpenter film, but what disappointed me even more is The Fog's lack of flexible and effective camera work that is necessary for a horror movie. When it comes to building up to Jumpscare scenes, John Carpenter is a real master, and there is no better example than Halloween. But here all the jump scares fall entirely flat, and felt so cheap and poorly-executed. Not to mention that the assault and attack scenes are completely ruined by too many cuts. It's so weird that Halloween, which came out two years before The Fog, seems to be way more fresh and modern than this movie.

Honestly, I became more interested in the characters and the story from the middle of the second act. The third act is very good, and full of intense moments, but it's a bit rushed, especially near the very end.

(6.5/10)
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Some centennial pirate ghosts terrifying and frightening a modern-day fishing little town
ma-cortes21 March 2011
Superior version from John Carpenter and Debra Hill (Carpenter's wife and producer) story with believable casting and astonishing scenes that occur on a California coastal little town threatened by a hundred-year-old shipwreck and subsequently horrifying people . This is a grade-A chiller based on writing credits by Carpenter and Hill and quotation by Edgar Allan Poe , it concerns about a centennial seaside village of Antonio Bay , California . The sleepy and cursed location was built by the founders over the victims of a horrible crime . Nowadays some Zombies like ghost-pirates are seeking vendetta for their deaths and are returning to revenge themselves on the town inhabitants which stole them their gold these hundred years before and they claim retribution . Undercover of the fog they carry out their vicious attacks , murders and mayhem against the residents( the priest Hal Holbrook , the Mayor Janet Leigh, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Loomis). A young girl (Janet Lee Curtis) with similar name to the ghost ship, Elizabeth Dane, and her boyfriend (Tom Atkins)confront against the vengeful ghosts and a radio commentator (role of Adrienne Barbeau who subsequently married John Carpenter) tries to salve her son.

The picture contains suspense, horror, chills, scabrous killings , shocks and there's plenty of blood and guts . The movie takes accent as suspense well as fantasy with the fog apparition. This splendid original film is stylishly made displaying an intelligent treatment with magnificent actors and acceptable special effects . The main casting is pretty good as Jamie Lee Curtis , Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins and the supporting cast are frankly well as Hal Holbrook , Janet Leigh and George Buck Flower , among others. Gore and violence abound including decent scares with tense horror sequences . The grisly murders are scary and creepy ; as the ghosts execute a real massacre with nauseating and gruesome assassinations by hooks , knifes or cleaver. Eerie and frightening musical score is composed by means of electronic realization by the same John Carpenter . Director John Carpenter is in familiar ground with this well-done tale about eerie phantoms of eighteenth-century back from the dead . The film was realized during his best period in the 70s and 8os when he directed classics as ¨Halloween¨, ¨Christine¨, ¨Big trouble in little China¨, ¨They live¨, ¨1997 escape from N.Y .¨and ¨The thing¨ . It's recently (2005)remade by Rupert Wainwhright (Stigmata) with Tom Welling , Maggie Grace ,Selma Blair, Sara Bostford , Kenneth Welsh and was also produced by Debra Hill(recently deceased) and Carpenter and resulted to be a formulaic and regular attempt to cash in on the success of original and superior The Fog. The movie will appeal to terror fans but contains a roller-coaster dark suspense and disturbing fear .
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An effective little chiller that is better than its effects would suggest
bob the moo16 November 2005
The small coastal town of Antonio Bay is celebrating its 100th year since being founded. However the residents are not aware of the tragic history of their small town and think nothing of the wider significance of the date as they prepare for a big party; they don't even put together all the strange things that start happening on the day itself. However when a small boat is lost in a dense fog that contains a mysterious ship some residents begin to suspect something more sinister than meteorology is at work.

With a remake in the cinemas and the fact that I had just returned from the coast of northern California I thought I'd revisit The Fog having not seen it for almost 15 years. Trading on the very hallmarks that made John Carpenter famous (before he couldn't buy a hit movie) The Fog is an effective chiller even if it won't scare those accustomed to more gory, modern fare. Quite short and to the point, the film makes good use of the fog to draw tension out of every scene and overcomes the potential silliness of a smoke machine working overtime behind the scenes. Instead the tension is consistent and produces a good few jumps and build ups along the way; the ghosts are kept well hidden so that the limited effects don't undermine them by totally exposing them. Carpenter uses his usual minimalist electronic score to good effect, playing it low and constant like a heartbeat.

