The Fog (1980)

Okay, two things before I start.

Firstly, The Fog is my favourite horror movie of all time, so expect very little criticism in this review.
Second, if you’re looking for a review of the remake (2005), then you’ve come to the wrong place. It will NEVER BE REVIEWED HERE, as to us, it doesn’t qualify as horror.
Oh, unless we do a feature on ‘worst horror movies ever’. Then it might get a mention.

On with the review.

Written by the legendary John Carpenter and his then wife, Debra Hill, The Fog was squeezed the fognicely between Halloween and Halloween 2, during a period that would be seen by most horror enthusiasts as a golden age.

The film opens on an old sailor type guy spinning a yarn to a group of kids around a camp-fire. It’s a great opening, as the whole fog idea is in essence a classic ghost story.

Cut to Antonio Bay, a small fishing village which is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The residents are keen to start celebrations, but strange things are happening. Objects move on their own, and a mysterious presence seems to be causing mayhem. It all feels as if something is coming, something ominous approaching from accross the sea, and it’s hiding in the fog!

Celebrate or decapitate?

As the film progresses and the anniversary celebration draws near, the pace picks up, and the villagers realise that there is a very real chance that this ghostly Fog could seriously reduce the population in a painful and bloody way.
Who’s going to eat all of the party nibbles if everyone has been chopped up into little pieces?!

For its time, the effects are excellent. From the glowing fog, to the horrible beings that lurk within it.
And you know what? You hardly see anything of them. And that’s what makes this film so good.
Film makers nowadays seem to prefer to show us everything, every little gory detail in its full CGI glory. Cool at times, but leaving little to the imagination. And for me, that’s why most modern horror isn’t spooky or scary – it’s just disturbing. And I don’t want to be disturbed time and time again. Whereas I will always come back for more if a film spooks me!

The best ingredients.

So, the story is excellent. The effects, for their time are spot on. What else?
Ah, the cast, of course! To be honest, you couldn’t ask for much more.

the fog

the fog

First off you have the hero, Nick Castle, played by Tom Atkins. As actors go, Atkins is a bit of a legend, Leading in Halloween 3, and appearing in Creepshow, Night of the Creeps and most recently, My Bloody Valentine (3D).

Nick Castle is a bolshy guy who’s involved in the local fishing trade, and happily picks up hitchhikers. He strikes gold when he offers a lift to Elizabeth Solley (Jamie Lee Curtis) as the trip coincides with the start of the strange events. As a result, Elizabeth stays the night at Nicks place, purely so that he can protect her (oh, and maybe have a quick boink).

Add to the mix Jamie Lee’s Mum, Janet Leigh (the unfortunate victim of the shower stabbing in Psycho); Adrienne Barbeau as the breathy local radio DJ; and Hal Holbrook as the hard drinking Pastor with a guilty conscience. You’re all set.

The music is the icing on the cake with more Carpenter influenced scores to really create the most tense of atmospheres.

In my opinion, you just can’t beat a night in with the lights out, some popcorn and the Fog on your TV screen. I envy those of you out there who haven’t seen it yet. You’re in for a real treat!

The film’s tag-line is enough to give you nightmares!

What you can’t see won’t hurt you… it’ll kill you!

You just wait until you see the movie!

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ★ ¾ 

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Tom Atkinson

Tom is one of the editors at Love Horror. He has been watching horror for a worryingly long time, starting on the Universal Monsters and progressing through the Carpenter classics. He has a soft-spot for eighties horror.More

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  • […] and has directed some of the best films in the genre including The Thing, Prince of Darkness, The Fog and many more including this – his macabre masterpiece, Halloween. Setting the rules for any […]

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  • […] when I was about 7 (and my brother 10) we had a baby sitter and she wanted to watch The Fog on TV, so we all stayed up late to watch it. It was terrifying, I absolutely believed it was a true […]

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  • doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it, I never fail to get chills when the music ramps up and Adrienne Barbeau is announcing the streets the fog is cutting off. Still one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.

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