The Fog (1980)
I was always going to watch The Fog at some point in these #31DaysOfHorror, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon. It was meant to be a comfort pick for later, when things usually are a little more fraught, and the 4K restoration sort of made it ‘new’. But after Souleiman and his friends came from the sea for revenge in Atlantics, The Fog was the natural next pick.
John Carpenter is one of my favourite directors, and I still haven’t seen many of his films. The Fog is an old favourite. I watched it over and over again on VHS as a kid, recorded off the television, and it embedded Adrienne Barbeau’s radio DJ, alone in a lighthouse on the edge of town, as a lifelong crush. It’s also fun to see Jamie Lee Curtis transform from the terrorised highschooler in Halloween to a horny hitchhiker happy to have sex with the crusty Tom Atkins.
The fictional Antonio Bay is either on the Oregon coast, or California, but either way it faces the Pacific. The water is just as wild and potent here as in Dakar. I had forgotten the opening quote by Edgar Allen Poe, as well as the little HP Lovecraft references to Arkham Reef and Waitely on the coastguard radio. Debra Hill, who wrote and produced The Fog, knew her horror.
It’s a tight, fast-paced film, full of clever shots and details. It starts with a twenty-minute tour-de-force of atmospheric film-making. Cinematographer Dean Cundey gives a masterclass in creating mood and tension. The 4K version is beautiful too. It’s one of those films that you only have to watch for a couple of minutes, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, and before you know it, you’ve watched it to the end.