The famous cast help the convincing atmosphere and do more than just run and scream. Barbeau leads the cast well from the solitude of her lighthouse and she helps keep the tension up with her delivery. Curtis and Leigh both have smaller roles but they add class to the film and they "do" scared well. Atkins makes for a good male lead and he gets solid help from Holbrook and a few others in supporting roles. The zombie creatures move slowly but are a good presence.

Overall this is a solid chiller from the days when Carpenter seemed to know what he was doing. The low budget effects are covered up by solid delivery and a consistently tense atmosphere which is supported by convincing performances and Carpenter's usual low, steady consistent score.
10 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Fantastic & wonderfully atmospheric horror from John Carpenter when he was still capable of turning in a decent film...
poolandrews7 June 2005
The Fog is set in the small North Californian coastal fishing town of Antonio Bay which will be celebrating it's 100th anniversary very soon. But the town of Antonio Bay has a dark history as Father Malone (Hal Holbrook) discovers when he finds his Great Grandfather's journal, it speaks of murder, theft & thick fog... Late one night out at sea on a small trawler named the Sea Grass three men are listening to KAB Radio, the local station when the female D.J. Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau who was director Carpenter's real life wife when they made The Fog) warns of a fog bank. The fog engulfs the Sea Grass & the three men on board, Al Williams (John F. Goff), Dick Baxter (James Canning) & Tommy Wallace (George 'Buck' Flower) are all brutally murdered by ghostly figures that seem to travel inside the fog itself as if part of it. The next morning a friend of Al's Nick Castle (Tom Atkins) & a hitchhiker named Elizabeth Solley (Jamie Lee Curtis) search for him at the docks but is told the Sea Grass never came back. Nick & Elizabeth take a boat to look for the Sea Grass & soon find it floating out at sea, seemingly deserted but on closer inspection they discover the body of Dick. Meanwhile Stevie has a friend who works in a local whether station named Dan O'Bannon (Charles Cyphers) who reported the wind blowing in the opposite direction from which she had seen the fog visibly travelling, this along with the disappearance of the Sea Grass & when her young son Andy (Ty Micthell) brings home a mysterious piece of wood from the beach which seems possessed Stevie begins to think that the fog contains something evil & she might just be right...

Co-written & directed by John Carpenter who also has a small uncredited cameo as Bennett during the opening sequence set in the Church, I think The Fog is probably his second best film after The Thing (1982) & was Carpenter's first film after Halloween (1978) which was a huge hit. The script by Carpenter & producer Debra Hill is at heart a simple ghost story & a terrific ghost story it is as well. It's extremely well told, paced & realised. The Fog is deliberately slow to start with, although it never becomes boring, well to me it never but I suppose if you have a short attention span or are impatient then The Fog may drag in places for you. The layers of the story build as it reaches it's climax & is never less than interesting & gripping all the way. The central premise of The Fog works really well as I think fog in itself is creepy on it's own, fog plays on our fear of the unknown as it surrounds you & if it's thick enough your visibility is literary zero & anything or anyone could be right in front of you & you wouldn't know it. The character's are given just enough personality so we care about them which is essential for a scary film such as The Fog to be a success & they are pretty likable, The Fog has two main character's who actually never meet on screen & only briefly talk to each other on the phone towards the end as we live through & witness their individual experiences with The Fog & this twin perspective worked well. Carpenter's direction & film-making technique is excellent in The Fog, his use & placement of both silence & sound is great, he uses plenty of slow pans & establishing shots to really build the atmosphere & tension. The cinematography by Dean Cundey also helps immensely, very simple yet at the same time very striking. The Fog is also pretty creepy & has some good scares throughout, I particularly liked the image of a thick fog outside someone's house & then suddenly there is loud baning at the door, unable to see who it is out of the window they must open the door & discover who or what is there. The ghosts themselves are really only seen in silhouette except one shot at the end when one of them is seen to have green rotten skin riddled with wriggling worms. There isn't much blood or gore, just some quickly cut scenes featuring the ghosts killing people with various hooks & blades. The acting is very good from all involved. Overall I found The Fog to be a gripping, wonderfully atmospheric, creepy & highly entertaining way to have spent 85 minutes of my time. I actually prefer The Fog to Halloween, a great horror film that is an absolute must for genre fans & anyone else looking for for some classic creepy horror. Highly recommended although it may be a little slow for some, but I'm sure if you put the effort in you will be rewarded with a great film.
11 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Today's forecast is foggy with a 90% percent chance of EVIL!!
marcus_stokes200025 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
*SPOILERS*

It's the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Antonio Bay, a quiet little coastal town in California, and celebrations are in order.

