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Film Title

The Fog


John Carpenter


  • Adrienne Barbeau as Stevie Wayne
  • Jamie Lee Curtis as Elizabeth Solley
  • Tom Atkins as Nick Castle
  • Janet Leigh as Kathy Williams
  • Hal Holbrook as Father Malone
  • John Houseman as Mr. Machen

The Fog is John Carpenter’s ghostly horror from the 80’s that focuses on a California fishing town celebrating its centenary, only for horror to engulf the festivities . Boasting suspense, a menacing score and chills, it is most certain to keep you scared throughout.

The Fog 1980The Californian town of Antonio Bay is just about to celebrate its centenary. Just before the clock strikes twelve, Mr. Machen, a salty old fisherman is telling a chilling story to young children around a campfire. It details the deaths of many men on a ship named the Elizabeth Dane, that was shipwrecked after seeing the light from a fire all those years ago as the fog rolled in. He tells the children that one day the ghosts of the men who died will rise from their watery grave and seek revenge. Strange phenomena start around the town with car alarms sounding for no reason and phones ringing with no reply. It is around this time that Father Malone, the local priest discovers an old journal in the walls of the church. To his horror he discovers how his grandfather was one of six conspirators who helped lure the ship to the rocks, as the people on board where lepers whose rich leader Blake wanted to establish a colony on Antonio Bay. Meanwhile various residents of the town become frightened by the glowing fog that keeps appearing from midnight to one. The residents consist of Stevie Wayne, the husky voiced, lighthouse bound DJ; town resident Nick Castle; runaway hitchhiker Elizabeth Solley and the organiser of the celebrations Kathy Williams. As events begin to take a sinister turn from jubilant celebration, the residents come to realise that the fog brings with it the spirits of the men who died and are now wanting justice for what happened to them by killing those in their path. Ghostly terror, suspenseful atmosphere and a competent cast make The Fog a creepy tale of nocturnal haunting.

John Carpenter creates a chilling atmosphere from the get go, with the prologue featuring Mr. Machen telling the ghost story around the fire as the children listen intently. It is a genuinely creepy and chilling scene that sets up the ghostly events that will soon follow. The setting makes for eerie viewing, especially the scenes of Stevie Wayne in the lighthouse as the day fades into night and the titular fog rolls in. As with most of his films, Carpenter creates a sonic embodiment of horror and bone chilling menace. From the sound of the fog horns droning to the pulsing electronic score, The Fog is fascinating and spine tingling to listen to. Some of the effects may be dated and some scenes may drag for longer than they need to, but these are minor flaws in this ghostly horror story.

The characters are played with ease by the cast. Adrienne Barbeau makes for a sexy yet warm scream queen who must do battle with the fog whilst in the lighthouse. Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins are good as the hitchhiker and her new boyfriend. Jamie’s real life mother Janet Leigh is uptight and stoic as the town organiser who comes to see that the town is built on lies rather than goodness. Interestingly, they don’t share the screen until late into the movie. Hal Holbrook is effective in the small but pivotal role of Father Malone, the first person to uncover the unholy deed responsible for this terrifying haunting. The cameo of John Houseman as he tells the chilling origins of the town is supremely crafted and bound to linger in the mind.

For spine chilling and ghostly horror, The Fog is the go to movie.