Horror Review: John Carpenter's The Fog (1980)
Updated: Jan 8
Last night Alan and I watched the film The Fog (1980). At the time I’m writing this post, it’s available on Amazon Prime. The Fog was directed by John Carpenter, two years after the release of Halloween. He also wrote the script with Debra Hill. We are blessed with performances by Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh and Tom Atkins.
Without any spoilers, here is a really basic set-up. A thick fog descends on a small coastal town, and brings with it monsters from the past.
The Fog is absolutely a horror film but it has delicious moments that I’d classify as thriller. It’s somehow both predictable and unusual. Carpenter and Hill do a great job at revisiting classic horror tropes with their own lens on it. I particularly love their use of audio with the character of Stevie Wayne. Stevie is a single mother, late night radio host who both owns and broadcasts from the town’s lighthouse. A dream.
The film does have a few rare shots that didn’t age well in terms of visual effects. That being said, their use of practical fog is very effective. They also do a good job of choosing their battles. The creatures within the fog (which I won’t spoil here) are often shrouded in shadow. Which makes them age a bit better than perhaps they should. Even though the film was a classic John Carpenter low budget flick, it was shot in anamorphic widescreen Panavision. Which gives it a more cinematic and dynamic aesthetic. Visually the film comes across really well.
We also really enjoyed the dynamics between the characters. Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins’ just sex vibe was refreshing and honest. Adrienne Barbeau as a single mother was very dynamic.
If you are interested in horror, classic sea hauntings, sailor folklore, monster movies or the paranormal - this film is for you.