But an uninvited guest is coming to town... a dangerous fog, a glowing fog, a DEADLY fog, which hides ghosts who want revenge on the town.

Who will survive The Fog? This is an atmospheric, intense and chilling ghost story which manages to scare not with blood and/or gore, but with atmosphere and foreboding, like in the siege in the church scene, or the scene where the Fog comes down the hill to Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau)'s lighthouse. Director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill (RIP) opted for a change of pace after the classic slasher 'HalloweeN', and managed to bring even more terror out.

And remember, 'what you can't see won't hurt you... it'll kill you!' The Fog (1980): 10/10.
12 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
All we need is a very big hair dryer...
dfranzen7019 March 2019
A mysterious, bluish fog rolls in on a California community, 100 years to the day that the town was founded. Maybe it has something to do with the ship that sank off its coast a century ago, eh? Maybe it's pirate ghosts! Or ghost pirates! Either way, someone's gonna die! Carpenter's followup to Halloween isn't a slasher flick, although Jamie Lee Curtis again stars and the music is eerily similar. Quite suspenseful and definitely underrated. No glaring plot holes, always a plus. Fine acting, too, even by Barbeau (in her debut) and even though she has virtually no scenes with anyone else. And check out John Houseman as the old sailor telling the campfire story! Fine stuff. Damn fine stuff.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Atmospheric Ghost Story By John Carpenter.
AaronCapenBanner12 September 2013
John Carpenter, fresh of his triumphant turn as director of "Halloween" directs and writes this atmospheric, chilling(though at times violent) ghost story of vengeful spirits from a sunken ship coming to ruin the centenary celebrations of Antonio Bay, a coastal community with a terrible secret that a priest,(nicely played by Hal Holbrook) uncovers on a foggy April morning at the turn of midnight. Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Adrienne Barbeau, Charles Cyphers and John Houseman round out a fine cast that help bring this underrated film to life, which also has an effective music score, and a whopping good ending.

Was recently re-released on DVD by Shout/Scream factory in an excellent Special Edition that really brings out the texture of the widescreen(don't see this pan & scan!)
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Underrated Carpenter horror yarn
george.schmidt24 April 2003
THE FOG (1980) **1/2 Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, Tom Atkins, John Houseman. Sometimes scary-in-the-right places horror yarn about a sleepy seacoast town celebrating its 150th anniversary only to be hindered by a mysterious fog containing vengeance seeking pirate ghosts with surprisingly little gore. Atmospheric with a nice touch of having heroine Barbeau as a radio station manager/dj sequestered in a lighthouse and being trapped in the oncoming horror. Directed by horror meister John Carpenter (who has a blink-and-you'll miss cameo at the film's beginning) with an asterisk notably for uniting real-life daughter/mother scream team Curtis and Leigh ("Halloween" and "Psycho") covering two generations of thrillers.
10 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
"The Fog" still stands as a great classic supernatural thriller and a jewel in the crown of Horror King John Carpenter
ersinkdotcom12 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I led a rather sheltered life as a child and teen. My parents were strict about the movies I could see and were completely against me taking in any type of supernatural horror films. I would go to my father's house during the summers and that's when I would catch up on all the great films I missed for the past year. One of my fondest memories is watching "The Fog" one night around dusk with my cousin.

It made a lasting impact on me that was evident five minutes after the credits rolled. Back in the early eighties, big trucks would drive through my father's neighborhood right before the sun went down and spray for mosquitoes. The insecticide created a thick fog that slowly crawled up to the house from the street. Needless to say, I was terrified.

The little coastal town of Antonio Bay is about to pay for the sins of its forefathers. 100 years after being misled to their rocky demise during a dense fog, a phantom ship full of ghostly specters exacts their revenge on the ancestors who plotted their deaths. No one is safe until the six living relatives of the conspirators are put to death.

"The Fog" is rather tame besides some bad language and a scene of Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins discussing her art in bed together. For all intents and purposes it's a study in visual minimalism. A lot of violence and killing is insinuated but happens off-screen, which gives it a classic feel missing in more graphic and gory films. It's truly a practice in the school of "What you don't see is scarier than what you do." It's a lesson many filmmakers could stand to learn today.

"The Fog" is one of those special horror films I hold up as one of the greatest ghost stories of all time. I look at it as an introduction to horror movies and used it as such on my son. It's dear to my heart and my experience seeing it for the first time will stay with me forever.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed