The sleepy seaside
village of Antonio Bay is about to learn the true meaning of the word "vengeance."
For this seemingly perfect town masks a guilty secret - a past steeped
in greed and murder. Exactly 100 years ago, a ship was horribly wrecked
under mysterious circumstances in a thick, eerie fog. Now, shrouded in
darkness, the long-dead mariners have returned from their watery grave
to exact a bloody revenge.
"To the ships at sea who can hear my voice, look across the water, into the darkness. Look for
- Stevie Wayne
This is one of the
first horror movies I remember watching as a child, along with The Shining and The Exorcist. However, The Fog did what those two movies
could not - it was the first time I had experienced the enjoyment of being
frightened. It was an amazing, fun feeling I hadn't known existed. Always
before, I'd either been scared to the point of nightmares or bored half
to death. The Fog was my first "rollercoaster" movie; it scared
me so badly that I couldn't wait for the next scary scene!
Shot up in beautiful
Point Reyes California, The Fog lives up to its name. There are
lots of lovely shots of the misty coastline, the cold, salty fishing town
and the ghostly, lonely sound of foghorns. This is a true Northern California
beach, where there are no bikinis or suntan lotion, but lots of layers
of sweaters and a ceaseless, chilling wind. It's a peaceful, isolated town
where nothing much ever happens...until one dark night, on the eve of the
towns 100th anniversary.
scene sets the mood for the rest of the film, as crusty old sea captain
John Houseman tells the village children the spooky story of the Elizabeth
Dane, the ship which crashed upon the rocky shore 100 years ago, a wreck
that no man on board survived. In almost no time at all, the children's
ghost story comes to life, and the rotting remains of the sailors who died
upon the Dane now rise up from their watery graves to take revenge upon
the town. Seems Mr. Houseman either left out some important details or
hadn't been informed of them: the ships crew were lepers, and they had
been murdered by the founding fathers of the now 100 year old town, their
gold (with which they hoped to build a leper colony and live in peace)
stolen from them.
Jamie Lee Curtis
is here, displaying all of her scream queen talents. Her real life mother,
Janet Leigh, is also here, playing a high strung but likable town official.
Nancy Loomis is very funny as the deadpan assistant to Ms. Leigh. And,
of course, Adrienne Barbeau is also here in the role of the strong-willed,
no nonsense DJ for the towns only radio station. Hal Holbrook turns up
as a drunken priest who really gets into his role of Town Martyr.
This film is
still effective. There's actually very little gore and most of the violence
is suggested, which makes it somehow scarier. The leper ghosts are almost
secondary monsters. The real menace is the Fog itself as it materializes
out of nowhere, rolls silently over the hills, covering everything like
a cold, white blanket and glowing malignantly. The Fog is definitely one
of the main characters, and is used to its full potential. Also very creepy
are the shots of the rotting ship with the torn sails floating silently
by in the foggy night, and a board with the word DANE carved upon it, which
suddenly begins to "bleed" seawater whilst a deep and demonic voice quotes
from Coleridge's epic (and very spooky) poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
By the time the ghosts actually make their appearance in all of their zombie-ish,
seaweed draped, slimy glory, you're already effectively freaked out.
This is a great
movie to watch on a dark and stormy night...or even a bright and sunny
day. It's still scary even 20+ years later. One of Carpenters best films.
- The band mentioned on the radio near the beginning is "The Coupe
DeVilles", which features director John Carpenter.
- Adrienne Barbeau's last line, "...look for the fog...", echoes
the last line from The Thing From Another World, "Watch the skies."
John Carpenter later remade that film as The Thing.
- John Carpenter named these characters after cast and crew from Carpenter's
previous film Halloween.
- The coroner is listed in the credits as "Dr. Phibes", an in-joke reference
to the Vincent Price character, Dr. Anton Phibes.
- The assistant to Father Malone shown in the beginning, known as
Bennett, is played by an uncredited John Carpenter.
- After a rough cut editing the movie appeared to be much too short
for a theatrical release (about 80min). Carpenter subsequently added the
prolog with the Old Captain telling Ghost stories to fascinated children
by a campfire.
- Blake, the lead ghost, was played by makeup specialist Rob Bottin.
When Bottin ask for the job, John Carpenter asked him to "stand up". Bottin
then expected Carpenter to say, "...and get out!" When Carpenter saw that
Bottin was a very large man, which was needed for the Blake character,
he was hired.
- Although this was essentially a low budget independent film, John
Carpenter chose to shoot the movie in anamorphic widescreen Panavision.
This decision gave the film a grander feel for the viewer so it didn't
seem like a low budget horror film.
- John Carpenter admitted that his inspiration for the story was
the British film The Crawling Eye which dealt with monsters hiding
in the clouds.